Why Malawi?

MTF’s founder, Michael Moora has been executing infrastructure projects in Central Malawi through Engineers Without Borders – USA since 2007. His exposure to village communities and residents in the course of developing these projects fostered an interest in providing assistance (thandizo) aimed at grass roots initiatives for sustainable Malawi growth , specifically for higher educational opportunities for Malawi students.

Malawi Background

Malawi is a landlocked country in SE Africa, with a population of slightly less than 16 million[1], and is one of the world’s poorest countries,

  • Gross Per Capita Income, US$/year: 320 [1]
  • Population Below International Poverty Line of US$ 1.25/day, 2007 – 2011: 6% [1]
  • 143rd export ranking, 154th import ranking

Its economy is predominately agricultural

  • 85% of the population lives outside of urban areas1
  • Maize is the dietary staple of the rural population; frequently at risk of drought, flood and crop disease
  • Highest volume exports are agricultural – tobacco, tea, nuts & legumes [2]

[1] UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2016
[2] Observatory of Economic Complexity

Sustaining Improvements

Improving the quality of life and creating sustainable wealth-building opportunity for  Malawians will not be easy, but it begins with education. The country has a very significant need for a well-educated, technical workforce  capable of fostering a tech economy and reducing the long-standing dependency on agriculture.

What is truly heartbreaking about Malawi’s educational picture is that despite the impressive level of attendance in primary school (~85% of eligible students attend), attendance plummets at the secondary level, and thereafter less than 1% of Malawi’s youth are able to attend post-secondary university or technical training programs. This is a fact of life for too many of Malawi’s best and brightest students: tied not only to widespread poverty, a lack of government funding of secondary and tertiary education, but also to seasonal pressures to supplement household food supplies, by working in the fields.

Warm Heart of Africa

Malawi is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, in recognition of the friendly and gentle nature of its citizens, which is often shocking to visitors, when considering the challenges most Malawians face in everyday life.

Over half the population lives below the accepted UNESCO poverty level ($ 1.25/day), making Malawians some of the least affluent world-wide. Energy resources are under-developed, meaning that most households rely on wood or charcoal for fuel. Nearly every year brings punishing flood & drought cycles; tropical diseases such as Malaria are common; HIV has had a devastating impact (just under 9% of 15-49 year old population were HIV positive in 2015); potable-quality water is far from universal (in 2015 approximately 25% of rural residents had access to treated water); and fertility data indicate a population growth rate which is one of the world’s highest.

Recent Progress

Malawi’s basic indicators are improving, but challenges persist,

  • Under 5 yr. mortality rate [3], 1990: 244 per thousand
  • Under 5 yr. mortality rate, 2012: 71 per thousand
  • Life expectancy at birth, 2012: 54.8 years
  • Adult literacy rate, 2008-2011: 61.3%

Africa’s socio-economic progress has helped to grow a vibrant middle class, and propel technological advancement at a rapid pace [4]

  • Africa is also the world’s most youthful continent. Today, nearly 50 percent of Africans are under age 15
  • Malawi’s young people are future leaders, and will be the driving force behind sustainable growth

[3] Probability of dying between birth and exactly five years of age expressed per 1,000 live births.
[4] Africa-America Insitute, ‘State of Education in Africa Report 2015’

Malawi’s Future

Full of tremendous promise, Malawi and the African continent are emerging from decades of stagnation, and the continent is home to 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies. Significant strides in healthcare, health education and immunization programs have yielded increased life expectancy, decreased infant mortality, and a decline in incidence of disease. The next stage, involving developing a high tech economy and building an educated and skilled workforce involves essential investment in education and training. Innovation and manageable/sustainable growth are the goal.

Please consider making an investment to this worthy cause, making a donation to MTF.

Where is Malawi