The borehole was broken. It had been the main source of freshwater for a community in Malawi and now it was so damaged that people were fetching water from the Riviridzi River instead – a dangerous alternative.

After receiving training through their Women Empowered (WE) group, 32 women joined together to tackle this water challenge in their community.

The women initially started as a Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) group, saving about 3,200 Malawian Kwacha (MK), or $6US, weekly as a group. After a year of saving successfully and building trust, the women approached a PCI Community Mobilizer to train them in our Women Empowered methodology. The group members named their WE group Kachere and were trained on WE principles.

The women participated in social issues discussions to become more empowered to manage issues affecting their households and community. Through the WE trainings, Kachere identified one of the biggest issues in the village: lack of access to clean water.

The women approached the village chief, development committee and water committee and asked them to organize a community meeting to discuss how to fix the borehole.

During the meeting, the water committee shared that for the borehole to be repaired, a big pipe needed to be replaced. However, finding the funds to cover the cost of the pipe as well as the maintenance was an issue. The community agreed on a plan of action.

First, the community would write a letter to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area to ask for assistance with the pipe. Second, the community members would contribute to a pool of money that would cover the cost of hiring the repair technician and the water point committee would manage the money.

The MP bought the pipe for the village, the community pooled their money to hire the repair technician, and the borehole started working once again.

“I am happy that finally the borehole has been repaired and cases of diarrhea due to drinking unsafe water from Rivirivi River is now the story of the past,” said Rose Chilenga, community member. “And thanks to Kachere WE group for their wonderful solution towards such a social challenge we had in our village.”

After the borehole was repaired, the chief called for another community meeting to thank the Kachere WE group for initiating the first meeting to solve the water issue.

Along with Kachere, there are now two WE groups in the Magombera Village working to transform their community.