The primary objective of the Centre is to improve the effectiveness of sanitation, hygiene practices, and water supply interventions serving Malawi and the surrounding countries. The Centre participates in applied research, water quality analysis, training, consultancies, outreach programs, and the practical application of research findings.
In 2009, the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation was established within the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at Mzuzu University. The Centre is governed by Mzuzu University Act and Statues of 1997. The Centre’s Mission is aligned with Mzuzu University’s: to provide high quality education, training, research, and complementary services to meet the technological, social and economic needs of individuals and communities in Malawi. The Centre is accountable to the University senate and council. Its financial transactions are governed by financial regulations of the University and its accounts are subject to both internal and external audit. Currently the Centre is audited by Graham and Carr.
Professionals who are fluent in English and local vernacular (Chitumbuka, Chichew and Tonga) staff the Centre with extensive expertise and experience in WASH issues as well as project planning, implementation monitoring, and evaluation. Moreover, the Centre has the added advantage of drawing on the existing resources and expertise of the University’s administration and departments, notably Faculties of Environmental Science, Education, Health Sciences, Mathematics department, Communication and Information Science, Tourism and Hospitality Management. The Centre’s collaborative structure allows key WASH issues to be addressed from a multidisciplinary perspective by bringing practitioners and academics into a single unit. Such an approach is relatively new in the hygiene and sanitation sector in Malawi and has the objective of bringing in expertise and capacity from professionals not traditionally associated with the subsector (e.g. Mathematics and Tourism) to contribute to the sector (e.g. in statistical analysis and small business enterprise for the examples mentioned). In addition, the Centre’s ability to use the University’s facilities (e.g. accommodation, conference rooms, laboratories, library resources, etc.) and other services on a cost-sharing basis supports its cost effectiveness as a program implementer.
The Centre has received funding and material support from donors and private sector organizations to implement these methods through a number of projects, including short courses, training, applied research and program planning and coordination. In particular, WASTE has provided the Centre with substantial funding for applied research, short courses in sustainable school sanitation and the Sanitation in Peri Urban Area (SPA) program. As a consortium member of SPA, the Centre works alongside major public and private organizations involved in the WASH sector such as CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, UN-Habitat, WASTE Netherlands, Water for People, Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM), the Mzuzu City Council, the Mzimba North District Health Office (DHO), PumpAid, Water Aid, Coyida, CCODE, Concern Universal, the Water Research Commission, UNICEF, Water Boards, as well as local entrepreneurs.
To complement the Centre, Mzuzu University offers a Bachelor of Science (Water Resources Management and Development), Master of Science (Sanitation) and PhD (Sanitation). Students at each level are included as partners in projects through the Centre’s efforts of WASH sector capacity building.
High Quality Water Laboratory
Established procedures for water quality analysis with high quality instrumentation have been established, and trained, experienced technicians and students support the laboratory.
The following constituents are available for analysis:
- Total coliform
- Escherichia coli
- Arsenic 0–500 ppb
- Fluoride 0.1–2.0 mg/l
- Nitrate nitrogen 0–50 mg/l NO3-N
- Total Hardness 0–425 mg/l as CaCO3
- Total Alkalinity 0–240 mg/l as CaCO3
- Total Dissolved Solids 0–1990 mg/l
- pH 6.2–8.4
1. Waterlines, July 2014
Identification of the potential opportunities, barriers, and threats within the sector in taking up sanitation as a business: rural sanitation in Nkhata Bay District (Malawi)
By: Rochelle Holm, Elijah Wanda, Victor Kasulo and Simeon Gwayi
2. Sustainable Sanitation Practice (SSP) Journal, July 2014
Identification of funding mechanisms for private sector participation in the provision of rural household sanitation facilities, in Nkhata Bay District (Malawi)
By: Rochelle Holm, Victor Kasulo, and Elijah Wanda
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