Hear it first:

Updates from around the world direct to your inbox

No, thanks
Map of Malawi

Where We Work : Malawi

Country Profile

Population 16.7 million
Human Development Rank 170/187
GNI per Capita US$774
People living on less than 1 euro a day 61.6%
Infant Mortality (per 1,000 births) 76/1000
Life Expectancy 54
Literacy Rate 74.8%
Global Hunger Ranking 40 (15.1) Serious
HIV/AIDS Prevalence 11%

Malawi doesn’t often make the world news. That’s because it is a peaceable rural country. Rural Malawians do not celebrate birthdays as people do in many other countries. Most babies are delivered at home and individuals often do not have official birth certificates. Parents associate the birth of a child with a particular season or important event, although many do not know the specific date. Malawian families are often large because they are highly valued. A large family means more hands to help on the farm and assures that parents will be cared for as they age.

  • Over 50% of the country are living in poverty, with 82% of people living on less than $2 a day.
  • Minimum wage is one of the lowest in the world at $1.12.
  • Almost half of all children are suffering from acute or severe malnutrition.
  • 26% of children between 5 and 14years work as child labourers.


Preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child

Preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child

Partner: Evangelical Alliance Malawi (EAM) and Livingstonia Synod AIDS Project (LISAP)
Location: Malawi, Southern Africa
Finance needed: There is a shortfall of €30,000 for this project

In Malawi, one in five children born to a HIV-positive mother is infected – a death sentence at birth.

However, child and maternal mortality can be reduced dramatically with a number of low-cost interventions. Tearfund and its local partners are mobilising church and communities in rural Malawi to stop AIDS together.

The main objective of the IMPACT project is to reduce vertical transmission of HIV to less than 7% by the end of 2014 in the Mzimba, Balaka and Chiradzulu districts of Malawi by reducing parent to child transmission (PPTCT). This will then lead to a reduction in the prevalence of HIV and improvements in maternal and child mortality as well as improved quality of life for people living with HIV. The project aims to change negative attitudes towards people with HIV and to empower women to take control of their own sexual and reproductive rights while also focusing on encouraging men to play a more active role in HIV prevention and antenatal care. It also seeks to increase the number of women accessing antenatal clinics (ANC) as 50% of women do not deliver their children in health facilities.

IMPACT has adopted many innovative ways to reach its goal such as a ‘mother-buddy’ system where women who are already mothers themselves as well as being HIV positive are trained to offer full holistic support to mothers who are HIV positive until 6 months post birth. MiHope a mobile phone system that is used for collecting data as well as enabling improved support and training to volunteers has been implemented. With 75% of the population being Christian churches have been mobilised to change attitudes and behaviours towards HIV/AIDS by basing counselling and testing services in churches. Focus has been put on improving the livelihoods of people living with HIV thereby improving their overall health and well-being and reducing the numbers living in extreme poverty. A toolkit Guardians of our Children’s Health (GOOCH) is used to inform communities on the importance of PPTCT and sexual health. IMPACT also works and liaises with government departments around issues of health and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

Film made in 2006. However the challenge remains in Malawi and Tearfund (in partnership with Irish Aid) continues to fight against HIV.

1. Reduce maternal and child mortality for HIV+ pregnant women

  • Ensure 6300 mothers tested for HIV and able to receive anti-retroviral medicines which prevent the transmission of HIV.
  • Ensuring Skilled Birth Care by providing increased training for birth attendants from 30 clinics & using MiHope mobile phone technology.
  • Providing Mother Buddies for all HIV+ mothers to assist them pre- and post-natal
  • Increasing father’s involvement. Often men are not committed to supporting their wife and are unwilling to help them.

2. Give HIV+ families an income

  • 500 HIV-affected families trained in improved agriculture techniques and supported with seeds and tools

3. Transforming knowledge, attitudes and practices among 100,000 people on HIV and sexual and reproductive health through local churches.

  • Education through 25 schools and 110 churches to reduce HIV, reduce unplanned pregnancies and reduce stigma by training a network of volunteers.
  • Provide HIV testing at mobile clinics in 110 churches and 25 schools.
  • Providing parental counselling and support through 110 churches


Make Life Flow

Project dates: Jan – Dec 2010

The health of Malawians is compromised by the limited access to adequate and safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. Despite the efforts by the government to increase coverage of safe water sources, it is estimated that only 62% have access to improved water sources. Diarrhea, dysentery, and typhoid fever affect many people in the rural areas and this reduces their productivity. Children are often forced to spend less time on school related activities as they spend a lot of time fetching water.

Partner: AGREDS. This is the development arm of the Assemblies of God church in Malawi and Tearfund has worked closely with them over the past decade.

Project To improve access to clean and portable safe water for 3,750 people

Key achievements

  • 17 shallow wells were improved and protected
  • 17 Water Point Committees (WPCs) were trained to repair and carry out routine maintenance
  • A community fund for spare parts was established in each community
  • Hygiene and sanitation sensitization and training was conducted with 3,750 people