Introduction to Malawi
Home to 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Lake Malawi National Park and Chongoni Rock Art Area, the country’s beautiful landmarks showcase traditions of rock art from the Late Stone Age and the reflection of the rising sun. Malawi, meaning ‘fire flames’, has a population of 19.4 million whose traditions revolve around dance as a form of celebration and communication.
Despite Malawi’s rich scenery and traditions, it is one of the poorest countries in the world with over 40% of its population surviving on less than $1 a day. Malawi also has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world and highest number of AIDs orphans in Africa.
The economy is fuelled by agriculture with 90% of export revenues from produce grown by smallholder farmers. The increased threat of climate induced events such as floods and droughts in line with the impact of climate change is impacting agriculture and resulting in high inflation and high food prices. As a result, the livelihoods of many families are fragile and increasingly vulnerable to climate change.
Food security remains the largest humanitarian concern in Malawi. With widespread chronic poverty and natural disasters, more than 3.3 million people are severely food insecure. Approximately 50% of Malawi’s population falls below the poverty line and 25% live in extreme poverty, which increases vulnerability to food and livelihood insecurity.
Why do the people of Malawi need your support?
For people across Malawi, life is incredibly challenging:
3.6 million people are experiencing mild food insecurity (OCHA, 2021)
4 million people continue to lack access to safe drinking water while 94% lack access to a sanitation facility (USAID, 2021)
Less than 15% of women have any years of secondary school education and 42% of girls are married before the age of 18 (Firelight Foundation)
Islamic Relief in Malawi
Islamic Relief first started its work in Malawi in 2006 which primarily revolved around emergency response. Ever since, Islamic Relief has established its main office in Blantyre and has expanded programming to Blantyre, Chikawawa, and Nsanje to address livelihood, education, nutrition and WASH needs.
Currently, we have implemented our long-term development project Integrated Protection and Basic Needs Support, a 3 year project that aims to fulfill the basic rights and core needs of vulnerable communities in Blantyre district.
One project component includes increasing protection within target communities by developing community-based protection risk reduction plans and priority actions. By establishing these plans and delivering services, we can provide resources to survivors of violence while mitigating potential risks.
To address high dropout rates and low educational attainment, the project also includes an education component. Our project is rehabilitating 3 primary schools, providing new desks to 600 students, teaching material to 100 teachers, and dignity kits to 850 adolescent girls.
In order to improve access to water and sanitation, Islamic Relief Canada is drilling 10 new boreholes with handpumps, installing solar powered water supply systems at 3 schools, rehabilitating 6 defective hand pumps, and facilitating hygiene and sanitation through awareness sessions in target areas.
Your donations in action
Andrea is a 50 year old farmer and father of 6 children residing in Kapinda village in Blantyre. He owns a small scale business, selling groceries in his community to make a living for his family of 8.
Beyond his small business, Andrea dedicates most of his time to raising awareness on gender and protection issues within his village as one of Community Based Project Support Committee members, as part of our Integrated Protection and Basic Needs Support project.
The committee works to sensitize people on protection risks and how to mitigate them, to help create safer communities which are free of gender-based violence. The committees have been supported with 24 bicycles to ease their mobility in providing home support visits for counselling, referral, psychosocial social support, and case management.
He envisions a future where different stakeholders in their community join hands to create safer societies by being actively responsive in protection risk cases, creating safe spaces for victims, promoting speaking out, and holding perpetrators responsible.
“We are working with the police, chiefs, parents, schools, and even religious leaders to raise awareness on protection and gender issues. I am hopeful that through projects like this, we will be able to build better communities where our families can thrive and raise children who are well educated and excel in life.”
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