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Meet Finalisi

Water Guardian in Malawi

Meet Finalisi. She’s a mother of four, a farmer, and a volunteer with an absolutely critical role: making sure clean water is available every day.

Finalisi and her family live in Chikwawa, Malawi. Before her community had reliable, safe access to water, they collected water from the Shire River. This required walking long distances and dangerous conditions. Crocodile attacks were reported, with women the victims of these attacks.

Water For People worked with her community and the local government to drill a borehole – a deep well that pumps groundwater up for people to access. But the work doesn’t end here. Water For People helped establish and train a Borehole Committee, a group of people who use the well and volunteer to serve on a committee to help ensure the water will continue flowing. This is where Finalisi comes in.

Finalisi (middle), alongside other members of the Borehole Committee

As the committee chair, Finalisi leads the work to ensure all 20 households who use the well have access to safe, reliable water.

"It is a delight to be a servant of the people protecting and sustaining the borehole for continuous safe and clean water," Finalisi says.

Water For People trained Finalisi and her fellow Committee members on financing, operations, and borehole maintenance. The committee services the borehole every three months to promote the system’s longevity.

Finalisi and the other village women also sweep and mop around the borehole, keeping it clean and free from contamination and bacteria. This is an especially important task with a cholera outbreak hitting the country.

On the last Sunday of every month, Finalisi and her team stand at the borehole’s entrance, collecting a fee of MKW 500 (USD 0.42) from each household to cover the borehole’s ongoing maintenance.

"Since the borehole completion in July 2021, we have repaired it seven times. These were small damages we could fix on our own without involving our Area Pump Mechanic assigned to us by Chikwawa District Water Office," Finalisi shares.

Without the committee, these repairs wouldn’t have happened. And the community would be back to fetching water from the river. Instead, Finalisi’s commitment to serving her village means water will be flowing for years to come.