Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964. Although Malawi is a country of great natural beauty it is relatively poor in natural resources and it has a high population density. Population growth and drought intensify the pressure on land and contribute to widespread rural poverty.
Most of the population earn their living from agriculture. Tea and tobacco are the main export crops but most of the farmland is used for growing staple foods on small subsistence farms. Financial stability has improved in recent years, with the introduction of measures to tackle corruption but Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
Many families lack access to sufficient land and hunger is widespread. Small-scale farmers lack the initial investment to buy tools, seed and land; girls are often forced to abandon education and marry to support their families; women suffer because they are denied their economic rights.
ActionAid has been active in Malawi since 1990. We now work in 14 districts to improve long-term access to food, water, healthcare and education.
Clean water and education
Mauledi Kataya (4 years old) at Ufulu Children's Centre, Beheria Village. Mauledi's mother died of AIDS so his grandparents look after him. This learning centre was built using ActionAid donations. It provides children like Mauledi and their communities access to clean water and education. The centre is literally transforming lives.
ActionAid also supports and encourages girls to stay in education, working with local partners to provide mentors, housing for female students and teachers in rural areas and workshops for girls wishing to return to education. Help a child gain access to education today.
ActionAid Ireland with the support of Irish Aid supports a programme on women’s rights which operates in five districts. We work closely with these community based women’s groups to:
- Reduce women’s vulnerability to violence and HIV and AIDS
- End violence against girls in schools
- Increase women’s access to and control over land.
ActionAid focuses on developing sustainable farming practices to help people - especiallly women - build a brighter future. We support local savings loan groups and seed banks and work with communities to lessen the impact of drought and flooding. We support people living with HIV and AIDS, and fight to improve access to anti-retroviral drugs and the nutrition necessary for these drugs to be effective. We work in adult literacy and partner with women’s forums to promote women’s rights within marriage.
How you can help
After 20 years of conflict the people from the communities of Northen Uganda have been left beind by 'an entire generation'. Since 2008, 200,000 have left displacement camps and have slowly returned to their homelands. The people carry severe emotional and physical scars from their experiences of war, not to mention the daily struggle to feed themselves and their children. Everything was desctroyed and pillaged during the conflict. Now returned to their homelands, they face an uphill struggle to rebuild their homes, schools and communities and replace their crops.
Every day life is a simply a battle. Conditions for the people living in the communities of Northern Uganda are very near the worst in the world.