August 9, 2021
The BPEC Charity has helped fund DATUM Foundation’s installation of a new clean water supply to the Chikwina village maternity clinic in northern Malawi.
The impact is huge. The clinic now has access to fresh water from a fully functioning tap enabling staff to clean equipment, wash laundry, prevent infection, and give new mothers and babies the benefit of clean water for drinking and washing. Prior to this, when water wasn’t readily available, it had to be drawn from a borehole a 15-minute walk away.
“BPEC is delighted to have been able to invest in such a worthwhile cause, which is already having a major impact on the Chikwina community,” says Neil Collishaw, CEO at BPEC. “This is exactly the type of charitable initiative that sets BPEC apart from other organisations.”
Work on the water system started in June 2021 and included:
- Piped water supply from two sources
- Reservoir tank – 2000 litres
- Electric pump to lift the water
- Foundations and steel water tower
- Header tank – 2000 litres
- Pipe work to link into existing supply system
Now the water system has been installed, the clinic provides a well-equipped and safe environment for mothers and their babies – playing an important role in helping to reduce mother and infant mortality in the region.
“We know that access to clean water can literally save lives and made providing water and sanitation to the Chikwina clinic a priority,” stated Dean Buchanan, Trustee at DATUM, “We were delighted to receive a life award grant of £1500 from the BPEC Charity towards the cost and can’t thank them enough.”
Globally 2.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. The result is that approximately 297,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water.
In 2019 DATUM, an international development charity working with communities across Africa and Asia, refurbished the existing Chikwina maternity clinic that had been left derelict for five years. This included the construction of a brand new waiting house for expectant mothers to stay in for two weeks prior to their expected delivery date, as many have to give birth at home or walk several miles to the clinic – but Covid-19 disrupted completion of the venture, including the water supply.
As DATUM advocates improving the skills and well-being of local communities, a local maintenance worker shadowed the skilled tradespeople to learn how to install the water system, understand the mechanism and how to maintain it going forwards.