Norwegian Church Aid in Malawi
- Presence established: 2001 (Also provided support in 1969-1973, 1976-1982, 1994-1997)
- Funds used in 2015: 54.7 million NOK
Norwegian Church Aid has worked in Malawi since 2001. Between 2011 and 2014, 1,427 students graduated from the nursing colleges supported by Norwegian Church Aid.
Our programme interventions empower our beneficiaries, especially women and youth, to claim their rights and build their capacities for socioeconomic change.
Thembisa Mughogo is 23 years old, and is currently enrolled in the combined nurse and midwife programme at Ekwendeni Nursing School in Malawi.
Our goal, through provision of quality reproductive healthcare, is to reduce maternal and child mortality and improve their health indicators, provide sexual reproductive health services among adolescents, and reduction of underage pregnancies. Through our partners, we provide integrated health services for our beneficiaries, which include e.g. antenatal care, HIV testing and counselling, screening and early treatment of cervical cancer, and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education to adolescents. Community dialogue sessions are part of the outreach and advocacy efforts, provided at health centres. These dialogues, involving community members, religious and traditional leaders, encourage men to be supportive of their pregnant wives, and care for the new-born babies. Our work with the Ministry of Health and Christian Health Association of Malawi has revealed critical need for health infrastructure. Therefore, we are building health facilities, especially maternity clinics, in remote areas, providing proper housing for the staff in a bid to retain qualified health staff in rural areas.
GBV is widespread in Malawi, fuelled by traditional harmful practices. Poverty and illiteracy render people vulnerable to human trafficking. Through our partners, we work closely with women, men, youth and religious leaders to raise their awareness to prevent GBV and promote a positive change in personal and institutional relations between genders. We train religious leaders to promote equal rights for all through theological teachings. Consequently, religious leaders stand against human trafficking and violence against people with albinism in campaigns, such as, "End It Now Campaign" by the women ministries of the Adventist church and the Malawi Network Against Trafficking “16 days of Activism against Gender Violence”. We lobby for the implementation of relevant laws to end GBV, and we were instrumental in passing of the Trafficking in Persons Act. We work closely with CSOs, police, judiciary and social services in order to identify and prosecute perpetrators of GBV and trafficking, and offer rehabilitation and reintegration services for the survivors.
Our goal is to address environmental challenges related to extractive industries, lack of transparency between investors and the government, and inadequate local participation in decision processes. With our partners, particularly Natural Resource Justice Network (NRJN), we advocate for and engage in dialogues to safeguard equitable distribution of wealth, revise poor taxation policies, and counter tax evasion and corruption that greatly affect revenue collection from the mining sector. We also promote proactive role of the right-holders to hold government and investors accountable and secure improvements in policies and legal frameworks governing the extractive industries. With NRJN, we have achieved milestones with respect to two of our important advocacy agendas, i.e. passing of the “Right to Information Law” and Malawi’s possible imminent entry into the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). We advocate for allocation of funds to communities directly affected by the mining activities and provide legal support against land grabbing. We help set up mining stakeholder structures on the local and district levels to support community initiatives under Corporate Social Responsibility.
In recent years, Malawi has been exposed to recurrent emergencies caused by natural disasters in form of flooding and drought. We prioritise WASH in our emergency response. We are a part of Malawi ACT forum, and we provide specialized capacity building within WASH. Together with ACT partners, we have recently extended our emergency response to refugees, initially those from Mozambique, but with a consideration of working closely with UNHCR on resettlement of old refugee caseloads from a number of other African countries. We work with the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) to improve our emergency response and early warning systems.
We have focused on 10 districts out of the 28 districts of Malawi in our strategic plan 2016 – 2020.
In the Southern Region with highest poverty rates and population density, we focus on five districts: Balaka, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mwanza and Phalombe.
In the Northern Region, we implement projects in two districts, Mzimba and Karonga.
In the Central region, with relatively low poverty but high deprivations reported in rural areas, we work in three districts in the region: Lilongwe, Mchinji, and Ntchisi.
Our presence in Malawi dates back to 2002 and we work with a broad spectrum of civil society and faith-based partners, with significant constituencies in the country. We also work closely with government ministries and authorities on different levels, relevant to our programmes.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring lasting change. We implement our programmes together with Malawian partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with local government structures. This is in line with our overall goal of contributing to sustainable development for Malawi and its people. Our partners have demonstrated a community-centred approach, rich experience and deep knowledge of the local context.
In many countries in Africa, private actors are responsible for much of the health care. Our local partner organisation in Malawi, Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM), is responsible for 37% of health care in the country. Most importantly, this organisation also educates about 80% of all health personnel in the country. Norwegian Church Aid has, in collaboration with CHAM's nursing schools and six nursing schools in Norway, worked to double the number of trained nurses in Malawi. We have also worked to improve the quality of education. This programme is now in its second phase, and the results are promising.