Malawi is one of 10 poorest countries in the world ranking 167 of 177 countries according to the human development report (2007/08) and has a population estimated to be at 16.3 million people. The Northern region has the lowest population at 13 percent and the Southern region has the largest population at 45 percent and the Central region has 42 percent. Poverty is wide spread in Malawi with almost 45 percent of the population living below the poverty line of $1 USD a day. Poverty is most prevalent with the rural population which constitutes over 80 percent of the population.
According to a situation analysis by Heifer International Malawi, over 80 percent of the population in Malawi--especially the rural population--relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. The over-reliance on agriculture has brought negative effects on the environment, as the natural resources are being depleted for cultivation land. Poor farming practices characterize the agricultural production in Malawi which has led to environment degradation. These issues have contributed in one way or the other to the changes in rainfall patterns and the accumulation of silt in the rivers affecting power generation in Malawi.
In addition to crops, livestock plays an important role in improving household food security. Apart from providing food and income, livestock also provides manure, hides, social security, etc. In Malawi, livestock contributes to about 8 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and above 36 percent the value of total agricultural products.
Heifer's Work in Malawi
In 1998, the Africa Area Program Team made a strategic decision to expand its operations to other African countries. Several Joint Assessment Missions (JAM), were carried out in Malawi during the period of 1998-2000, to assess the viability of Heifer International in Malawi.
Through these assessments, it was concluded that Heifer International would contribute to the Malawi Grouth and Development Strategy (MGDS). The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, requested Heifer International to operate in the country. Traditionally before an office is established in a country, Heifer works through existing local or international organizations in the country. In the case of Malawi, Small Scale Livestock Promotion Program (SSLPP) was identified as a partner that implemented projects on behalf of Heifer International.
In 2008, Heifer International made a decision to open a country office in Malawi. Heifer Malawi is currently implementing a Small Scale Dairy Development Project in the central regions with a co-funding arrangement between Heifer International and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project is expected to assist 180 smallholder farmers during its duration.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Farmer-based support in sustainable agriculture; natural resource management and utilization practices and capacity building of smallholder farmers in sustainable agriculture
Post-harvest management and processing: link livestock and agrobusiness actors along the value-chain to the target beneficiaries; financial management and monitoring
Market development: enterprise development; empower participating families to advocate for increased recognition of market oriented livestock enterprises.
Technology: Push-Pull technology, fuel efficient stoves
Nutrition: Identify and engage partners in training and sensitizing households on gender; HIV/AIDS and in nutrition education; provide bore holes for drinking water
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
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In Chiponde Village, in the brushy savannah of western Malawi, 38-year old Nashoni Zimba is celebrating the success of a local Heifer project in his own small way.