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. 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. Additionally, 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.
Our Results in Malawi
Save the Children promotes the use of low-cost and effective, proven interventions at the health facility, community and household level. We seek to increase the number of skilled health service providers (the supply side) as well as improve knowledge, attitudes and practices at the community and household level (the demand side). We have been working with the Ministry of Health and others to demonstrate a community-based maternal and newborn care package in six districts. Community-based health surveillance assistants provide counseling and encourage women to seek prenatal, delivery and postnatal services from skilled providers at the facility level. We also train and support health education volunteers, who provide neighbors with maternal, newborn and child health messages and counseling.
Save the Children is also working to make education more accessible and equal. 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.
To help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, our programs help children and families affected by the deadly disease 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.
Malawi Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2014 State of the World’s Mothers report.