Real lives

Real Lives

Photo essays



Human interest and feature stories related to UNICEF interventions aimed at saving children’s lives, supported  through the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, HIV/AIDS, health and nutrition and protecting children from diseases and risks that deter or affect their survival.

Protecting children in hard to reach areas
July 2017 - Palm trees and stone buildings are some of the sights that greet you on Likoma Island. This 28 square kilometre island in Lake Malawi forms part of the Likoma District of Malawi, just a few kilometres from Mozambique.

Fighting malnutrition in Mwanza
April 2017- The family of Agnes and Julius Goza is not your typical rural Malawian household. Although far from living comfortably, this young enterprising couple is not struggling as much as some of their neighbors.

German Ambassador visits UNICEF nutrition and WASH projects
February 2017, Dowa: Four year old Emily Jacob of Chakhaza village was not eating the right foods and it started to show. She had lost weight and was crying more than usual. Her mother took her to a nutrition screening conducted every month in the village

A Health Surveillance Assistant’s intervention saves the life of baby Daniel
January 2016 - It was a visit by the local Health Surveillance Assistant (HAS) to Liness Machewa’s home in Kudembo Village, Neno District that brought Liness and her baby Daniel to Neno District Hospital.

Konja recovers from malnutrition to a bouncy girl
January 2017 - In June last year, at the peak of the hunger crisis, I visited Chikwawa district as part of a team that was documenting the effects of the crisis on children. The journey took us to Dolo Health Centre where a nutrition clinic was in session

Making traditional leadership work for sanitation
November 2016 - “Not too long ago people of this area had the idea that toilets were a privilege, to be used only by the rich in society,” says Senior Group Village Headman (GVH) Chimanda of Traditional Authority (TA) Chakhaza in Dowa.

Delivering clean water through innovative community water supply solutions
November 2016 - To the untrained eye it looks like a regular pump. But it isn’t. The rope pump, placed on a 10 metre-deep well, can draw 20 litres of water in just 30 seconds.

Quality new born care a must for child survival
April 2016 - Sellina, 20 (not her real name) carried her pregnancy for 9 months with pride as she knew that a life was growing inside her. Being her first pregnancy, she looked forward to the day her child would be born.

Living a full life with HIV – Everesi’s story
6 August 2015 – It’s a busy day at Nathenje Health Centre. Colourful wrappers cover children and mothers who are waiting in the pleasant warmth of the late winter sun. Among the visitors at the health centre is 35-year-old Everesi...

What does water mean to you? Communities in Malawi share their water stories.
March 2015 - In many countries in Africa, water transcends socio economic status and access to water, or more importantly lack thereof, affects many communities- both urban and rural.

Traditional Authority Mwase: Malawi's largest Open Defecation Free Area
12 November 2014 - Tribal Authority (TA) Mwase consists of 72 villages, with a population of over 60, 000 people. The achievement of convincing all these people to use latrines is attributable to Chief Mwase.

World Aids Day: AIDS-free generation starts with children
1 December 2014 – On this World Aids Day, people worldwide unite in the fight against HIV. Malawi is leading in this fight, and has already achieved a sharp decline of 67 % less new HIV infections between 2009 and 2013.

Saving children from malnutrition through sms
20 November 2014 - Beatrice Duncan brings her son Brian to Bereu Health Centre in Chikwawa district every four days. The one year old is suffering from severe acute malnutrition and needs regular check-ups and treatment.

UNICEF Regional Director visits first Open Defecation Free area in Malawi
15 October 2014 - Today marks Global Handwashing Day. In Malawi, this day was celebrated with a visit of UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Ms. Leila Pakkala.

Reduction of child mortality
16 September 2014 - Globally, major progress has been made in improving child survival. The under-five mortality rate has declined by almost half since 1990. However, this progress is insufficient to meet MDG 4.

Reduction of neonatal mortality
16 September 2014 - Despite Malawi’s strong progress in child survival, the reduction of neonatal mortality hasn’t followed at the same pace: under 5 mortality has been reduced by 70% over 22 years, compared to a 50% reduction for neonatal mortality.

Kangaroo mother care - Saving babies born too soon
13 September 2013 - There are no crying babies or cheering family members as you approach the Kangaroo Mother Care Unit (KMC) of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre. This is, after all, no average newborn ward.

Mzambazi males shine by defying odds
August 2013 - They all jumped in happiness, danced, sang and above all lifted high the trophy they had just received. Drums and songs of triumph reverberated giving evidence that this was no ordinary ceremony. It was a ceremony to honour champions.

Changing habits and norms through Community-led Total Sanitation
22 March, 2011: Mzimba, the biggest district in northern Malawi, remains one of the most naturally endowed districts in Malawi. Where other districts have depleted their natural tree cover through charcoal burning and other degrading activities....

Reaching children through the Child Health Week
13 May 2011: For parents, especially mothers, the Child Health Week held in May was an important one. They abandoned their daily chores, strapped babies to their backs, and walked long distances to the health centres to have their young children immunized

Village clinics ease access to healthcare
March 23, 2011: A UNICEF vehicle gets stuck in mud at Kazuni about seven kilometres south of Mpherembe Health Centre in Mzimba district, which is northern part of Malawi. The vehicle, with UNICEF staff is on its way to a village clinic at Elunyeni...

I thought his illness was caused by witchcraft
13 May 2011: Chrissie Tsokalida has just walked more than 20 kilometres to Mitundu Health Centre with her two year-old son Lameck tightly strapped to her back. She is clearly worn out but is not bothered, as long as what has been ailing her son...

Bringing medication to the door step
March 22, 2011: It is 5:30pm and darkness is starting to set in but Bydon Mughogho is not bothered. He continues to work, attending to one sick child after another.

Community says “No!” to eating faecal matter
Twelve-year-old Joseph Chinkhadze knew that each time a fly landed on his food, it probably carried his neighbours' faecal particles. “I wasn't surprised to see the flies as I knew people living here used the bush around my home as a toilet.”

The first drop of water
She has brought her six month-old daughter Mphatso to Kasungu District Hospital to be treated for diarrhoea. During the night she has spent in hospital, Mphatso has been vomiting and is clearly getting weaker.

Pain for a purpose
Rocking her baby, Maggie winces as the nurse pricks the heel of her six-month-old baby. The baby screams as the nurse firmly squeezes out drops of blood on to circles drawn on a special blotting paper.

The people's doctor
“Good day doctor”, say villagers with warm smiles as Blessing Mwareya trudges up a stony track, looking smart in his light blue uniform, in the southern Malawian district of Phalombe.

Treating severely malnourished children at home
Bertha Muwoma feared the worst for her two-year-old son Brian. He had been in and out of hospital and this latest episode threatened to take him back yet again.

A tale of two pregnancies and two different outcomes
The maternity ward at Mangochi District Hospital bursts at the seams as pregnant women occupy all the beds and others sleep on the floor, even in the hospital corridors. But Esther Makumba is neither expecting nor nursing a baby. Her baby died in the womb

Improved sanitation retains more girls in school
She purposefully walks to school knowing that she only has two terms before she goes to secondary school. At 18, Eveless Mayenje is much older than most of her classmates in standard 8.

Delivering PMTCT services in Malawi
Alice Chipeni looks forward to her young baby being tested for HIV. The thought is enough to fill many minds with dreadful expectation but for Alice, it is one more step in a long journey that began in 2004.

How one woman’s decision changed her life and her baby’s forever
Lonely Muyila was devastated when she learnt in 2005 that she was HIV positive. Despite several weeks of treatment, her husband’s cough had continued unabated and when his medical provider suggested an HIV test, he refused.

In the battle against malnutrition in Malawi, community outreach is making all the difference
Anna Jumbe did not understand why her 14 month-old baby was always sickly. Fed up with the various treatments she had administered, none of which worked, she decided to walk 10 kilometers to Chiwamba Health Center where her baby Brenda was diagnosed ...

Changing Sanitation Habits through a “Walk of Shame”
By Victor Chinyama - Fourteen year-old Maureen Mbewe is determined to bring about lasting change in her village. For several years, she has observed with disgust the tendency by some in her village to relieve themselves in nearby bushes ....

Partners against HIV
Lilongwe, 25 October 2007 – Gaelle Sevenier

Increased prevention of mother-to-child HIV Transmission in Malawi
Blantyre , 20 October 2007 – Gaelle Sevenier.





Photo essay: Childhood malnutrtion

In recent years, Malawi has achieved tremendous strides in economic development. Despite the progress, pockets of food insecurity remain in some parts of the country. View this photo essay on how Malawi is coming to terms with childhood malnutrition.

[View photo essay]

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