MALAWI

 

Malawi has a population of 16,777,547 (July 2013 est.) Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries in the world. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.  

     The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture, which has benefited from fertilizer subsidies since 2006, accounts for one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened.

     There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, which is a drain on the labour force and government expenditures.

There are many investment barriers in Malawi, including high service costs and poor infrastructure for power, water and telecommunications. As of 2009, it was estimated that inflation in Malawi was estimated at 9.7% as of February 2010.

     Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. Infant mortality rates are high, and life expectancy at birth is 50.03 years. In Canada we are at 82 years.

     There is a high adult prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 2 million adults (or 11.9% according to 2007 percentage)  I believe these statics from 2007 are currently severely under reported. Approximately 250 new people are infected each day, and at least 70% of Malawi's hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDS patients.

According to Avert.org, 57% of orphans are due to one or both parents dying of HIV/AIDS. 15% are ages 0 to 4. 35% are age 5 to 9, 50% are age 10-14. By the end of 2007, 91,000 children were living with HIV and over half a million orphaned.

     In Malawi, primary education is not compulsory, but the Constitution requires that all people are entitled to at least five years of primary education. Dropout rates are higher for girls than for boys. Gender inequality and needing to care for a sick parent or family member becomes a priority over school.  Since then the Malawian Government has in pursuit of surpassing the achievements that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has realized between 2004 and 2009, and ensuring that education progress does not falter, the Government through the Ministry has developed the National Education Sector Plan (2008-2017), on the foundation of equitable access, relevant quality and management and governance in order to improve the Malawian education system.  The problem is that the children in the public school our children were in last year had over 800 students from Standards 1-8 and no desks.  See attached photos. 

Strategies to meet these challenges

     We are able to educate our children and although we cannot prevent HIV/AIDS we can educate the children and staff in our care about the risks of HIV. We have a part time teacher who comes to the orphanage in the afternoons and teaches English as well as helps the children with their studies. The children are each given chores to do around the orphanage. Some help with laundry, others with cooking and tending to the younger children. We bought a sewing machine to teach sewing but it broke and has not been repaired.  The older children are encouraged to consider a trade and attend a trade college.  Sponsorships for education are requested of our donors.

Our goal is to make these children contributing members and leaders of their Malawian community whether they stay in Lilongwe or go back to their villages to help other children. We are equipping them with skills and are passionate about not making them comfortable in poverty but bringing them out of poverty, with many skills.

Agape Journal