In late July 2015 in Malawi, Rhoda January holds 2-year-old Tamadani January in the village of Chikosa, Dowa District. Behind her are her two other children: (left-right) 8-year-old John Banda and 12-year-old Kosalata Banda. Around them are five large plastic jugs bearing a combined total of 100 litres of water, the amount the family uses each day. Forty litres goes to bathing, 20 to cooking and drinking, 20 to washing clothes and another 20 to washing dishes. They draw the water from a recently installed borehole; previously, their water came from shallow wells. ìThe water was really bad,î said Ms. January. ìSometimes, you could see the germs with your eyes. We were supposed to add chemicals to clean it, but we are so poor we couldnít afford it. People were getting diarrhoea, dysentery and even cholera. We got a borehole in 2011, and since then, people donít get sick because of the water.î She continued, ìI love using water when I cook Nsima [a dish made of maize and water]. That is my favourite. Itís what weíve eaten since we were young, so weíve known it all our lives. So we love it.î Her daughter, Kosalata, said, ìI love washing clothes, especially the bedding. Clean bedding is hygienic, and it feels nice and smells nice.î Ms. Januaryís oldest two children attend school while she works as a subsistence famer, growing cowpeas and maize. Her first husband ñ father to her first two children ñ died of stomach ulcers in 2009. She remarried in 2011, becoming second wife to her new husband, Tamadaniís father. He spends the majority of his time away from Ms. Januaryís home, with his first wife. In 2015, 663 million worldwide still do not have access to improved drinking water sources although the global target for safe drinking water was met in 2010 ñ well ahead of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of the population without safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Over 90 per cent of

Rural Africa Weekly Report: Prioritising Access to Water for Development and Other Stories

Every week, Rural Reporters collates a  report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include are some of our top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week.

World Water Week 2015: Prioritising Access to Water for Development

Today, there are more than 750 million people who do not have access to safe water. While commendable efforts have been achieved through the Millennium Development Goal 7 which focused in part on access to sustainable safe drinking water and basic sanitation services, water scarcity still affects more than 40% of people, across every continent.  However, the number of people without access to safe water might increase if creatively efficient solutions are now development, urgently.

In order to find sustainable solutions to the escalating global water crisis, world leaders alongside over 3,000 development experts and stakeholders from across 120 countries are meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, this week for the annual World Water Week conference, which wraps up today. The theme is Water for Development.

Work With Farmers To Develop Rural Areas

The remoteness of Gwassi, coupled with long-term neglect, have conspired to deny its people the human wisdom to trap the abundant rain water that violently courses through the valleys during the rainy seasons, dam the rivers, pump the water up the hills and use gravity to irrigate the region.

Unfortunately, we make assumptions our rural folks can do the right thing. Time and again we know this is not happening. Lacking in exposure, rural folks need help to make the right decisions and discard archaic methods of doing things.

Africa Must Harvest Rains To Feed Growing Population – Experts

Rainwater harvesting is essential for managing water and dry spels on the continent, said Malin Falkenmark, senior adviser at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

“Green water, the hidden water in the soil … is the key to future food production in Africa,” she told the World Water Week conference in Stockholm. “Dry spells can be managed by rainwater harvesting.”

 

In Rural Mali, Women’s Climate Work Brings Political Prowess

At the end of every wet day, Sali Samake walks to a gauge a short distance from the mud brick houses in her village of Tamala in southwest Mali to measure how much rain has fallen.

It may seem like a modest activity, but the 58-year-old is contributing to essential knowledge for farmers.

In impoverished rural areas of this West African country, women have become central to efforts to adapt to climate change. Their work is gradually helping them increase their political clout, with more women standing in municipal elections.

 

HIV/AIDS Stigma Threatens Goal of AIDS-free Generation

Nineteen-year-old “Faith” isn’t wearing this scarf to make a fashion statement. Although she’s a typical teen girl who loves pretty clothes, painted nails, poetry, and spending time with her friends; she’s wearing a scarf in this photo because she’s afraid of the backlash she’ll receive if her schoolmates, teachers, and neighbors learn that she’s living with HIV. Faith is an orphan whose parents both died from AIDS when she was a toddler. She has seen the isolation others in her community have faced when their HIV status became public and has decided not to tell those outside of her family that she was born with HIV, because her mother did not have access to antiretroviral treatment when she was pregnant.

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde