Hey guys,

I work at Hygiene VIllage Project. (HVP) The office is located in a region of Blantyre called Chilimba and I live in Camussa.  To get there I have started walking rather than mini busing since it only takes half an hour. 


Roy is the boss, he picked me up on his motorbike on the first day of work! Yikes that was a leap of trust (hold on tight).  William is the second hand man, he's 25 and we're beginning to have some good conversations about the poverty situation and talking about Malawi's history and why a lot of Africa is poor.  Cecilia is the field workin lady, she's 26 and is also great at helping me learn Chichewa.

But lets get down to the chase:  What IS Happening at HVP???

Well, there's tones going on, but I'll begin with our vision, (as I can remember it):

To have communities in the surrounding Blantyre area living in total hygiene and sanitation with reduced disease and death rate.


We are promoting hygiene and sanitation to communities and schools through these three things:

1.  Proper latrines

2.  Handwashing with soap

3.  Proper water transport and storage

1.  Currently we are working on a marketing scheme that promotes 2 kinds of new latrines that are practicle, sanitary, and benenficiary.  The VIP and Skyloo are their names.  I will brief you more on them later.  We were entering peri-urban Blantyre villages, talking to the chiefs, homeowners and builders and showing them these new latrine types using leaflets.  We also did a questionair with them.  (I made that)  HVP stresses that we don't give substidies, we are focusing on sustainability.  Therefore, the marketing scheme is to create demand for latrines so that the homeowners see the opportunities they have to build them on their own. 

Linking them to loan institutions was also part of the scheme.  We met with the big head hancho at OIBM, the opportinity investments bank of Malawi. 

Lots of people here do not have good latrines.  LOTS.  Sometimes a latrine is use by up to 15 households!  And they can be made out of cement (if you can afford it), tree beams and potato sacks, leafed branchs, straw mats, scraps of metal (this is what my household's is).  And then, sometimes you have a door.  Inside there's a hold in the ground to do your buisiness. 

2.  Handwashing is not in our current activities but they have done demonstrations in communities and at schools in the past to promote it.

3.  Boreholes, rope pumps (shallow well) and pipes are what make up some of the water sources in this area.  Water pipes supply water to sections of Blantyre at a time, so for instance our household has to get up at 4 to get water because it stops coming at about 5.  HVP is a network tool for the communities of Blantyre.  We don't have the funds to supply schools with boreholes, but what they've done in the past is they do assesments, make proposals and find local donars.   


Very currently we, William and I are working on a waste management concept proposal for the Ndirandi area.  (this is pertaining to solid waste like house hold garbage, not sewer)  Since there's a lack of a waste disposal system (yep we can just throw garbage on the ground anywhere.  I can't get used to it yet) it's one of HVP focuses. 

Anyhow, we are looking at vermi-decomposition.  This will transform all the biodegradable waste into organic manure that they can use to sell or for their gardens.  (All you other JF's know that we looked a bit on this in Toronto at pre-dep)


That's the scoop.

Thanks for reading this if you got all the way down here! HaHHA