USAID Malawi Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fact Sheet


Clean water is vital for a healthy population.  In Malawi, 80% of the population has access to an improved source of drinking water, but that leaves about 4 million people who still lack access to safe water. Additionally, only six percent of the population has access to an improved sanitation facility. Poor sanitation practices and improper storage of drinking water commonly lead to waterborne illnesses such as cholera. According to the 2010 Demographic Health Survey, 78% of children under two years old experienced at least one incident of diarrhea. In Malawi, 80% of the population has access to an improved source of drinking water, but about 4 million people continue to lack access to safe drinking water. Based on international standards, six percent of the population has access to a sanitation facility. Poor practices surrounding transportation and storage of drinking water make waterborne illnesses including cholera still commonplace. In 2009, 78% of children under 2 experienced at least one incident of diarrhea.

USAID works closely with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development to strengthen the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. As part of this important partnership, USAID is committed to working with the government of Malawi, development partners, and civil society to improve access to and provision of quality WASH services.


USAID is increasing the availability of WASH services through targeted interventions for households, communities, schools and health facilities. These services increase use of safe water by developing new water sources, training communities in maintenance of boreholes/wells, and integrating hygiene messages into all health messages.

USAID worked with two local NGOs to build or rehabilitate 390 boreholes/shallow wells in 9 districts over 3 years. USAID reached over 14,000 people with water-related hygiene behavior change messages such as the “Open Defecation Free” campaign.  Hygiene messages are also included in the integrated health care package for pregnant women, which is delivered in 15 districts by USAID’s Support for Service Delivery Integration Project (SSDI) and in 8 districts through the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) Project.

In 2013, USAID interventions increased access to clean water for 15,860 people, strengthened local capacity of water-point committees in 60 communities and raised awareness of proper hygiene behavior in 17 districts.

Key Message 

Clean water and access to adequate sanitation is essential for improved health outcomes.

Funding (FY 2012)

  • $2.2 million


  • Abt Associates
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Feed the Children
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Development Alternatives Inc.
  • Total Land Care

Geographic Location

  • Country-wide

USAID Contact

Last updated: April 15, 2014

Last updated: September 12, 2014

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