Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Moreover, natural disasters such as Cyclone Freddy are increasingly destroying the harvests and thus people's livelihoods. With sustainable agricultural projects, Help supports families in Malawi in improving their living conditions through their own efforts.
Malawi: Combating the climate crisis
In Malawi, the consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt in full force. Droughts and floods have increased sharply in recent years, as have extreme weather events. In 2019, Cyclone Idai swept across Malawi, devastating entire swaths of land. Nearly 87,000 people were left homeless. The next disaster followed in early 2023 with Cyclone Freddy. The tropical storm caused enormous destruction and claimed the lives of more than 500 people.
The reason for the extreme weather in Malawi is primarily the climate phenomenon El Niño, which brings drought or heavy rainfall to southern Africa at irregular intervals. Climate change is intensifying El Niño – with catastrophic consequences for the population.
In Malawi, many people live in bitter poverty and are threatened by hunger. The majority of the population is dependent on agriculture, which is primarily practiced to meet their own food needs. The increasing crop failures due to droughts and floods therefore hit people hard. Famine is a recurring threat in Malawi, and about a quarter of the population is chronically undernourished.
Malawi: Rising out of poverty
Help supports the people of Malawi in building a sustainable and future-proof agriculture. In cooperation with local partners, we provide farming households with tools and resources so that they can produce and sell food more effectively and in a more environmentally friendly way. This gives people the opportunity to overcome hunger and poverty through their own efforts.
The key to the project's longterm success is education. In training sessions and workshops, the smallholders learn, for example, how to use dry soil efficiently and how to protect themselves from the effects of climate change by growing different types of vegetables. They also learn how to successfully resell their produce. The additional income gives the families the chance to build up financial reserves and better prepare themselves for future crises.
The successes of the farmers trained by Help make them role models and multipliers. As "lead farmers" they pass on their knowledge to others and thus strengthen the impact of the project. This innovative approach has already proven successful in neighboring Zimbabwe.
- Despite its small size of 118,484 km², Malawi has a population of about 20 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in Africa.
- Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 71 percent of its people living below the poverty line.
- 5.4 million people in Malawi are chronically malnourished – more than a quarter of the population.
- Agriculture provides 85 percent of employment and consists of 90 percent rain-fed agriculture, which is extremely vulnerable to drought.
- 8.9 percent of the population is HIV positive.
- In Malawi, Help is primarily active in the Katonga district in the north of Malawi.
- We currently reach 144 smallholder households through our work in Malawi.
- More than two thirds of the smallholders supported by Help are women.