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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.
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 Programme estimates that almost half of the children under age 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment.
Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world, with over half of Malawians living below the poverty line.
While primary school enrollment rate is relatively high at 91 percent, 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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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.
Provided families with livestock, potato tubers, and banana suckers, increasing their access to nutritious food.
Worked with the community to build irrigation systems, reducing farmers' reliance on seasonal rainfall and enabling them to grow crops year round.
Provided age-appropriate HIV-prevention education for young people.
Partnered with community care coalitions to care for and support people living with HIV and AIDS, and orphans and vulnerable children.
Trained local pastors and schoolteachers in Channels of Hope, a program that equips community groups to respond to the AIDS crisis.
Drilled borehole wells, improving access to clean water.
Helped schools build classrooms and teachers' quarters, increasing school capacity.
Provided vocational training for orphans and vulnerable children, preparing them for careers in tailoring, bricklaying, and carpentry.
Continued to raise community members' awareness of child rights through workshops and advocacy campaigns.
Monitored children's health and helped sick children access medical treatment.
Assisted local health agencies with an immunization campaign to curb a deadly outbreak of measles.
Provided nutritional training for caregivers, working to decrease malnutrition among children.
Distributed treated bed nets to help protect children and pregnant women from malaria.
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:
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:
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.