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Christian Aid in Malawi

The last few years have brought encouraging progress in addressing decades of underdevelopment, but Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Largely dependent on agriculture, this small, landlocked country has been badly affected by climate change, with rains becoming unreliable, leaving many struggling to provide for themselves and their families.

Malawi faces widespread, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition and HIV prevalence is high. With maternal, infant and child mortality rates among the world’s highest, the effects of poverty are often most keenly felt by women and children.

Knowledge of healthy behaviour is poor in Malawi and its health sector is weak, with shortages of skilled health workers and a lack of essential drugs.

Malawi has strong links with the UK, and a very special connection with Scotland, which dates back 150 years to David Livingstone’s explorations.

Now links between Scotland and Malawi are growing ever stronger – and so, too, are Christian Aid's links with Malawian communities.


Every year in Malawi, millions of people struggle to grow enough to eat. Current farming methods can barely support the number of people living off the land.

Regular droughts and floods make it even harder for communities to cope.

Christian Aid is helping families improve farming methods to grow more food and we are helping communities to engage in profitable agriculture by ensuring they can grow and market crops effectively.


Malawi has seen child mortality rates decrease in recent years. However, maternal mortality rates, although reducing, remain unacceptably high at 675 per 100,000 live births.

We are working to deliver improved maternal, neonatal and child healthcare in Malawi.

Around one in every ten adults in Malawi lives with HIV. This places a significant burden on the many Malawians who care for people living with HIV, as often they are ill themselves or are looking after children orphaned by the virus.

Our partners are helping to prevent the spread of HIV and delivering effective care and treatment for those living with the virus.

We are also raising awareness of HIV, supporting people with the virus and challenging the stigma they face.

With our partners, we are addressing socio-cultural norms, practices and laws that act as barriers for women and children to access health services. We are working with men, women and young people to challenge prevailing attitudes and behaviours that prevent communities from voicing their demands for quality health services.

Climate change

Malawi is one of the African countries worst affected by climate change. Heavy rains, floods and droughts are common and dangerous, especially to the 80% of the population who live in rural areas.

We are supporting communities in areas at high risk of drought and flooding to build their resilience to future disasters so they no longer have to rely on emergency aid.

We carry out emergency response to communities affected by disasters, delivering immediate lifesaving support including shelter, water and sanitation, and food and nutrition through cash transfers.


About 85% of Malawians rely on agriculture for their food and livelihoods.

Functional markets are critical for smallholder farmers, but policy and legal frameworks have not previously been conducive to ensuring farmers have proper access to competitive markets and market information. As a result, poor smallholder farmers, who produce about 90% of marketed goods in Malawi, benefit least from the market systems in the country.

Through our work on the pigeon peas, rice and honey value chains we aim to:

  • Lobby for fair trading practices through the formation of trade associations.

  • Facilitate market links between market actors and service providers.

  • Strengthen bonds among smallholder farmers through cooperatives and marketing groups.

Christian Aid’s vision is of a self-sustained, healthy and resilient Malawi free from poverty and inequality.

We want to secure everyone’s rights to essential health services, and to improve people’s health-seeking behaviour and attitudes. We empower people and communities to change their world by teaching them how to campaign for better health services.

We are working on access to renewable energy, which will also help improve health.

Our livelihoods work promotes the sustainable management of natural resources and builds the resilience of communities to natural disasters.

We also work to improve access to markets for farmers, so that they can earn more money for the crops they grow.