Lilongwe Water Board partners TNM on E-Madzi initiative, customers pleased

Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) kiosks’ water users have hailed the newly launched e-Madzi project, a pre-paid electronic payment system which allows consumers to buy water from kiosks at anytime using smart cards.

Phoya: Touyts LWB e-madzi initiative

Enifa Mkwanda: We don’t need a kiosk attendant to serve you

On Friday 9th June, 2017 LWB launched an innovative e-Madzi initiative targeting customers in low-income areas who buy water from kiosks. The project which was on pilot phase in Area 23, 22B and part of Area 24, is being rolled out to all low-income areas as more kiosks are being constructed within the city .

And in interview several consumers expressed delight with the innovation, describing it as affordable and timely.

Enifa Mkwanda, one of consumers, said they were now able to buy water at anytime following the introduction of the e-Madzi.

“We don’t need a kiosk attendant to serve us, we can draw water at anytime as long as we have money (water credit) in our cards,” explained Mkwanda.

She added: “I find the card more affordable. The water is cheap than the fixed water prices. All we need is more available vendors where we can buy the credit.”

Another consumer, Emily Mvula described the e-Madzi initiative as more efficient and easy to use.

 LWB acting Public Relations Officer (PRO), Trevor Phoya disclosed that the Board has partnered with Telecoms Networks Malawi (TNM) to enable customers buy water credit and top-up their accounts through TNM’s mobile money platform, Mpamba.

Phoya added the Board has also entered into another working partnership with Airtel Malawi to incorporate e-Madzi on its Airtel Money platform.

“We have also taken on board Airtel Malawi only that they are still working on their system before our systems integrate; but very soon both TNM and Airtel customers will be able to enjoy this e-Madzi initiative,” said Phoya.

Phoya said e-Madzi initiative was designed to increase water access in all low-income areas within LWB’s catchment area, and help kiosks’ customers buy water at anytime of a day.

“Previously people were accessing water through our kiosks which were being run by attendants; one could only buy water from those traditional kiosks if the attendant was around to serve them, meaning people in low-income areas could only have water during some hours of the day.

“With e-Madzi we want people to have 24 hours access to clean and portable water. There will be no need for an attendant to serve them. The e-Madziproject is one of the initiatives that Lilongwe Water Board has come up with. It’s an innovative initiative; customers in low-income areas will have a card which they can use to access our water,” he added.

Phoya said the Board’s technicians were on the ground currently working on improving the pre-paid electronic payment system to ensure that all hiccups or challenges noted during the pilot phase were addressed.

“All the challenges that were there including issues of network have been taken care-off and we are sure that there will be very minimum disruption of water once the initiative is fully rolled out.”

On safety, Phoya urged customers to take care of their smart cards and highlighted that the e-Madzi system has been designed in a simplified way to ensure customers do not face challenges when accessing water from LWB kiosks.

Using the e-Madzi tokens, customers will be able to redeem water at kiosks and the e-Madzi token management model has a sophisticated system such that a customer can draw all the water in the token or part thereof based on the volume of their token.

E-Madzi is more convenient and secure way of buying water from kiosks, customers will not be paying more than the kiosk fixed water price to the kiosk attendants. Customers use their e-Madzi smart cards on swiping machines that are installed on kiosks which have been integrated into a GSM network.

Lilongwe Water Board introduced the kiosk initiative in 1947 to ensure that every person has access to clean and affordable water considering that not everyone can afford to have a water connection. Water kiosks, operated by attendants, have taps on the outside and faucets inside, and have a specific opening and closing time. Before e-Madzi, people used to buy water in cash at a fixed price.

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