RHAM has constructed 13 calabash cisterns in some selected primary schools as a demonstration initiative in scaling up awareness and building a culture of harvesting rainwater for domestic and agriculture usage by communities from a tender age.
Chairperson for RHAM Macpherson Nthala said when launching the 10, 000 litres capacity calabash cisterns in Lilongwe that this is part of the advocacy campaign on rainwater harvesting technology while promoting sanitation and restoring vegetative cover in schools and communities.
“If you look at the situation now, climate change and rising population has put a lot of pressure on water resources, therefore, it is important to find alternative sources to reduce the pressure and complement the traditional water supply for sanitation and environment”
Forestry and natural resources minister Nancy Tembo is upbeat that such a demonstration initiative on rainwater harvesting among learners in primary schools would help build a resilient society from climate change shocks in Malawi.
“Using the calabash cisterns to store rainwater is one way of addressing water availability challenges being experienced due to climate change. Most people do not value rainwater and not much is being done to harness and properly manage the water because of costs attached,” said Tembo.
She observed that high-cost storage facilities for harvested rainwater has been one major obstacle in efforts employed to scale up the technology and the concept of low-cost calabash cisterns as demonstrated by RHAM and SCOPE-Malawi could be the best solution moving forward.
Ministry of education concedes that water supply is one challenge impacting sanitation and other initiatives in schools therefore adopting rainwater harvesting is a viable technology to overcoming water supply challenges.
Board chairperson for SCOPE Malawi Kenneth Mwakasungula said they felt it feasible to collaborate with RHAM in the campaign of scailing up rainwater harvesting technology which will, in turn, resolve water challenges impacting on permaculture project they are implementing in some schools across the country.
The project was initiated in 2012 to help restore vegetative cover in schools and strengthen resilience of communities to food insecurity.