A long, narrow country, Malawi sits in southeast Africa and is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. Lake Malawi — the world’s 10th largest lake — covers about 20 percent of eastern Malawi. The beautiful scenery includes the Great Rift Valley, mountains, and plateaus.

  • Population: 14,901,000
  • Life Expectancy: 50 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 80%
  • School Enrollment: 91%
  • Land Mass: 45,746 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 74%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 92/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 330

Facts about Malawi

Food & Agriculture

Despite a recent surplus of maize, Malawians still struggle with food insecurity. The chronic food crisis is a major cause of malnutrition and has increased the risk of diseases. The World Food Program estimates that almost half of the children under age 5 suffers from chronic malnourishment.

Economic Development

Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world, with over half of Malawians living below the poverty line.


Almost three-quarters of secondary school-age children are either working or staying home to care for their families instead of receiving an education.


The HIV and AIDS pandemic continues to grow, killing tens of thousands of Malawians each year. The HIV prevalence rate is more than 11 percent; over 900,000 people in the country are living with the disease. More than 550,000 children have lost one or both of their parents to HIV and AIDS.

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Progress in Malawi

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Educated people about the adverse effects of early marriage, and instituted methods for reporting cases of child abuse.

  • Supplied primary schools with learning materials and teacher training to improve the quality of education for local children.

  • Taught farmers to diversify their crops to provide the variety of foods necessary to reduce malnutrition in children.

  • Helped farmers raise farm animals that provide valuable milk, eggs, and protein, reducing the risk of malnutrition for local families.

  • Provided thousands of children with age-appropriate education on HIV and AIDS prevention, helping decrease incidence rates.

  • Trained local healthcare workers to ensure that mothers and children under the age of five slept under insecticide-treated nets to protect them from malaria.

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    World Vision in Malawi Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Malawi to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision's child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 29,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Malawi. Highlights include:

    • Introducing community grain banks to ensure families have enough food.
    • Training traditional birth attendants to make health services more accessible.
    • Advocating for more HIV and AIDS voluntary counseling and testing centers.
    • Helping children receive a quality education.
    • Training communities to recognize disaster warnings and how to reduce the impact of disasters on their livelihoods.

    World Vision History in Malawi

    World Vision work in Malawi dates back to 1975 with support for the Lulwe School for the Blind; the office was opened in 1982. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Improving school facilities in rural areas, building bridges to improve access to schools and hospitals, and assisting Mozambican refugees fleeing from civil war during the 1980s.
    • Working to reduce high child mortality rates and distributing food to those affected by a severe drought in the 1990s.
    • Focusing efforts on nutrition, HIV and AIDS interventions, education, and training in the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    A long, narrow country, Malawi sits in southeast Africa and is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. Lake Malawi—the world’s 10th largest lake—covers about 20 percent of eastern Malawi. The beautiful scenery includes the Great Rift Valley, mountains, and plateaus.

    About 90 percent of Malawians work in agriculture, producing crops like corn, sugarcane, cotton, and tea. The country’s natural resources include limestone, hydropower, uranium, coal, and bauxite.

    The three prominent ethnic groups in Malawi are the Chewa, the Nyanja, and the Tumbuka. Chichewa is the country’s official language, though English and others are spoken regionally.

    The people of Malawi pride themselves on their friendliness—so much so that Malawi is called the “warm heart of Africa.” Malawians typically live with their extended families in clustered huts. A spirit of cooperation prevails as family members share both work and resources.


    After more than 70 years as the British protectorate of Nyasaland, Malawi gained independence on July 6, 1964.

    One-party rule under president Dr. Hastings Banda lasted for 30 years, but in 1994 the Malawian people voted for a new form of government. That year, the people held their first democratic multiparty elections, voting in a new president.

    A decade later, economist Bingu wa Mutharika took office amid pressure to alleviate the country’s deteriorating economy. Despite the president’s efforts, Malawi’s economy still struggles today.

    Prayer Requests for Malawi

    • Health workers rehabilitating underweight children with special nutritional supplements.
    • Dairy farmers working with their herds to produce more milk for children.
    • Sufficient rain so farmers will be able to harvest enough food to feed their children.
    • Children to receive the protection and care that they need.