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In Malawi since 1983, Save the Children works directly or through partners in over a dozen districts. We seek to ensure that children in need are protected, healthy and nourished, educated and live in economically secure households, while helping communities mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS.
Poor children and caregivers in Malawi have limited access to services that can improve children’s health and nutrition. One child in eight dies before reaching age 5. Malnutrition is widespread and nearly half of all children under 5 have stunted development. While Malawi is one of only a few African countries on track to reach the reduction in under-5 mortality set out in Millennium Development Goal 4, neonatal, infant and child mortality rates are still unacceptably high. Seven out of 10 child deaths in Malawi are due to preventable causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, anemia, malnutrition and neonatal causes. Malaria and pneumonia alone account for nearly half of those deaths.
Malawi is thought to have nearly 500,000 children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and approximately 25,000 new pediatric HIV/AIDS infections are registered every year. Extended family members have been overwhelmed with new demands for support to these orphaned and vulnerable children, both economically and psychosocially.
Just over 80% of all children between ages 6 and 13 are enrolled in elementary school. Young people’s literacy has increased to 76% and women’s literacy is making gains. However, the quality of education remains poor. There is an acute shortage of teachers and physical infrastructure, and many children either do not graduate elementary school or repeat many classes. Causes of drop-out include the inability to purchase materials to attend school, the need for labor at home, and, particularly for girls, early pregnancy and marriage as well as fears about safety and security while at school.
From 2008-2012, our four focus areas are maternal and newborn health, child health and nutrition, early childhood development and primary education. Ensuring food security for vulnerable households and protecting children from abuse will underlie all of these efforts.
Specifically, our programs in Malawi include the following areas:
Since 2001, Save the Children has helped communities care for orphans and young children. Community-based childcare centers run by volunteer caregivers provide an ideal entry point for reaching young children. We support the government’s efforts to improve the quality of early childhood development by training caregivers and by strengthening management committees. We also work to help communities recognize and address the psychosocial needs of particularly vulnerable children, especially orphans. We are also testing new approaches to strengthen services for children under age 2 and continue to replicate enrichment activities for children ages 3-6. Currently, we are assisting more than 200 community-based childcare centers, each with an average enrollment of 50-70 children.
We increase children’s access to basic education, help children stay in school and enhance the quality of education. Save the Children supports the construction and renovation of schools to reduce overcrowded classrooms and increase children’s access. We also improve the quality of education by enhancing teachers’ professional skills and knowledge through a mentoring program. In addition, we promote children’s literacy — a key foundation for learning — by mobilizing schools and communities. There is special emphasis on reaching girls and other vulnerable groups in the school setting.
We seek to ensure that households have the incomes to meet the needs of children. Given that nearly 90 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture, our goal is to improve household income by helping families produce and market more crops. This includes technical assistance, seeds and the establishment of village savings and loan groups. Save the Children also plays a crucial role in providing technical support to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee, a government-led structure that conducts national analyses on vulnerability to food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.
Our programs help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS obtain community-based care that prolongs and improves their quality of life. We minimize the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans and other vulnerable children by bringing together communities to address food, livelihoods and other needs of AIDS-affected households and preventing new infections through behavior changes.
Sponsorship is a special kind of giving that creates a relationship between you and the community in which Save the Children is helping to create real and lasting change. It provides more than the satisfaction that comes with aid for improving the health and well-being of children; it delivers a special opportunity to witness young lives lifted over time. Through child sponsorship, two lives are changed forever: yours and the life of your sponsored child.
Malawi Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated June 2013