Emergency cash transfers, nutrition and livelihood assistance for chronically food insecure households in Malawi (2016-17)

Publication Date: 31/03/2018

In May 2016, the Government of Malawi (GoM), assessed 6.5 million people out of total population of 16.8M (39 percent) would not be able to meet their annual food requirements during the 2016/17 consumption period. Additionally, over 1.8 million people were in need of agricultural inputs to restore their livelihoods. About 31 per cent of the cultivated land was affected by the drought, of which 13 per cent was severely affected. Poor nutrition and increased mortality rates were of particular concern in 24 out of a total of 28 districts. Approximately 975,000 children aged 6-23 months and pregnant and lactating women were particularly at risk of food insecurity and malnutrition and requiring nutritional treatment.

The high level of food insecurity was due to two consecutive years of below average production of all key agricultural crops. In 2014/15 Malawi had the worst growing season for seven years, and this was followed by the worst floods in history in January 2015 and then widespread prolonged dry spells. Malawi was then severely impacted by one of the strongest El Niño events in 35 years. This climactic phenomenon has brought below average rainfall in the central and southern regions, and higher than normal rainfall in the north of the country. In response the food insecurity, the President of Malawi declared a state of disaster on 12 April 2016.

In order to address the significant challenges posed by El Niño in Malawi, CARE proposed a comprehensive cash transfer, nutrition and livelihoods response to reduce the vulnerability crisis-affected people, especially women, girls and boys in Salima. The project focuses on three immediate outcomes. First, the project will improve capacity of at-risk populations to meet basic needs and reduce negative coping strategies through cash transfers. Second, the project will focus on improving the nutritional status of women and children through awareness raising, demonstrations of best practices related to food preparing and provision of kitchen garden inputs. Finally, the project will increase the self-reliance of at risk population through the provision of seeds and tools as well as training on post-distribution harvest and storage techniques. [19 pages]

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