Professionalising the management of Malawi's rural water supply services

March 1, 2024

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, countries have made vital progress in defining and subsequently upscaling professionalised management arrangements for rural and small-town water supply services to ensure the provision of reliable, equitable and higher-quality services. This is following different pathways and taking many forms, including expanding the role of predominantly urban and peri-urban focused utilities in Rwanda, Zambia and Uganda, establishing rural-focused utilities in Ghana and Uganda, expanding the role of private operators in Senegal and Mozambique, and strengthening forms of community-based management in Uganda and Kenya.

Malawi’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation has prioritised professionalising the management of its rural and small-town water supply services. In collaboration with Water for People and BAWI Consult, Aguaconsult have been supporting the Ministry to achieve this headline objective by assessing the current status of Malawi’s rural and small-town water supply services and working with key sector stakeholders to ascertain the arrangements that warrant upscaling or piloting. Ultimately, the study concluded that instead of piloting entirely new management arrangements, the sector should focus on building on the vital progress made over the last two decades by further refining, strengthening, and upscaling two existing management arrangements that have proven capable of effectively delivering services:

  • Water board direct provision of water supply services in rural areas and market centres.
  • Water point committee direct provision with maintenance and repair function delegation.

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation is now leading an existing process involving other government institutions, CSOs, and development partners to ensure the coordinated upscaling of the proposed arrangements and strengthen the broader enabling environment required for these arrangements to function effectively!

Professionalising the management of Malawi's rural water supply services


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