Church World Service


Helping to provide food security in Kenya


Water for Life

More than a third of Africa's people lack access to clean, safe water. In fact, of the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack clean water, 300 million of them live in Africa. Globally, more than 2.1 million people — most of them children — die each year from waterborne disease. Water cannot be taken for granted.

Estimates predict that by the middle of this century some seven billion people in over 60 countries could face water shortages. At the heart of the threat to future water supplies is the destruction of ecosystems. Over half the countries in Africa are “water-stressed.” Lack of access to water affects the life of vulnerable populations, making the simple task of collecting water a tremendous burden.

CWS supports communities to obtain and manage their own potable water supplies and watershed sources through:

Malawi girl getting water


Water for All: Church World Service regards water as a responsibility of public service, not as a resource for the few who can afford to pay. This means preventing policies that narrow the range of available options — such as trade rules that encourage inappropriate privatization and commercialization of services — and promoting the ability of local communities to develop their own solutions.

Water for Health: Church World Service programs improve health and meet basic needs by providing safe and sufficient water and improving sanitation conditions and hygiene practices.

Water for Food: Church World Service programs help secure food supplies with 1) efficient irrigation; 2) use of under-utilized natural water resources (groundwater, rain harvests, rivers, lakes, and lowland collections); and 3) mitigation of risks by improving water management in communities that suffer chronic drought and/or flooding.

Water for the Future: Church World Service programs protect watersheds. The natural purification and sustainability of water resources requires ecosystem-based management. Programs integrate traditional water development with environmental education and land/water use management.


Water for Peace: Church World Service programs support the peaceful sharing of water resources. Water resource governance brings together the uses of water (drinking, food, domestic, enterprise, environment, energy) and users of water (neighbors, communities, administrative regions, and countries). When conflicting demands arise, Church World Service supports equitable and efficient water sharing and resource management.

Child from Malawi uses a CWS-supported well


Madzi = Moyo "Water is Life" Program, Malawi

Church World Service seeks funds to drill borehole wells to provide clean drinking water in the African nation of Malawi. The boreholes will be the primary focus of an integrated program aimed at achieving long-term access to safe water resources.

Need: Only 32% of the rural population of Malawi have access to water within a kilometer’s walk. During dry seasons (May-September) rivers dry up, increasing the formidable burden of fetching water, which can consume 2-4 hours a day. Poor sanitation and hygiene practices further exacerbate the potential for deadly water-borne disease.

Target Population: 390 households (approximately 2,340 persons) in three villages in Chitipa District in Northern Malawi. An additional 1,000 persons will benefit from other project outputs.

Partnership & Collaboration: The Christian Service Committee (CSC) of Malawi is an ecumenical organization which has successfully implemented more than 1,100 new community water programs. It has the capacity to drill 70 boreholes a year with its own rig, but seeks funds to purchase a second rig to double its impact.

Project Activities:

  • Drill and install pumps for (6) new borehole water sources in the three villages after assessment surveys.
  • Rehabilitate (3) damaged water sources (one in each village).
  • Train water management teams in borehole maintenance, sanitation, health/hygiene programs (including HIV/AIDS), and environmental restoration.
  • CSC environmental education program will also feature vegetable growing projects to improve nutrition for participating families.


  • Safe, accessible water for three villages
  • Village ownership and effective management of reliable water sources
  • Reduction of burden on women
  • Significant reduction in water-borne disease
  • Improved nutrition

Funding Opportunities: *

  • Drill and equip borehole $3,850
  • Rehabilitate borehole $1,200
  • Train Water Committee $1,250
  • Education program (3 sites) $1,800
  • 4 x 4 truck to replace very old vehicle to service sites $20,000

Total Program Budget: $65,340


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