Building resilient communities in Malawi

Recently, DSV travelled to Malawi to see the work, successes and challenges of human aid partner Danish Red Cross’ project.

DSV visits Red Cross project in Malawi

The project is called "Building resilient communities in Malawi" and targets a 150,000 of the most vulnerable people in the southern part of Malawi. The efforts to build resilience stretch across a wide range of areas. From disaster prevention and teaching how to improve sanitary conditions to working with humanitarian diplomacy with local authorities.

Consortium Coordinator, Kirstine Primdal Sutton, accompanied the DSV visitors while they went around and saw many of the initiatives that are part of the project. On a car ride between two visits, there was time for an explanation of the way the project is shaped.

Resilience via local capacities

The success of the Red Cross relies on the local capacity. Kirstine Primdal Sutton explains:

“The core of the Red Cross is capacity building – our work with volunteers. None of our efforts matter, if they are not locally grounded through our volunteers. Volunteering is what the Red Cross movement is built on.

We have volunteers out in the deepest, deepest part of the most rural village, who support their own communities and try to make sure that their local community is coherent, and that together they are going to get better and develop. That means we are not outsiders trying to tell people how to live. It’s local Malawians from their own village, who educate their neighbours on how to live more healthy lives”.

Among the DSV visitors was CSR Manager, Martin Lünow, who said about the project: 

“Visiting Malawi and experiencing the distance to and between the communities the Red Cross is working with and the conditions of the infrastructure makes it very clear to see why it is important to have volunteers out in the villages. The vast majority of the people live in rural communities with very limited or no means of transport to the cities, so it’s imperative that the necessities can be brought to the rural areas instead. In addition, having local Malawians as volunteers builds a capacity within the community, and it’s really shows a good way for the communities to become more resilient”.

Resilience is a holistic approach

In the video, you can learn more about the different initiatives of the project and hear Kirstine Primdal Sutton explain more about why the Red Cross are firm believers in a holistic approach to resilience.