Two new partners, World Relief and Afri-care have joined the Plan Malawi Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme as sub grantees to support implementation of sanitation projects in Ntchisi and Phalombe districts.

Speaking at a recently held agreement signing ceremony with the organisations, Plan Malawi Country Director Mrs Lilly Omondi said, “Children are the most vulnerable to the effects of open defecation. We should not stop at just helping communities have latrines but go a step further to ensure that households never revert to open defecation. There is need to intensify follow-ups on triggered communities.”

Mrs Omondi noted that there was need to ensure construction of durable and sustainable latrines.

Mr Amsalu Negussie, the Chief of Party for the programme said, “We want to scale up our activities and contribute to the attainment of an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Malawi by 2015 as envisioned by the government of Malawi. We need to act immediately since we only have one year left to the end of the project.”

Malawi’s ODF achievement rate is currently at 19%.

The decision to get additional partners was necessitated by gaps identified in Ntchisi and Phalombe districts. The move is anticipated to accelerate the reduction of open defecation in the programme’s impact districts.

“There is need for all players in sanitation to work together to ensure that their approaches complement one another,” said GSF Programme Support Officer Simon Msukwa who is based in Geneva.

Mr Msukwa met sub grantees and Malawi district councils during his visit to Malawi in July 2014 and called on them to work as partners not competitors because the goal is the same – to help communities access proper sanitation.

The GSF project now has eleven sub grantees supporting programme implementation in six districts in Malawi namely Rumphi in the north, Nkhota-kota and Ntchisi in the centre, and Balaka, Phalombe and Chikhwawa in the south.