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Integrating Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) with youth Entrepreneurship for Improved Livelihoods

WASH will be integrated with youth entrepreneurship and includes irrigation and private sector engagement to improve people’s livelihoods.

Photo of Oxfam Malawi
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project idea is to integrate Water, Hygiene and sanitation (WASH) with youth entrepreneurship and Agriculture productivity in order to improve people’s livelihood. How it will work: The project will promote safe water supply and sanitation for rural communities. Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) will be integrated with youth WASH entrepreneurship where the youth will be providing WASH as a business services i.e. drill, construct and repairing WASH facilities. Youth WASH entrepreneurs will be creating demand for the WASH products within and outside their communities through outreach campaigns. As the businesses grow, youth entrepreneurs will create employment. Small scale irrigation at water points will be promoted to increase agriculture productivity and income for smallholder farmers. Youth Entrepreneurs will offer a wide range of water pumps for communities and individual households to them to from. Youth WASH entrepreneurs will be provided with a small loan as a startup capital but will later be linked to small scale Village Savings and Loan (VSL) initiatives to provide an affordable means for investment. When their businesses grow, they will also be linked to financial Institutions to access finances for their businesses. The private sector that sale water pump and spare parts will also be linked to Youth WASH entrepreneurs for easy access of WASH products. Problems being solved: This project will; reduce incidences of water borne diseases, reduce distances to access self water, reduce youth unemployment rate, increase functionality of water facilities, reduce food and nutrition insecurity among rural communities and increase and promote private sector engagement on WASH services thereby increasing sustainability of the project interventions.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

a. 100 youth Entrepreneurs comprising of 10 individuals per group in three traditional Authorities one in each of target districts i.e. Kasungu, Phalombe and Mchinji will increase income by providing WASH services i.e. well drilling, well alignment, water pump installation, water pump spare part manufacturing, san plats molding and fixing. b. 3000 households i.e. 16500 community members will access self water and sanitary facilities through WASH services provided by WASH entrepreneurs. In each Traditional Authority, 1000 households will be targeted for WASH services and 60% of targeted households will be female headed households. c. 25 Private sector will increase income through linkage with youth entrepreneurs. d. 16500 individuals, mainly women and children will be food secure and increased income through participation in small scale irrigation. e. 1500 youth entrepreneurs will have access to finance through linkage to Financial Institutions.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Many organizations have in the past implemented WASH and youth entrepreneurship standalone activities. Furthermore very few organizations have used ground from water pumps for increasing agriculture productivity. Integrating youth entrepreneurship into WASH and incorporating small scale irrigation and private sector engagement will thus increase sustainability. Further than promoting community boreholes this project promotes hand pumps for individual households. Beneficiaries will be choosing water pump of their choice and private sector will be engaged . Oxfam in Malawi has been vast experience in implementation of WASH activities, Youth entrepreneurship and small scale irrigation. This project is just will be unique in that it will bring integration therefore brining sustainability of these interventions. In that regard, the project will; increase access to self water, improve sanitation, increase agriculture productivity, and improve income in a sustainable manner.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Oxfam in Malawi has four programme areas namely; Resilience livelihoods, Transformative Women’s Leadership, Governance and humanitarian implemented through partnership approach and will use expertise from these programmes to implement this project, for more about the organization refer to its website on this

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

whilst implementation of WASH and youth entrepreneurship as a standalone interventions in the three target districts Oxfam observed that sustainability when they are stand alone intervention has been a challenge. contrary, a number of youth in these communities are poor and unemployed because they luck entrepreneurship skills . Households don’t practice winter cropping using ground water hence low agricultural productivity. There is availability of ground water in most of these communities.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Lack of access to clean water in Phalombe, Mchinji and Kasungu districts has aggravated by long distances to access water points and unavailability of safe water points. Food and Nutritional security in the target districts has been influenced by over dependency on rain fed agriculture and small land holding sizes. Youth poverty among youth has been influenced by lack of entrepreneurship skills among youth in the target districts.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

For this project, Oxfam will partner with Water for people to implement the intervention. Selection of the target villages will be done in a participatory manner depending on ease availability of ground water. Community members will assist in selection of youth WASH entrepreneurs in a participatory process. Community members will also choose from a wide range of water pumps that they want. In addition, community members will dig their own pit latrines and choose the san plat of their choice. Oxfam will also introduce a number of private business people who sale water pumps and cement and prices but youth entrepreneurs will participate on the selection of the best private company to be linked to and discussions on linkages. In the past Oxfam has facilitated linkages between youth seed producers to private seed companies and therefore has experience.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

In the target districts; More than 50% of the population in these target districts are youth interested to be trained as WASH entrepreneurs, there is potential for groundwater availability, there is demand from rural households/ communities to expand water supply, there has been an increase and interest by rural households to invest in their own self water and government district government staff and private sector have shown an interest to support WASH activities.

Geographic Focus

The project will target three districts in Malawi, one in southern region, two in the central region

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project will be implemented in 36 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Barrie Hebb

This is a very innovative approach combining several social outcomes linked to WASH and youth unemployment. It would also probably result in time savings for women and young girls and shift part of the burden of water collection, indirectly, onto youth. I think this approach will also enhance sustainability since the local community was involved in the construction, skills be available for maintenance, and there will be community based ownership over the investments. Excellent idea.

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