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.
One woman told us that owning cows has made her as strong as a man.Wendi Aarons
After cruising around for a bit and enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife, our captain docked the boat and told us all we could jump in and swim. Almost everyone from the group immediately sprinted to the side and cannonballed into the water like it was Caddy Day at Bushwood Country Club and they were allowed just 15 minutes to have fun before the Baby Ruth appeared. It was pretty great. I didn’t join them. Instead, I stood on the deck waving and smiling at everyone in the gorgeous water, and quickly decided it wasn’t something I could do.
Friends, I'm happy to report that found light in Malawi. There is light and colour everywhere. The women wear vibrant colours and patterns, and at every stop, our hosts greeted us with exuberant song and dance.
"Watching [Cindy] in this moment was the link between putting a check into an envelope and seeing how every donation matters." -Meredith Walker
I cried on the plane because, despite so much that is wrong with our world, the desire to help one another burns in enough hearts to be a powerful force. People are living up to their duty of helping others and it is changing the world. I feel honored to be just one small part of that change.Jane Maynard
Priorities. They are sometimes easy to figure out, but many times they give us choices that seem to compete for what we would consider best. They become difficult for us personally, and feel even more difficult for us as a community, or a nation, or if we look far enough, they make the whole world a place to fight over priorities. Tough choices seem to just keep coming.
As Luiza was talking with us about her cows and her life she said, “You came and held our hands to bring us where we are.” At the conclusion of that sentence, Luiza and her neighbors began to cheer and yell with joy.
Baptista and Belia Mzukani have big plans for their daughter, Esnart.
October 11th is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child, a time to recognize the challenges girls in many developing countries face and to find ways to help them reach their potential.
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.