SMEC Foundation
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve covers 180,000 hectares and is the largest wildlife reserve in Malawi supporting most of the regions wildlife species, including elephants. In the communities surrounding the reserve, there are severe limitations to accessing safe drinking water, and water-borne diseases are common.

In many areas, women must travel as far as five kilometres to find potable water. It’s not uncommon for these water sources to be shared with livestock. Moreover, the task of water collection often prevents them from getting their children ready for school, which leads to absenteeism among students.


To combat acute water shortages in the communities surrounding the Reserve, the SMEC Foundation worked alongside BridgIT Water Foundation and McKendrick Family to restore and revitalise non-functional wells in the neighbouring areas. BridgIT Water Foundation also partnered with the Wildlife & Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), a group that support the wise use of natural resources in Nkhotakota District through practical projects or environmental education implementation. Work was carried out to refurbish 13 borewells, creating access to safe water to improve health, hygiene, and personal cleanliness.


This was the first conservation initiative at Nkhotakota Reserve, with a primary focus on engaging the local population. The project empowered communities to manage the reserve by promoting awareness and education about the area’s wildlife and natural resources. A crucial part of this effort involved showcasing the social and economic benefits of peacefully coexisting with thriving animal populations, thereby cultivating a genuine appreciation for wildlife protection.

refurbished borewells
in the neighbouring areas of the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
provided with access to life-saving drinking water
per person, per day, reclaimed from water collection