Malawi’s cycle for safe water initiative fails to meet MK13.5mil target

The Cycle for Change 999, that was hatched by a group of cyclists to cycle across the length of Malawi from Mozambique border district of Nsanje to Tanzania border district of Chitipa and back to Blantyre, covering 1,850kms to raise funds for charity to drill one borehole each in nine villages in nine districts, has so far only raised MK7.5 million — falling short of MK6,150 from the targeted MK13.5 million.

Clean Water Cycle
Clean Water Cycle

From the group of cyclists, Stewart Kambewa and Kwame Kayira volunteered to be the men on the ground to do the cycling and they set off on their venture on October 1 from Marka, Nsanje arriving Chitipa through Lakeshore Road on the 8th before travelling back to Mzuzu in their support vehicle to cycle back to Blantyre through Lilongwe. They arrived in Blantyre on October 15.

The group solicited support from the corporate world and other sympathisers for partnership in terms of sponsorship that can either be direct — through monetary, or materially — or indirect through what was termed ‘Adopt a Borehole’ initiative or any other means that sponsors could find it possible and best to support the cause.

For a start, Cycle For Change funded the first borehole project which was drilled in Mehera Village, Traditional Authority Mkanda, in Mulanje District. This village has over 350 people but access to clean water was a big problem. This borehole was completed and launched in September before starting off to Chitipa.

From the start, the group attracted partnership with Non Govermental Organisation Water Aid, which mobilised other NGOs in the country to support the initiative and a special welcome reception was organised for the cyclists as they passed through Lilongwe where guest of honour was Minister of Sports Henry Mussa.

At that reception that had high ranking officials from NGOs in Lilongwe and other government officials and the media, Mussa donated a cheque of MK500,000 while Water Aid — through Country Director Mercy Masoo — pledged to pay the cost of drilling boreholes worth MK7 million.

Islamic Relief Malawi pledged to lend the group the use of its drilling rig at cost to use for boreholes in Nsanje, Mulanje and Balaka.

Apart from that, no other financial support came in through the Cycle for Change bank account at FMB Blantyre Branch number 0003502001333 or through the Airtel Money: 0997 111 444 and TNM Mpamba: 0888 354 285.

The group still owes almost half of the cost of hiring the trips support vehicle as well as the allowances for the driver and they are saying these two expenses could be fulfilled once the cheque from Minister Henry Mussa is cashed.

“We dug deep in our personal pockets to fulfil some of the incidentals costs which we met along the way,” the group says in its report. “The K1.5 million cost for the project at Mehera Village in Mulanje was met from the group’s contribution.

“We are very honoured for all the support we received — from the media, the individuals who hosted us for lunch along the way and the financial assistance that was used for the support vehicle and other incidentals from Frank Zambezi (MK50,000), Esitere Masauli (MK10,000), a Rumphi well-wisher (MK10,000) and Dennis Chalimba (MK30,000).

“We felt so honoured to be accorded such a VIP reception right from the entry into the Capital City up to the National Monument Centre. We offer our heartfelt vote of thanks to Hon. Mussa, Water Aid’s Country Director, Ms. Mercy Masoo, her staff and the other high ranking officers from the other NGOs present at the Lilongwe reception.

“The same reception was accorded to us when we were entering Blantyre on the 15th October organised by officials from Water For People led by the Country Director Kate Harawa. Coincidentally, our arrival in Blantyre was also the commemoration of the Global Hand Washing Day which falls on 15th October and we joined Water for People in commemorating the annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.”

As a way forward, the group intends to fulfil the concept of the whole initiative using the MK7 million pledged by Water Aid, coupled with the free use of the drilling rig from Islamic Relief Malawi.

“Having not received any other support from the public — financial or material as we asked through the mainstream media and on social media  — we intend to start the projects in the Southern Region [Nsanje and Balaka] using the MK7 million from Water Aid to take advantage of the use of the drilling rig from Islamic Relief, whose offer was for the mentioned districts.

“Meanwhile, we will still solicit more help from the public through the media as soon as the drillings are finalised and presented to the target communities. The public can still send their support through the FMB Blantyre Branch number 0003502001333 or through the Airtel Money: 0997 111 444 and TNM Mpamba: 0888 354 285,” the group said in its report compiled by Stewart Kambewa, John Moyenda, Kwame Kaira and Arthur Madzedze.



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