CARE established operations in Malawi in 1998. Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with a population of almost 16 million people, half of whom are below the age of 15. CARE’s programs include food security, agriculture, health, education, and social and economic empowerment, especially for women.
The Plight of Malawi Flood Victims
The worst flooding in 30 years has destroyed homes, crops and livelihoods in Malawi. Read Aida Marko's story.
CARE's Pathways Program Empowers Women in Malawi
Watch as Anastazia Saka and Vicknes Chimbonga, two Village Savings and Loan participants in Malawi, share their stories about how the savings group is changing their lives.
“Please Henry don’t talk to me in vernacular, I don’t want to be punished once my colleagues and teachers hear me talking our vernacular while in the campus.”
These were Rhoda Chaima’s first words when I recently visited her at Santhe secondary school in Malawi. Rhoda was referring to a policy by the school that requires every student to speak English as one way of improving their fluency.
"For one to be productive, you need to have access to resources and to markets," says Henry Swira. "And it's easier for men to have access to resources, because that's how traditionally it's been constructed, when actually it is women who do 70 per cent of the work in the field."
In Africa, the majority of food is grown by women, yet women own less than 2 percent of the world’s land, access only 10 percent of agricultural credit, and are routinely – systematically? – excluded from oppportunities to engage in more profitable agricultural activities and productive crop systems.
An educated girl is more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, enjoy greater income and productivity, and raise fewer, healthier and better-educated children.
Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread – but least recognized – human rights abuses in the world. Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. This violence is happening to our sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters around the world.
This violence leaves survivors with long-term psychological and physical trauma; tears away at the social fabric of communities; and is used with terrifying effect in conflict settings, with women as the main target.
In developed countries like the United States your earning potential is often based on the number of diplomas you have. But in rural Malawi, completing even a primary education is one of the most precious things anyone can achieve. For most girls there, getting even that single diploma is a rarity.
With a higher value placed on working in the fields, fetching water and helping take care of younger siblings, education lags behind for girls.