DCA in Malawi
© Mikkel Østergaard

DanChurchAid in Malawi

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries struggling both economically, socially and politically. Recently Malawi has experienced high level organised corruption due to poor public accountability. The country is prone to the adverse effects of climate change, i.e. flooding, draughts etc.


Malawi has a population of 16.36 million with a lower life expectancy of 55.31 with about 50.7 % of the population living below poverty line of less than 1,25 $ a day. Presently, 6,5 mill people living without food because of draught and is therefore depending on food assistance until next harvest in April 2017. Poverty is much higher in rural areas that in urban settings. Population growth is at 8%. HIV prevalence rate has stagnated at 10%. Harmful cultural practices still fuel the spread of HIV.

Malawi is facing governance issues. Politicians hold too much power and selective justice is being practiced. High profile criminal cases have stalled, while politically motivated cases are common.

Malawi, a predominantly agriculture nation, is very prone to the adverse effects of climate change; yet it is not well prepared against reducing the risks.

The country has high debts, much higher than her exports sufficiently can address. A viable replacement for the failing tobacco industry, that used to be the backbone of the economy, hasn’t been identified yet.

Despite a relative enabling legal framework of civil society organisations to operate within, the oversight role is not fully operationalised, which among other things, leaves many women and girls unaware of their rights.

What we do in Malawi

We have been in Malawi since 1980s when we were supporting clinics and doing relief work. We pride ourselves to have helped the country’s democratisation process since 1993 leading to the first multiparty general elections against autocratic regime of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. We supported civil society organisations in their quest for democracy.

Today, we have a country programme 2016-2020. We are only implementing through partner organisations, but have narrowed the partner portfolio, geographical coverage and thematic focus in order to be more efficient in achieving change for the target groups.

We are now working on Active Citizenship and Right to Food combined with Humanitarian Action where deliberate measures to increase women and youth participation and involvement in democratic decision making processes and structures are focused.

  • dotRight to Food: we work towards empowerment, advocacy, awareness raising and education for improved access to and control of productive resources such as land. We help rrights holders to practice climate change adaptive techniques for resilient livelihoods.
  • dotActive citizenship: with our partners we work to hold duty bearers accountable for not respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of Malawians. We thus empower rights holders to meaningfully participate in political decision-making and change processes and to have access to productive resources, innovative knowledge, social services and income generation opportunities. 

by Finn Petersen, Country Director

Contact Info

Articles about Malawi

Are there any benefits to the poor rural Malawian Population?
Nsanje is one hottest district in Malawi characterised by annual flooding and drought that periodically culminate into famine among poor peasantry masses. But Danish company Grundfos' introduction of solar powered irrigation at Tiyanjane is productively reclaiming this barren land.
Fear is rife among Malawi’s advocacy CSOs as Government strategizes to ban about 320 NGOs that have not registered with a government's established NGO Board.
Malawi Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) that attended a platform meeting at DanChurchAid (DCA) in Lilongwe last week went home labeled docile and dead for not being vocal on critical governance issues.
The cool breeze that bracketed one Sunday morning at Chiringa in Phalombe did not just mean blessings, but emergence of some new sort of challenges the Roman Catholic owned and Bilka rehabilitated facility would encounter. Disgusting tragedy is what one Aliness calls her experience.
Several organisations in Malawi are now joining forces and starting a domestic fund raising campaign for the benefit of the victims of the massive floods.
Several organisations in Malawi are now joining forces and starting a domestic fund raising campaign for the benefit of the victims of the massive floods.
Heavy rains that braced President Mutharika's rally to victims of floods in Balaka last Friday could not stop him from issuing stern warning against abuse of relief items. Mutharika's government is running on zero aid budget after donors pulled out due to financial mismanagement.
With one third of the country affected by heavy rain and floods Malawian president Peter Mutharika has declared the country in a state of disaster. DanChurchAid has responded to the call for assistance
Hell has broken loose in Malawi! More than 45,000 people have been displaced and rendered homeless by flooding forcing President Peter Mutharika to declare Malawi a disaster area. President Mutharika has therefore appealed to foreign donor communities for humanitarian aid.
With 27 years of NGO experience, Finn Petersen is DanChurchAid’s new Regional Representative in Malawi.
It is gospel truth that the value of a goat is not what the neighbourhood sees, but is in the pride the poor household gains after a successful pass on scheme. Goats are such livestock that quickly multiply and have greater potential of recreating a poor household’s world in just a year.
On October 15th 2014 DanChurchAid and Bilka received a Global Award for Fundraising for the common campaign "Give a Lifeline to Malawi".
Malnutrition among under-five children and HIV positive pregnant mothers in Thyolo District have become endemic. But use of highly nutritious locally available herbs has given vulnerable groups some incalculable hope.
Former general secretary at DanChurchAid will take up the new position as regional representative in Zimbabwe
Women working to improve their own livelihoods
Lakeshore communities not benefiting from the lake
When Chrissie husband left to look for work in South Africa, she thought her life would change for the better. But for the past five years, he has not called or written leaving her to fend for their five children. A livestock project by DanChurchAid has restored her hope and now she can live a better and dignified life.
If Danish companies invest in developing countries it could secure growth both in Denmark and in the countries, they invest in.
Ever since the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was launched, it has largely benefitted politicians at the expense of the in-need communities.
The government of Malawi is encouraging HIV testing during pregnancy to curb mother to child transmission of the virus. Despite its apparent good motives, the programme has brought conflicts within families that have led in some instances to divorce. However, some have handled the situation amicably.
Men now treating women as equals in Ntchisi after gender training
Men now treating women as equals in Ntchisi after gender training
Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organisations conference kicks off in Malawi
DCA has engaged law makers in the Malawi Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee to advocate for the changing of current laws that are stifling efforts in the fight for women empowerment.
Jositika Kasukali had always dreamt of living in an iron-roofed house, but considering that she and her family were every day struggling to meet their basic needs it seemed unrealistic that she would ever be able to give her family a better house. Until she joined a FAHU-funded village savings and loans group.
12.000 kids will enjoy LEGO toys in village child care centres.
Joining a village savings and loans group called "Buyu" has made Malawian women achieve things they had never even dreamed of. Their lives have improved significantly and they are now positive about the future for themselves and their families.
In 2011, Patricia Lukali and a few other community members from the Mwilang’ombe village, Malawi, formed a Village Savings and Loans group with help from DCA. After joining the group, Patricia has been able to contribute economically to the household income, and the living conditions for her and her family have improved significantly.
The poor rural population in Malawi often finds it difficult to access capital, and this inhibits their possibilities of establishing micro businesses to generate extra income for their families. By joining a village savings group, Ruth Mkumbwa has managed to set up a small rice selling business, which has turned out to be a success.
With the Rockwool Foundation's contribution of EUR 204,000, DanChurchAid and SOLDEV have helped various Malawian families get access to small loans, which have improved their lives significantly.
Getting a small loan from a village savings group can enable poor people to start their own micro businesses, which may lead to a better life for them and their families.
Last year many farmers from Nsanje, Malawi, lost all of their crops due to floods and drought. Because of the scarcity of seeds, prices at the local markets reached an exorbitant level, which many people could not afford. In order to survive they had to eat wild fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Joining a Village Savings and Loans group turned out to be a life-changing decision for Luwiza and her husband, who used to walk 20 km every day in order to take care of their small rented farming plot.
A group of 15 women has been engaged in irrigation farming for 10 years growing vegetables and also have a tender to supply their produce to local secondary schools. But despite their efforts, the group is still struggling as they cannot access small loans to boost their business.
Raised in a community that looks down upon women entrepreneurs, members of Bulamo HIV and AIDS Prevention Organization women group in Salima tells us about their shattered dreams, and the unending hope that one day society would open up to recognise their contribution to the community.
The saying goes ‘there is unity in numbers’ and the women of Group Village Headman Chenyama in the area of Traditional Authority Kalonga in Salima district in Malawi can bear testimony to this
The chickens of Mtoso village get more attention than the average Danish egg layer. The women of the village gladly perform a song of gratitude about how the chickens have changed their life, whenever there are visitors.
Being a single mother of two in rural Malawi is no easy task for Joyce. Her income is highly unstable, and she has to rely on loans from friends and relatives during tougher times, since she has no means of accumulating savings. For poor people like Joyce, access to microsavings is the way to a better, more stable future.
DanChurchAid has received a grant of 118,000 EUR from the European Commission’s Non State Actors Capacity Building Programme in Malawi
Economic empowerment of a Malawian woman can empower her to hold greater decision-making power in the household, secure food for her family all year around, improve the nutrition intake in her family, pay her 6 children’s school fees, equip her to expand her small-scale maize business – and even allow her to put aside small savings for health-related emergencies or a year of bad harvest.
The general elections in Malawi has brought women from both urban and rural areas into decicion making, writes Lugede Chiphwafu Chiumya, Programme Officer at the DanChurchAid Malawi office.
On 12 May 2009 Dan Church Aid Malawi hosted a land mark conference on “Economic Empowerment of Women – Call to Action towards Gender Equality” as one of its commitments as a MDG 3 Torchbearer to “do something extra” towards gender equality and women empowerment under the National MDG 3 Call to Action Campaign.
The majority of Malawi’s children are either malnourished or undernourished, some of them so badly, that they don’t live through their early years. The parents of the children most often are too poor to prevent it.
By the shore of Lake Malawi women offer their bodies as payment for freshly caught fish, since they have no money. The nightly activities spread HIV and produces fatherless children. SWAM project helps the women take better care of them selves.
The Danish government has established an Africa Commission on effective development cooperation with Africa.
The Malawian farmers slog away in the dry fields. But that isn’t always enough to provide their families with food. The ELDS program helps the farmers to save money and groundnuts, to secure that they don’t starve.
DanChurchAid works with HIV/AIDS through local organisations in Malawi. DanChurchAid's local partners in Malawi are mainly church-based organisations with an understanding of the situation of the poor at grass roots level, gained through a long-standing presence in the communities.
DanChurchAid works with human rights issues through local organisations in Malawi. DanChurchAid's local partners in Malawi are mainly church-based organisations with an understanding of the situation of the poor at grass roots level, gained through a long-standing presence in the communities.
DanChurchAid works with food security through local organisations in Malawi. DanChurchAid's local partners in Malawi are mainly church-based organisations with an understanding of the situation of the poor at grass roots level, gained through a long-standing presence in the communities.
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