DSV is one of the actors funding a program in Malawi by Danish Red Cross and Malawi Red Cross Society, which helps strengthen the resilience of Malawi’s 150,000 poorest people in the southern districts, Mwanza, Chikwawa and Mangochi– many of them children.
With the funding, Danish Red Cross and Malawi Red Cross have been able to support thousands of children and several communities in Malawi with education, healthcare and water facilities.
Access to clean water and healthcare reduce disease-outbreaks
Healthcare and access to clean drinking water have been and continue to be main priorities in the project.
Kirstine Primdal Sutton, country manager in Malawi for Danish Red Cross, explains some of the project’s ongoing development initiatives:
“Right now, we are building an orphanage and a hospital in each district. With the funding from DSV, we’ve also managed to build a water facility in the Mwanza-district that can provide more than 60.000 people every day with clean drinking water,” says Kirstine Primdal Sutton.
Red Cross has also built several wells in the small towns and communities, and Red Cross has clinics in the rural areas to which mothers can take their babies for check-ups. Also, 9,355 children are now able to access latrines in school for better sanitation. Having access to clean water and good facilities close by increases sanitation and reduces the risk for diseases among the vulnerable part of the population.
Education as an enabler for strength
The children who are part of the programme are also being strengthened through education, as that will allow them to build a better future for themselves. Today, close to 1,000 orphans and vulnerable children receive educational support.
“We hand out night lamps for the children to read their homework in the evening, and they are supported by so called ‘Mother groups’, which are volunteers from Malawi Red Cross who want to support the children with their education,” says Kirstine Primdal Sutton.
For girls, Red Cross also hands out sanitary towels and informs them and their communities about pregnancy, contraception and early marriage, as every second girl is married before she turns 18. That causes many young girls to drop out of school. However, 590 girls have been trained in Menstrual Hygiene and three bylaws have been passed on early marriage as a result of Red Cross’ efforts in the programme.
Better suited to handle flooding
The babies and children who are a part of Red Cross’ programme are stronger and in better health than in other communities, because they have access to food, clean drinking water and healthcare. With increased general health, the children are more likely to survive and stay healthy during a disaster where they can end up living in shelter camps, like the flooding Malawi experienced earlier this year.
Despite the flooding, the programme is moving forward.
Many of the families that were affected by the floods are now returning to rebuild their homes, some of them with the help of Malawi Red Cross Society, and the children are returning to their schools. However, in Chikwawa, a district that was truly devastated by the flooding, families might end up having to build their home in another place.
“For some of the families in Chikwawa, it wouldn’t make sense to rebuild their home in the same place as before, because it’s so flood-prone. Therefore, we are helping them relocate,” says Kirstine Primdal.
The families will, however, receive the help necessary to relocate, and the hospital and orphanage will be finished to support the children and families, who will remain in Chikwawa.
Learn more about Red Cross' project to strengthen the resilience among the poorest people in Malawi.