Effie Chiwale was willing to do whatever she could to rebuild the latrine that had been washed out by Cyclone Idai.

One year ago, the heavy rainfalls of Cyclone Idai left a trail of destruction in many communities in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In Mulanje, beyond levelled houses, schools and businesses, the collapse of 4,000 pit latrines left 85,000 people without a way to safely use the washroom. Already devastated, the community braced for additional loss of life due to the transmission of diseases like cholera and typhoid.

A completed latrine

Even though the quarry was less than a kilometer away, it took her several days to collect enough stones. Eventually, Effie lowered the last bucket of stones from on top of her head and set to work. The concrete slab Effie made was quickly matched with the iron sheets, wire and roofing nails she needed to build the rest of the latrine.

Throughout 2019, community members from 22 villages in Malawi banded together, with PWS&D support, to rebuild their sanitation facilities. Their hard work resulted in 525 new, durable latrines which will help protect community health and reduce disease.