WFP Deputy Country Director Baton Osmani presents a certificate of appreciation to Modester Mazeze in honour of her dedication to preparing meals. He is accompanied by the former head of the UK's Department for International Development in Malawi, Sarah Sanyahumbi (left). Copyright: WFP/Thomas Debandt

Women Get Recognition For Feeding Malawi’s Children

International Day of Rural Women is celebrated on 15 October to promote rural women as key players in making the changes necessary for sustainable development, including improving food security. In honour of the day and to promote gender equality, WFP in Malawi is helping to empower women volunteer cooks in the school meals programme.


Malawi is a small landlocked country in sub-Saharan Africa, bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.  It covers an area of 118,500 sq. km and has an estimated population of 16 million. The country is defined as low-income and ranks 170 out of 187 countries in the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index. Over 40 percent of the populations live on less than US$1 per day (2010 Government of Malawi MDG Report).  Malawi’s landholdings are generally small, particularly in the densely populated south, leading to the over-use of marginally productive agricultural land, causing soil erosion and nutrient depletion. More than 40 percent of rural households cultivate less than half a hectare, mainly devoted to maize production.

Innovating to Improve Nutrition

Concerted efforts to tackle alarmingly high rates of stunting in Malawi through WFP's Prevention of Stunting Project are being boosted by an innovative system that allows digital, real-time tracking of beneficiaries called SCOPE. This Monitoring & Evaluation tool allows greater accountability - we are able to improve activities like food management and beneficiary targeting to ensure that our assistance is reaching the right people at the right time to make the greatest impact.