"Water is something you can't live without"

Water is a necessity, and drinking and using clean water will help you stay healthy. But what do you do, if you don’t have access to water?

DSV helps Red Cross provide clean water in Malawi

World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing on the importance of water. 
DSV provides support to enable human aid partner, Red Cross | Red Crescent, help thousands of people gain easier access to clean water and improve sanitary conditions to increase the general health of the population.

Clean water

Clean water is something you need to survive, just as it is a prerequisite for sanitary conditions and improved health. However, a lot of people in Malawi do not have easy access to clean water or any kind of water at all. Sometimes the women walk up to 10 km to get water.

To be able to improve the conditions for the citizens, Red Cross works to secure access to clean water by e.g. drilling boreholes and rehabilitating water sources.

“When the people of Malawi dig their own boreholes, it only provides dirty water. The holes are not safe to drink water from and people, especially kids, can fall into them at night and drown. A drilled borehole can provide safe and clean water for up to 500-1000 people”, says Senior CSR manager in DSV, Martin Lunow, who visited Malawi with Danish Red Cross in November 2017.

Watch the below to see DSV’s Senior CSR Manager, Martin Lunow and Red Cross Consortium Coordinator, Kirstine Primdal Sutton, walk and talk about the importance of access to clean water and good sanitation and hygiene


Increasing sanitation

Red Cross operates with different approaches to improving sanitary conditions.

They teach the people with access to clean water how to store it under a lid to prevent Malaria and other diseases getting into the water, and they teach them how to wash their hands following a visit to the latrine or prior to preparing food.

Another important aspect of increasing sanitation is to install proper latrines in as many places as possible. An estimated 80% of Malawians do not have access to a proper latrine, and that affects sanitary and health conditions. To avoid diseases like cholera and improve their health, the Red Cross also helps and teaches people to install latrines near their households and in schools.

DSV helps Red Cross provide clean water in Malawi Picture: The Red Cross is teaching the people of Malawi to wash hands to increase sanitation. On the left you see Senior CSR Manager in DSV, Martin Lunow and a Red Cross delegate walking by a sign set up at a local school, instructing the children in handwashing. On the right, a Malawian child is washing hands at a makeshift washstand, which the families are encouraged to have in their household.

A massive impact

Red Cross’ efforts within the area in Malawi have been ongoing for around a year and a half, and the progress is visible in one area specifically:

“Access to clean water and good sanitation and hygiene has a massive influence on the communities and a very big impact on people’s lives - the way they live and how long they live.

We see a direct link between water and sanitary conditions and under-5 mortality and the number of people who are sick with diarrheal diseases and cholera. And we do see the effect here, massively”, says Kirstine Primdal Sutton when asked about the impact of the Red Cross’ efforts within the area.

“The difference Red Cross’ efforts make for the Malawians’ lives is enormous and easily visible - to first-time visitors like me too”, agrees Martin Lunow.

WASH, a part of building resilience

WASH is an acronym for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. It is an initiative aiming to improve the quality of the water and the sanitary conditions for the Malawians in order to increase the health and minimise deaths, especially amongst children under 5.

The initiative is part of a project run by the Red Cross Consortium present in Malawi. DSV provides support to the project, which aims to increase resilience among 150,000 of the poorest inhabitants of Southern Malawi. Read more about the overall project here


Click here to learn more about how DSV supports Danish Red Cross’ efforts

Click here to learn more about UN's World Water Day 2018