In Malawi we currently support some 142,700 children and young people in 8 projects. We have worked in this southeast African country since 1998. Our projects are distributed throughout the country and are run by local partners.


AIDS exacerbates poverty

Malawi ranks among the world's poorest countries. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line. Primarily the family members who provide income typically die from AIDS. Many orphaned children end up on the street and nearly one in three children has to work. Eleven percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 is HIV-positive, giving Malawi the 9th highest ranking in the world out of 166 countries affected by HIV.

Our projects focus on the areas with the most urgent problems. HIV/AIDS education programmes aim to put a stop to the spread of this fatal immunodeficiency disease, Educational programmes help children complete school and improve their vocational skills. Self-help groups give families and village communities an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. We pay particular attention to the needs of (AIDS) orphans and street children.

The challenges

A woman hacks furrows in a dusty field. (Source: Jakob Studnar)
People in the villages are in particular affected by poverty.

More than half of the population of Malawi lives below the poverty line and economic destitution is especially widespread in the countryside. Ninety percent of the population live from subsistence agriculture or from the limited income they make as hired hands on farms and plantations. Periods of drought diminish the already poor harvests. One out of every seven children is malnourished. The high rate of HIV has a big impact on economic development because it primarily affects the working population. Malawi is highly dependent on foreign development aid.

The only significant export commodity is tobacco. Periods of drought and price fluctuations on the world market exacerbate the economic situation.

Combating poverty and underdevelopment are fundamental national goals. The government’s top priorities are food security, better healthcare, a higher level of education, and economic liberalisation.

In 1994/95, the government did away with fees for primary school. The number of schoolchildren has risen rapidly as a result, but overcrowded classrooms, a lack of new schools, and a shortage of teachers have drastically reduced the level of education. There are hardly any secondary schools and many families cannot afford the high costs of school tuition, accommodation and food. To make matters worse, schools are difficult to reach from rural regions.

  • Our work in the country

    We hope to achieve the following goals with our projects and programmes in Malawi:

    • Providing excellent educational opportunities at an early age for orphans and other children from difficult and financially disadvantaged living situations
    • Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • Helping women to form self-help groups where they can learn to make their families’ economic and health situations more resilient
    • Protecting children from abuse, which involves launching initiatives for prevention, rehabilitation and the prosecution of abuse cases. We seek to encourage our partners to advocate for the protection of children at political level
    • Ensuring that children from all walks of life can assert their rights, in particular the right to protection, support, and taking part in all important decisions that affect their lives
  • Key figures on Malawi

    • 17.4 million people live in Malawi
    • 47 % of all Malawians are under the age of 15
    • The average life expectancy in Malawi is 60 years
    • 62 % of the population lives below the poverty line*
    • 1.3 million children are orphans*
    • Nearly 1 million children have to work (26 %)

     Sources: World Factbook, United Nations*

Malawi: Help for street children

Malawi: Help for street children

The number of street children has rapidly risen due to the implications of HIV and Aids. We support a project in the capital Lilongwe to get those children off the streets.

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Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a Non-Governmental Organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect children's rights.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize children’s rights.

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