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Malawi: Feeding families

Farmer John Makina shows off his ripe maize at Nakatale irrigation site, Balaka district. Built by Oxfam last year, the new irrigation system provides water year round and helps avoid large crop failures.

Funding target: £130,000

Year 2 of a 3 year project
Many people in rural Malawi live in extreme poverty. Increasingly long dry spells and a greater risk of drought are making things even more difficult. With your support, we can help communities adapt to these changing conditions and feed themselves all year round.

About the project

Help communities grow more food in the face of changing weather patterns

The majority of people in Malawi depend on small-scale farming for their food and livelihoods, and so rely on regular rainfall. But in southern Malawi, increasingly prolonged dry spells mean that many families are experiencing extreme poverty, and people are regularly going hungry.

With your support we aim to:

  • Improve farmers' incomes and agricultural production to ensure reliable food supplies by helping them grow more drought-resistant crops;
  • Promote better land and water management by developing irrigation systems and providing training in soil and water conservation;
  • Strengthen livelihoods and provide new ways to generate income by distributing livestock, diversifying crops, and establishing village savings and loans schemes;
  • Enable communities to identify climate risks, prepare action plans, and understand and implement disaster risk-reduction measures.

Who will benefit

This year, around 4,000 households (20,000 people) from 100 villages in the Balaka and Blantyre districts will benefit directly. In all, some 40,000 people, mainly from female- and child-headed households, will benefit.

How we are helping

Lucy's story

 I am so excited! I have seen how beneficial joining the village's savings and loans scheme can be. From the savings, I have managed to buy a goat on my own and some kitchen utensils. Now, others in the village are admiring us. I am encouraging other women to join or form their own savings and loans groups, so they can also start contributing to the improvement of their own lives.

Mother-of- three Lucy became a member of her village's savings and loans scheme when it was set up by the project in 2012. Like other members, Lucy invested Kwacha 200 (about 40p) in the group in July 2012, and she has since been able to borrow Kwacha 19,000 (about £38) from the group to start a small trading business, as a means to diversify her livelihood.

Photo: Jessie Puwapuwa/ BSHDC

The budget


If you would like to learn more, download the full project details here (PDF, 1.14MB).

Inspired to make a difference?

By giving directly to this project you can be sure you are transforming people's lives. All of the money you give will go towards helping people in rural Malawi make a living. Get in touch to find out how you can help.


Individual donors:

Emma Learner -
01865 472108

Trusts and Foundations:

Kylie Sheaf - 
01865 473578


Peter William Hall -
01865 473445

If you're based in Scotland:

Angus Nelson -
0141 285 8863

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