Malawi leader, President Peter Mutharika and First Lady Getrude Mutharika say that Beautify Malawi (BEAM), a trust founded by the first lady, can benefit from the Global Sanitation Fund Programme in creating a cleaner and healthier Malawi.

President Mutharika and the first lady expressed their sentiments at Kamuzu Palace in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, during a meeting with the Programme Director of the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) David Shimkus who was recently in the country on a five day visit to appreciate the progress of the Five million USD programme being implemented by Plan Malawi on behalf of government.

BEAM is working to promote cleanliness in the environment through good waste management practices, among others.

During the meeting at Kamuzu Palace, President Mutharika bemoaned the state of sanitation and waste management in the country.

“We have a very big problem in the country in terms of sanitation. However, there is real determination to get things done and I hope your visit here will help improve the quality of work by Beam,” said President Mutharika.

“On our part, we will introduce legislation on clean air and waste management and once we create a culture of taking care of the environment and waste management we will get there,” the president added.

On her part, Mrs Mutharika said she was excited about the efforts that organizations are undertaking to make Malawi a better place, indicating that cleaner environments would attract foreign investors.

“We are lagging behind in the way we manage waste. At Beautify Malawi we want to complement efforts by organisations in the sanitation sector,” said Mrs Mutharika.

Following a briefing of the work being supported by the Global Sanitation Fund in the country, the First Lady called for a partnership with the Programme.

“We want Beam to partner with the Global Sanitation Fund, financially and technically. We want to work together to ensure a cleaner and healthier Malawi,” added the First Lady.
In his remarks, the GSF Programme Director Mr Shimkus hailed the concept of Beam.

“It is very encouraging to see the birth of the concept of Beautify Malawi which has a firm belief in linkages and collaboration with players that pursue similar goals and objectives,” Shimkus said.

The Global Sanitation Fund which was created by the Geneva based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) supports governments in developing countries to help their people, especially rural populations, access sustainable sanitation services and facilities, with stopping open defecation as the first step.

While in Malawi, Mr Shimkus held meetings with key stakeholders in the sanitation sector, among them the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Water Development and Irrigation and Nkhota-kota District Council members who collaborate with project implementing organisations in the district.

Open defecation is responsible for most diarrheal diseases that are said to claim up to 7% of the deaths of under five children in Malawi.

Up to about 8% of the country’s population still defecate in the open, a practice that the Government would like eliminated by 2015.

Managed by Plan Malawi on behalf of government, the Global Sanitation Fund is contributing towards this goal through financial support to projects implemented in the districts of Rumphi, Nkhota-kota, Ntchisi, Balaka, Phalombe and Chikhwawa.

It is anticipated that by 2015, the programme will have reached out to 3,600 villages, 60 markets and 274 schools, translating to about 1.06 million people.