Malawi is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. With a majority of livelihoods dependent on agriculture, Malawians are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate-related shocks and stresses. Most rural families experience poverty, with those headed by women suffering the most.
Relying on small parcels of densely cultivated land for their livelihoods, rural Malawians are highly affected by climate change. Episodes of drought as well as severe flooding are increasing in frequency, intensity and unpredictability, giving the most vulnerable households inadequate time to recover.
Malawi’s challenges are also compounded by high rates of HIV infection (at 9.6 percent), low primary school completion rate (at 51 percent) and chronic under-nutrition (at 37 percent for children under 5). While the short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the economy of Malawi have not been as heavy as in other African countries, global restrictions in movements have affected trade and the tourism. Government containment measures have affected employment and income loss predominately for poor urban households.
WFP Malawi is also emphasizing its transition from relief to resilience, addressing the root causes of food insecurity and scaling up its interventions with a focus on integrated resilience. WFP continues to partner with the Government, other UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular emphasis on reaching Zero Hunger (SDG 2), and aligning with Government’s strategies, particularly the Vision 2063.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Malawi
WFP has also put in place measures to safeguard the health and well-being of staff across its operations, ensuring continued implementation despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. In addition, as Logistics Cluster co-lead, WFP supports to the Government providing increased logistical support by with a wide range of services to the Humanitarian community like setting up screening areas at the airports as well as isolation centres, treatment and vaccinations spaces in hospitals and refugee camp.
Food assistance to refugees in Malawi
Around 43,000 refugees and asylum seekers are registered in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. Political instability and social unrest in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions have resulted in a continued flow of refugees into Malawi for over two decades. WFP works to achieve and maintain food security among refugees, transitioning from monthly food distributions to cash-based transfers, as well as promoting income generating activities to increase self-reliance. Despite gains made in improving financial independence, the majority living in camps have no access to livelihood activities, and WFP assistance is the only reliable and predictable source of food for them.
Restoring food security and livelihoods
WFP provides relief assistance in times of emergency to save lives and protect livelihoods. The Malawi Country Office is continuing its shift towards resilience, focusing on addressing the structural causes of hunger and aligning that work with resilience interventions wherever possible. WFP is mainstreaming an integrated package of risk management strategies seeking to graduate food and nutrition insecure farming communities from subsistence to surplus-producing livelihoods.
School meals and nutrition
WFP supports education through the provision of daily meals to around 600,000 school children in 452 primary schools, where possible prioritizing the home-grown school feeding approach that promotes using fresh foods bought from local smallholder farmers. WFP is also mainstreaming social behaviour change communication messaging on nutrition in order to prevent malnutrition, and raise awareness on COVID-19 prevention.