Improving access to clean water in Malawi

by Engineers Without Borders Canada

Lisa Boyd recently joined our African Programs Staff in Malawi and is
working in the Water and Sanitation Sector.   Since arriving, she has
been partnered with two other staff members, working on a research
project in Nkhotakota District as the starting phase of a pilot
project on Area Mechanics (AMs).  AMs are private citizens, generally
selected by an NGO or district, who are trained to do operation and
maintenance on community water points, thereby taking some of the work
load off of the district government to repair such systems.   Area
Mechanic networks have been previously started in multiple districts
throughout Malawi and have proven to be effective in a few districts
in Malawi by raising functionality rates from approx 75 percent to
around 90 percent, and are therefore an extremely promising tool at
improving water system functionality rates.

Alyssa Lindsay, in particular, has been spearheading EWBs Area
Mechanic plans based on her work in Mzimba District.  One thing that
she, and the rest of the EWB team members working in other districts,
have found is that the existing AM networks are heavily supported by
NGOs and are thus unsustainable in the long term.  Jordan Daniow and
MacMillan Chikoza, the two EWB staff members who Lisa has been working
with, are therefore looking into the possibility of creating a purely
business focused AM model in Nkhotakota District.  Such a setup would
allow the AM system to function independently, without ongoing support
from an NGO or the district government, and therefore be more
sustainable in the long run.  The team is still unsure if this type of
system is feasible, but if possible it would have a lot of potential
for successfully reducing the time to complete repairs and increasing
functionality rates.  The current research stage that EWB is in will
hopefully lead to a more concrete pilot project for privatization of
Area Mechanics within the next six months.

If you are interested in hearing more about their work, feel free to
check out Lisa's blog ( or
Jordan's (



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Organization Information

Engineers Without Borders Canada

Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Beth Beth
Fundraising Manager
Toronto, Ontario Canada

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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