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Published: September 15th 2015
Monday began our official Global Village program. At his is not a traditional Habait build trip, but an exploration by habitat leaders to experience and learn more about how American dollars are being used to alleviate poverty in Malawi.
We spent our first half day and the Habitat Malawi office in Lilongwe. We were briefed in turn by Ronald, the HFHI Africa, Middle East & Europe Coordinator, Amos, the president of Habitat Malawi and Kelvin the XXXXX. We learned about the need in this part of the world and how Habitat, alongside its partners, are tackling the challenge.
Malawi is one of the poorest nations in Africa. Sustenance agriculture is the primary industry. 80% of the population lives in substandard housing, 69% of the population lives in slums. There are 1.4 million orphaned children in Malawi. Habitat for humanity of Malawi (HFHM) is focusing on the most vulnerable. The Orphan and Vulnerable Group/Children (OVG/OVC) is at the heart of their service in Africa. The basic needs of Malawi's orphaned child households are met through a multimodal approach administered by HFHM and its partners. Partnering with the Red Cross, the XXXX foundation and SOS children's villages, to name a few,
The following key interventions are being provided to the most vulnerable in the community:
• 100% subsidized housing
• Water, Sanitation and Hygiene WASH
• HIV AIDS services
• Psychosocial support
• Basic health and hygiene
• Adolescent sexual reproductive health
• Vocational training carpentry, brick laying, tailoring.
• Disaster response relief
During our lunch with the HFHM staff, Kevin & I were fortunate to meet with Amos and Mercy from Zoe, International. Zoe is a raleigh, NC based organization focusing on XXX in Malawi. Currently HFHM and Zoe are exploring ways to leverage there strengths and serve the poor of Malawi.
Our afternoon was spent visiting water and sanitation projects in the sums of Lilongwe. Our first stop was near an area where Habitat is currently building a water Kisok, but has not yet completed the project. This allowed us to see the conditions in which water is currently available, Basically a hole dug down were a spring bubbles up fresh water. During this time of year, the spring is nothing more than a trickle and the women waiting to fill their pails had been there more than 2 hours waiting for enough accumulation to gather and bring home. They lower a
pail owner the concrete, into the hole and haul it up, (see the attached photos ).
Our next stop was at. A location where the water kiosk is up and running within a marketplace in the slum. See the photo, Water is sold at a nominal price (roughly 2 cents for 5 gallons). Women and children then haul the water to their homes. As ordinary Americans we take access to clean water for granted. We turn on the taps in our multitude of bathrooms and kitchens and have plentiful clean water for cooking, bathing, cleaning and recreation.
Our final stop of the day was to see how HFHM has improved sanitation and hygiene in the community. In the village, we were greeted by a singing group of joyous women and children. We were introduced to the community including the Chiefs and village elders. It was a humbling experience to hear how the work done prior to our arrival has impacted life in the community. It was further xxxx to hear about how much more need there is for the simple things we provided. HFHM contribution was in the form of ECOSAN toilets. Basically a two sided pit toilet
where the solid waste on one side is allowed to 'mature' while the other side is actively used. Urine is excreted through a separate opening. After each 'deposit', ash and sand are added. Once the system is full, it is allowed to mature for 6 months and it is then suitable for crop fertilization, Since commercial fertilizer is prohibitively expensive, this intervention solves a hygiene issue, an agriculture need and a financial burden.
HFHM has also educates the water and sanitation committee on the use of the ECOSAN toilets, and proper hand washing. The committee then acts as educators within the community. The collaborative process has had a major impact on reducing disease, primarily cholera, in the community.
The warm smiles and joy share by the children with us is inspirational. The respect, gratitude and welcome shared by the adults lets us know how import the work of HFHM is to these communities. Only one day into our 'work' and I am already am forever changed by this experience.
I apologize for the long post, but I want to share what I learn so you too can feel the heart of Africa and hw we can make
It took 2 hours for the well to bubble up this much water.
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