Food Security and Energy: Five Development Projects in Malawi


SEATTLE — Many third-world countries rely on assistance from outside sources to grow their economies and infrastructure. Either the government has no sustainable economy or it does not have the reach to enforce its laws, and so philanthropic organizations step in or partner with the government to create a more efficient infrastructure. Malawi is a country that is so isolated and small that it cannot maintain its own welfare. Therefore, there are several different groups that are moving into the country to assist with maintenance and sustainability.

According to the World Bank Group, there has been a rise in funding committed to Malawi through different projects in 2017, amounting to nearly $450 million from the World Bank Group alone. Some development projects in Malawi, such as the Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project and the Shire Valley Transformation Program are funded by the World Bank Group, but others are organized and funded by independent programs, such as The Hunger Project Malawi, Heifer International Malawi and the Community Energy Development Programme, funded by the Scottish government.

The Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project is a private-public partnership with the World Bank Group and the Malawian government. According to the World Bank Group, the Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project is meant to remove bottlenecks and improve the quality of water production for Lilongwe City. Currently, the cost of the project sits around $102 million and the project is set to be finished on June 30, 2023. The new pipelines and system will increase water access to 10 different schools as well as 10 outdoor markets, and will support the construction of 8,000 new sewer systems across the city. This project is not only one of the most aggressive water projects in Malawi, but it is also one of the farthest-reaching.

Another of the development projects in Malawi is the Shire Valley Transformation Program. This is another World Bank Group project, aiming to grow agricultural production in the Shire Valley area, where food production and profitable income are severely lacking. The total cost of the program is projected to reach $234.5 million, but currently only around $160 million has been committed to it. The focus of this development project in Malawi is to work towards growing infrastructure and food production through increased irrigation and management and allocation of natural resources for each household. The hope is that with increased access to irrigation and natural land resources, more households will be able to earn a steady income and lessen the food desert issue in the area.

The Hunger Project is a nonprofit organization focused on ending hunger in 22 countries across the world. Their work in Malawi is what the organization calls the Epicenter Strategy, where the center of the community, or a major city is the major supplier of resources to the country, and an epicenter can make all the difference in the way a community grows. According to their website, in Malawi, The Hunger Project has created 32 epicenters in which Malawians can gain access to food and, in turn, feed themselves independently of an outside organization. Currently, their work reaches 304 villages and around 184,000 people in greater Malawi.

Heifer International is a group that works to help grow the food market in a country through growing the livestock market and helping regulate products in the dairy and meat departments. In Malawi, the group has a plan to create a stable, self-sustaining livestock-based economy which in turn will help grow personal financing and aid in the prevention of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and help work on social issues in areas such as environmental protection and women’s rights. Heifer International works in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development and is currently creating several different development projects in Malawi within their basic livestock implementation program to assist in several specific areas such as dairy scale-ups and the enhanced community resilience program.

Community Energy is an energy company funded by the Scottish government which aims to help support energy-inefficient countries and to implement new energy-based programs to provide electricity to rural areas. Several of their programs are focused on personal electricity and solar projects, as well as hydro and cooking stoves for communities in rural areas. Community Energy has begun to install personal renewable energy units in 104 rural communities in Malawi so far. Twelve districts of Malawi have so far received direction and access to these units, and each will begin to produce and regulate their own energy, with Community Energy’s support.

All of these projects just scratch the surface of possibilities for Malawi’s development and are among many development projects in Malawi that aim to support the government and its community in a time of growth for the country.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr


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