Malawi


 

Lake Malawi

Context

Malawi is a landlocked country with a vast range of geographical features, with high plateaus in the north and central areas and mountains to the south. Lake Malawi makes up one-fifth of the country’s surface area and is Africa’s third and the world’s ninth largest lake. Malawi is among continental Africa’s more densely populated and least developed countries. The population is highly rural, and agricultural production is predominately subsistence and rain fed, leaving the country vulnerable to drought. Two-thirds of the population live below the national poverty line, and more than one in five people live in ultra-poverty. The country depends on external aid to cover development needs in most sectors. The agricultural sector accounts for one-third of GDP, employs some 75% of the national labour force and accounts for more than 90% of export revenues. Malawi has not benefited from significant mineral endowments, and its export corridors to the ports in Mozambique have yet to be fully repaired from the damage done by that country’s civil war.

The Government of Malawi is continuing to follow a strategy of promoting economic growth and developing the poor physical, economic and social infrastructure to achieve its objective of poverty alleviation as outlined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) 2006-2011. Malawi has a multiparty system of government that was re-introduced in 1994, with presidential and parliamentary elections held every five years.


Power in Malawi

Power has been active in supporting the disability movement in Malawi since 2009 when its sister organisation Power4Good Ireland launched a pilot programme to establish Village Savings & Loan Groups with our partner FEDOMA, to improve livelihoods of people with disabilities. The pilot has seen some considerable success, and the partnership is working to extend this programme into all parts of Central and Southern Malawi in 2012. In parallel, Power has undertaken to bring learning from our human rights work in Zambia, and has provided technical and strategic support to our partners to launch a focused human rights initiative with FEDOMA. In 2012 we have supported FEDOMA to negotiate and plan for a significant pilot programme in inclusive education, funded by the World Bank. Our strategy is to continue to support FEDOMA’s capacity, providing strategic and technical support across these three themes of economic empowerment, human rights and inclusive education.