Making a difference in Malawi

DSV visited Danish Red Cross’ international project in Malawi to witness the impact of our support firsthand. The trip also allowed time to learn more about DSV Malawi.

Women holding children in Malawi

Danish Red Cross is DSV A/S’ international human aid partner. The agreement includes support for Red Cross' international project in Malawi called “Building resilient communities in Malawi”. The project is a consortium of Finnish Red Cross, Icelandic Red Cross, Italian Red Cross and Danish Red Cross.

DSV employees spent a week with Red Cross to learn more about the country’s need for aid and relief and to see the difference DSV makes.

A big impact

The peek into the project aimed to enhance the living conditions of the Malawian people brought the visitors to many different places around the country. They participated in the inauguration of wells with clean drinking water, visited homes where the people were taught how to improve sanitary conditions and saw clinics where small children received health checks – to mention just a few.  
CSR Manager, Martin Lünow said about the experience:

"So many children and adults will get a better and healthier everyday life and future because of Red Cross' efforts. They teach things that are very important and vital for health - like learning the importance of digging a latrine and washing your hands with clean water after a visit. Seeing the impact of establishing water points in the villages, which Danish Red Cross does as part of the project, made a big impression on me. It’s not hard to imagine how big a difference it makes for a village of 500 people when they go from walking 5-10 km to get clean water to having it in town just a few hundred meters away.
I witnessed firsthand how the consortium of Red Cross organisations has strong ties to even the most rural areas of Malawi. Their efforts and the way they work really made an impact on me."
The DSV participation during the week came from different places in the world and different DSV divisions.  From Group CSR and DSV Denmark to the MD of Malawi and the Regional Director, Air & Sea, for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Transport and logistics in a development country

The trip to Malawi included a visit to DSV’s office in the capital, Lilongwe. Since the country is among the poorest in the world, the daily business life is very different from how many of us know it, and DSV's presence is a factor in developing Malawi’s economy: 

"In a country like Malawi, the freight forwarding industry is paramount to the country because you are really at the heart of the economy," says Managing Director Marius Viljoen.

Operational Director, Freight Forwarding in Lilongwe, Erasto Mlambala elaborates:

"Malawi is dependent on import cargo from all over the world, and DSV handles large volumes of import that are important to the country’s well-being. Similarly, Malawi is an agriculturally based economy, which means that we export produce like tobacco, tea, soya, sugar and many other things. So our business handles a lot of the exports that bring revenue into Malawi and that means we play a major role the economy of the country". 

Part of the global presence

The Malawi offices became a part of DSV with the acquisition of UTi in 2016.

"Since DSV took over, we have seen an increase in volumes and an increase in clients - so it’s very fascinating to work for DSV Malawi," says Erasto Mlambala.

Marius Viljoen continues: "DSV is a trusted business partner for clients, and through our increased global network, we’ve seen a lot of additional business coming to the country. We’re hoping that we’ll also see a lot more aid coming in through the UNDP, UNICEF, UN food programmes and obviously through the DSV collaboration with Red Cross as well".

Overcoming challenges

The inflation rate in Malawi is 25%, and interest rates are close to 35-40%. That poses many challenges for trading, but also for the employees’ daily life and purchasing power. DSV Malawi has introduced a food hamper to help the employees.
MD Marius Viljoen explains:
"The staple food in Malawi is maize, and the price of maize can triple at times depending on the season and the demand. We have implemented a concept with ‘a basket of goods’ that includes a variety of food items such as 50kg of maize, 2 litres of oil, salt, peppers, basic cleaning needs, house cleaning needs, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The basket hedges the staff against the fluctuating maize".

Many stories to tell

The DSV employees who visited the Red Cross' projects in Malawi experienced so many things on their trip that a single story cannot do the efforts justice.

Therefore, we will be publishing more stories and videos here on our new human aid website.
Many more stories and pictures will show you why DSV and Red Cross | Red Crescent are such a good match for providing help.