USAID grants UNICEF US$2.5 million to scale up cholera response in Malawi

26 April 2023
Learners at Namzamba Primary School receiving buckets procured with support from USAID and UNICEF to prevent the spread of cholera
UNICEF Malawi/2023/HD Plus

LILONGWE, 26 April 2023 – The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided US$ 2.1 million (approximately MKW 2.18 billion) and committed an additional US$ 400,000 (approximately MKW 415 million) to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to scale up the ongoing cholera outbreak response in heavily impacted districts in Malawi and help prevent cholera transmission in districts affected by flooding from Tropical Cyclone Freddy.                   

In collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Water and Sanitation, this grant will allow UNICEF to reach at least 300,000 people, including approximately 127,000 children, by providing lifesaving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in schools and in surrounding communities.

In most affected communities, cholera originates from unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Consequently, improving access to better and climate-resilient water supply systems in communities and healthcare facilities is crucial to saving lives, enhancing people's well-being, and reducing the burden of WASH-related diseases on Malawi's health system.    

With the funding from the U.S. government, which is the largest donor to UNICEF, UNICEF plans to rehabilitate and upgrade water schemes and sanitation facilities in health facilities and schools, supply essential cholera prevention materials, and engage communities with cholera prevention messages. UNICEF will also help learners return safely to school in some of the districts impacted by Tropical Cyclone Freddy, like Blantyre, by providing soap, clean water, and wash buckets; conducting water quality monitoring and treatment; and promoting hygiene in schools and in surrounding communities.

According to USAID acting Mission Director Anna Toness, the new funding comes in response to President Lazarus Chakwera’s disaster declaration and the Tithetse Kolera campaign.

“The new US$ 2.5 million builds on USAID’s long-standing support to Malawi,” said Toness. “We are proud to partner with UNICEF and the Government of Malawi to accelerate our joint effort to end cholera.”

Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Malawi Representative a.i., commended USAID for their timely support in enhancing access to safe water and promoting good hygiene and sanitation practices.

Malawi has been grappling with a devastating cholera outbreak for over a year, resulting in the tragic loss of more than 1,700 lives.

"With over 14,000 children affected and 230 young lives lost, the outbreak presents a significant threat to the health and survival of children across Malawi. While we work with our partners to address their immediate needs, we must prioritize investing in and strengthening access to quality healthcare and clean water and sanitation facilities in vulnerable communities," emphasized Rotigliano.

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USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for international development and disaster assistance. In Malawi, USAID partners with the national government to advance a more self-reliant Malawi that is gender-equitable and democratically accountable. For more information, visit