Malawi’s children face a difficult future, The country is one of the poorest in the world and ranks 160th of the 182 surveyed countries in the 2009 Human Development Index. A significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line, with serious consequences for children and women.
Life for children and women in Malawi is characterised by poor access to healthcare and a high incidence of diarrhoea, malaria and other communicable diseases. Malnutrition levels have remained high for over a decade and 46 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted.
Like most countries in Southern Africa, Malawi is at the epicentre of the HIV epidemic. AIDS-related illnesses are robbing the country of people in their prime – life expectancy at birth no stands at 45 years. Close to a million people are living with HIV and AIDS, including more than 100,000 children under the age of 15.
The government has demonstrated a resolve to improve social service delivery by increasing budgetary allocations. In the country’s 2008/2009 budget, the health sector received the largest allocation of 14.3 per cent, followed by the education and agricultural sectors, including food security and nutrition. The health, education and agriculture sectors all have Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAps) while the SWAp for the water and sanitation sector is in process. What this means is a more coherent and coordinated approach to developing, funding and implementing programmes that have a direct impact on the quality of children’s lives.
UNICEF has been operating in Malawi since 1964. The current UNICEF/Government of Malawi Country Programme of Cooperation aims to support national efforts to progressively realise the rights of children and women through improved child survival, development, protection and participation.
The programme is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Millennium Declaration. It is also in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and contributes to sustainable economic development and food security, social protection and disaster reduction and management, access to equitable basic social services, HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment, and good governance. The country programme has also integrated the four cross-cutting areas of the UNDAF: human rights, gender, disaster risk reduction and capacity development for programme implementation.
The country programme has five programme areas:
The last two cut across all programmes, while the first three are sector-specific.
Annual Report 2010
Malawi Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2006
MICS 2006 survey is a nationally representative survey of children, women and men. A total of 22,994 children under the age of five, 26,259 women aged 15–49, and 7,636 men aged 15–49 were interviewed in 26 districts of Malawi. With 30,553 households interviewed in the survey, MICS 2006 is one of the largest household surveys undertaken in the country.