Malawi is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. With a population expanding rapidly at 3 percent per year and the majority of livelihoods dependent on agriculture, the population is highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. Poverty is experienced by most rural families, with those headed by women suffering the most.
Relying on small parcels of densely cultivated land for their livelihoods, rural Malawians are highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. 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 8.8 percent), low primary school completion rate (at 51 percent) and chronic under-nutrition (at 37 percent for children under 5). 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), addressing structural drivers of hunger wherever possible.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Malawi
School meals and nutritionWFP supports education through the provision of daily meals to around 1 million schoolchildren in 900 primary and nursery schools. In 10 percent of these schools, meals are cooked from fresh foods bought from local smallholder farmers. WFP also provides countrywide nutrition support to 337,000 children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and HIV/TB patients to treat acute malnutrition.
Restoring food security, nutrition and livelihoodsWFP 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 so that the gains achieved survive future disasters.
Food assistance to refugees in MalawiAround 37,000 people are registered as refugees and asylum seekers 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 through monthly food distributions. With the majority of the refugees living in camps having no access to livelihood activities, WFP food assistance is the only reliable and predictable source of food for them.