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Malawi map
UNICEF photo: mother holds child in her arms © UNICEF Malawi/2015/Joseph Scott Mother carrying a girl child admitted at Mangochi Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit, September 2015.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged 6 to 59 months provided with micronutrient supplementation


children aged 6 to 59 months immunized against measles


children provided with access to life-saving curative interventions

2016 Requirements: US$22,706,669

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Total affected population: 6.5 million
Total affected children: 3.5 million

Total people to be reached in 2016: 1,253,2541
Total children to be reached in 2016: 853,2542

Malawi is experiencing its worst food insecurity and nutrition crisis in over a decade, largely due to El Niño. Following devastating floods in the first half of 2015, the country faced prolonged dry spells not only in disaster-prone districts in the south, but also in areas traditionally producing food. Agricultural Production Estimates Survey results showed a 30 per cent decline in maize production in 2015 and a further 12 per cent decrease in 2016. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) forecasts that 6.5 million people (39 per cent of the country’s population), including 3.5 million children will face food insecurity during the 2016/2017 consumption period, representing an increase of 129 per cent from the 2.8 million people affected in the previous year. As a result, the Government declared a state of disaster in April 2016. With more than 42 per cent of all children already stunted3, there are concerns of increased malnutrition rates. A steady increase in admissions to therapeutic feeding programmes is already being reported, rising 37.4 per cent from January to May 2016 compared to the same period last year. A cholera outbreak that began in December 2015, has led to over 1,500 cases, with 40 deaths by end of May 2016. Malawi is also supporting refugees from Mozambique with UNHCR registering 2,093 people at Luwani camp and a few hundred at Kapise transit site. La Niña is expected to bring flooding, increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks and will compound the impact of El Niño on the most vulnerable populations, especially children. Poor coping mechanisms in response to shocks will expose women and children to health and protection risks, including child marriage and decreased school attendance rates.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 65,931 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) enrolled in therapeutic feeding programmes
  • 714,254 children aged 6 to 59 months provided with micronutrient supplementation


  • 453,500 children aged 6 to 59 months immunized against measles
  • 276,500 children provided with access to life-saving curative interventions


  • 400,000 people reached by hygiene promotion campaigns
  • 38,750 people provided with access to sanitation/temporary latrines4
  • 70,000 internally displaced persons and host communityprovided with safe water (7.5-15L per person per day)

Child protection

  • 3,000 child protection cases recorded and referred to appropriate services
  • 500,000 people reached with child protection messages to expand knowledge on protection services and service points


  • 125,000 children provided with access to quality education services
  • 25,000 adolescents who are in and out of school accessing relevant alternative education services


  • 10,000 women retained on HIV treatment
  • 100,000 adolescents provided with HIV-related information and access to services

Together with partners, UNICEF will continue to respond to the humanitarian needs of populations at risk, addressing malnutrition and preventing disease outbreaks, including cholera. In addition, UNICEF will strengthen minimum preparedness measures and ensure response capacities are in place to meet the immediate needs of affected populations, especially in areas impacted by floods and nutritional emergencies. UNICEF will continue to support the Government and UNHCR in responding to the needs of refugees/asylum seekers from Mozambique who have arrived since mid-2015. Multi-sectoral interventions in health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, education and child protection will use an integrated approach and will address cross-cutting themes, including HIV and AIDS, gender and Communication for Development. Given the scale of food insecurity after the release of the MVAC, and expected increase in severe acute malnutrition (SAM) caseload, UNICEF has increased 2016 targets for SAM. UNICEF will continue to work with partners to develop longer-term approaches that build the resilience of families and communities. UNICEF agreements with existing partners will include an emergency response component to facilitate an efficient emergency response. UNICEF will continue to be the co-lead agency for the nutrition, education, WASH and child protection clusters, while also playing a major role in the health cluster and the gender-based violence area of responsibility.

UNICEF Results (January to June 2016)

In addition to US$373,755 carried forward from 2015, UNICEF Malawi has received US$4.85 million. With available funding, UNICEF supported mass screening and referrals for acute malnutrition along with nutrition community mobilization activities for children and supported the delivery of critical life-saving commodities. These interventions have contributed to achieving over a 90 per cent recovery rate for the 22,660 severely malnourished children enrolled in therapeutic feeding programmes. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF immunized 106,000 children 6 to 59 months against measles and over 22,000 children gained access to life-saving curative interventions. Nearly 320,000 affected people have been reached with hygiene related messages, while 21,600 people accessed improved sanitation facilities and over 43,400 people have been provided with access to safe water. In addition, 300,000 people have been reached with child protection messages expanding their knowledge on protection services and 2,280 child protection cases have been recorded and referred to appropriate services. UNICEF has also provided 100,940 children in affected districts with quality education services and 4,560 out of school girls and boys with access to livelihood activities, literacy and social services.

Funding requirements

UNICEF Malawi has increased its emergency requirements from US$13 million to US$22.7 million to reflect the drastic change in the humanitarian needs and vulnerability of women and children in the country. As of August 2016, US$5.2 million (or 23 per cent) of the revised funding requirements have been received. Additional funding is urgently needed to support the national response which includes scaling-up treatment of acute malnutrition, strengthening WASH interventions due to the critical water shortages and expanding interventions in other sectors, including, health, education, HIV/AIDS and child protection.

1 The total number of people to be reached has been calculated by adding the number of children 6 to 59 months (714,254) and 0 to 6 months (estimated at 39,000) with the number of people based on UNICEF’s WASH target for hygiene promotion campaigns (400,000) and the number of adolescents based on UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS target (100,000).
2 The total number of children to be reached has been calculated by adding the number of children 6 to 59 months (714,254) and 0-6 months (estimated at 39,000) and the number of adolescents based on UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS target (100,000).
3 National Statistical Office of Malawi, Malawi MDG End Line Survey 2014, June 2015.
4 The UNICEF WASH target for access to sanitation/temporary latrines has decreased from the original HAC, as the focus is on hygiene/sanitation promotion and latrine construction in Nutrition/Health centers.