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Malawi is a largely agricultural country with the majority of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Climate change and the HIV/AIDs epidemic are having devastating effects on people and communities, with flooding and drought increasing the risk of famine for millions of people.

A landlocked low income country, over 70% of Malawi’s population live on less than $1.09 (£1.40) a day. 80% of Malawi’s economy relies upon produce from smallholder farmers yet with the increased threat of climate induced events such as floods and droughts in line with the increasing impact of climate change is resulting in high inflation and high food prices. As a result, the livelihoods of many families are fragile and increasingly vulnerable.

With over a quarter of income based on agriculture, climate-induced disaster poses a huge problem to local families. With extremely limited options to earn a livelihood when agriculture fails, families have few options to earn an income and provide food for their families.

Islamic Relief staff giving qurbani meat parcel to beneficiary
Image: Islamic Relief aid workers distribute Qurbani meat packages.

The situation in Malawi

Climate change, the HIV/AIDs epidemic and natural distorters have had a devastating impact to communities in Malawi.


highest infection rate of HIV worldwide (UN World Food Programme, 2018)


of the population are illiterate (UNESCO, 2015)


of children attend secondary school (UNICEF, 2013)


of children under the age of five are stunted (UN World Food Programme, 2017)

Islamic Relief in Malawi

Islamic Relief has been working in Malawi since 2006.

Our projects in Malawi include increasing resilience to natural disasters, tackling food insecurity by supporting local communities, and building secure livelihoods.

To support vulnerable families in Malawi, we also run seasonal programmes by distributing Ramadan and Qurbani food parcels to vulnerable families, as well as supporting orphaned children and their families through our orphan sponsorship scheme.

Islamic Relief in action

Disposable sanitary pads are seen as a luxury in Malawi, where 70% of the population has less than £1.50 a day to live on. Few can afford the 1,600 Kwacha (95p) needed to buy pads every month. 

To combat this so-called ‘period poverty’, in October 2021 Islamic Relief Malawi launched a project which has so far given menstrual hygiene kits to 2,500 adolescent girls. Each kit contains a bucket, reusable sanitary pads, soap, body lotion, and underwear. 

Islamic Relief is also constructing girls’ changing rooms to provide them with a safe and private space at school. Now, many girls can go to school without worrying about their period.

Family sat with food items provided by Islamic Relief
Image: A family receive Ramadan food parcel provided by Islamic Relief.

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