2011 was a turbulent year for Malawi. After massive foreign aid cuts, the government adopted a zero deﬁcit policy that increased taxes on basic commodities, a move that climaxed with a bloody protest on July 20th that left 20 people dead. Fuel shortages also ensued and export sales declined by as much as 40 percent compared to the same time period in 2010.
Concern's work in Malawi
Concern has worked in urban and rural areas in Malawi since 2002 and is currently supporting the poorest and most vulnerable with education, health, and livelihoods programs.
EDUCATION—Building access to quality primary education for 20,400 children
Concern is working to increase access to high-quality primary education for Malawi’s children, with a particular focus on girls, through a network of 25 schools in two education zones, Mlonda and Mpatsa.The program engages various community groups and gives them the skills to be more effective leaders around education in their networks. This includes trainings for school management committees, teacher and parent associations, head teachers, and school supervisors on effective school management as well as general awareness- building throughout the community on school involvement. In an effort to promote gender equality, Concern also trains teachers and students on human rights and codes of conduct, including sexual harassment, bullying, teasing, and physical punishment. In 2011, enrollment rates in these zones increased, jumping from 9,500 in 2010 to 10,600 children in Mpatsa alone. Drop-out rates have also decreased and 56 more teachers were assigned to the area in 2011.
HEALTH—Improving the health and well-being of 81,700 mothers and children through community-based health services
It has been ﬁve years since the community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) model was adopted in Malawi as part of the essential health package. Concern has been a driving force for CMAM adoption and implementation in Malawi. Collectively, its programs have treated more than 30,000 children for severe acute malnutrition,nearly 31,400 children for moderate acute malnutrition, and nearly 16,200 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers for moderate malnutrition. On average, 91 percent of people who receive Concern’s CMAM services are cured of either severe acute or moderate malnutrition.
In addition to treatment for malnutrition, Concern is improving the health of women and children by better connecting communities to health facilities for more than 216,500 people living in Nkhotakota and Dowa districts. To do this, Concern established 59 community-based health centers in each district. It is also working with 22 health advisory committees and building the capacity of local institutions to plan, implement, and monitor health activities.
LIVELIHOODS—Building sustainable food and economic security among 18,700 people
In 2011, Concern worked with extremely poor and vulnerable households across three districts to increase their food security, crop diversity, and income. In an effort to increase program participants’ asset bases, Concern supported village savings and loan schemes, alternative income sources such as beekeeping and ﬁsh farming, and small-scale livestock production. Concern also worked with 200 farmers to test the difference between conservation agriculture and conventional agriculture. On average, the plots that used conservation agriculture techniques had yields that were 40 percent higher for maize than those that used more traditional methods. In addition to conservation farming systems, Concern also helped farmers increase their production through irrigation systems and new types of crops, such as soybeans and paprika.
Malawi at a glance
Area: 118,000 sq km
Population: 15.4 million
GDP per capita: $700
Infant mortality (per thousand births):110
Life expectancy: 54.2
Living with HIV and AIDS: 11 percent
Literacy rate: 73.7 percent
Without access to safe water: 44 percent
Human development rank: 171 (out of 187)
Global hunger rank/index: 49/18.2