You are here


Most of Malawi's 17 million people live in rural areas, where water-related diseases and HIV/AIDS are widespread.
more below

10 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Malawi.


people in Malawi don't have access to safe water.


Over 1,700 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Malawi.

Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa. Despite signs of economic development, many challenges remain – in rural areas only 20% of people have access to a toilet.

The crisis

2 million people have no access to safe water and 10 million don’t have adequate sanitation. More than 3,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal deaths.

Many people in Malawi live in rural areas where extreme weather, rapid population growth and pollution have made farming difficult. A reliable safe water supply is essential to grow enough food to eat.

HIV/AIDS is widespread, leaving children orphaned and having to collect water for themselves and relatives. Safe water is especially important for people with HIV/AIDS but they are often excluded from using facilities.

Our approach

In Malawi, WaterAid is working with local partners to map the water points in each district and note their condition. This is essential to get a clear picture of where the need is greatest.

We then support communities to repair broken wells and hand pumps and train them to maintain their own facilities in the long term. This will mean that safe water is available close to home all year round.

To ensure communities get the most benefit from safe water, we support them to improve hygiene practices and build toilets. Simple composting latrines help keep water sources clean and provide fertilizer for crops.

Our impact

In Malawi last year we reached:

  • 44,000 people with safe water
  • 105,000 people with improved sanitation
news story
Helping prevent disease in flood-stricken Malawi

Torrential rains have killed 79 people and displaced over 170,000.
Jan 30, 2015
news story
Nearly 950 million practice open defecation

New figures from UNICEF and the WHO examine sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jul 1, 2015
news story
Safe water and sanitation access would save lives

New WaterAid report says 2.5 million lives would be saved every year. 

Apr 17, 2012