Food Security

UK time 11:00 – 12:00 Malawi time 12:00 – 13:00
Location Online

On 24 March 2024, Malawi’s President Chakwera declared a state of disaster in 23 of the country's 28 districts severely affected by the climate emergency-induced drought and devastating flooding "to allow humanitarian support to flow in and to contain the situation.” DoDMA Press release

A month before, the Scottish Government’s international development fund provided £500,000 to help address the food crisis in Malawi. These funds were provided to Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) and Christian Aid to assist with the distribution of cash handouts to affected households to help them buy what they need and support the local economy.

At this meeting we heard from these organisations and their implementing partners in Malawi, CADECOM – Caritas Malawi and Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) who are working to address the food security situation in Malawi.

Food Security
Summary of the meeting:

Val Brown, Head of Scotland, Christian Aid gave a brief overview of Christian Aid’s work in over 30 countries working with, and through local partners in seeking to address underlying structural causes of poverty. They have engaged in many advocacy campaigns, including over the past 15 years those focused on Climate Justice, with partners from around the world saying that this needs to be the priority. Much of the erratic weather witnessed today goes beyond adaptation which is why we are today talking about loss and damage and the support people need when they face multiple vulnerabilities.

In introducing the intervention of CARD (Churches Action in Relief and Development), Chipo Kachiwala, Programme Development and Funding Manager, Christian Aid spoke of the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Freddy which had damaged 440k acres of farmland, displaced 600k people and affected over 2m smallholder farmers. The impact of El Niño in districts such as Mwanza caused a reduction in the harvest of over 35%. The devaluation of the Malawian Kwacha last year resulted in a rise in the cost of food and other daily essentials. Even the one meal a day of indigenous crops normally relied upon during the ‘lean season’ by many had been compromised and was scarce. The intervention of the Scottish Government was characterised by Chipo and several of the speakers as timely.

Melton Luhanga, Executive Director, CARD related that they moved quickly in Mwanza to make best use of the £250k from the Scottish Government. They targeted female-led households (70% of those supported) and the districts who receive least donor support. The meeting saw a video of beneficiaries signing to acknowledge receipt of the financial support and heard of the due diligence and assessment measures that had been implemented. Over 3,000 vulnerable households in three Traditional Authorities (TAs) had been supported.

Jonathan Dames, SCIAF’s Emergencies Officer explained that partners in Malawi were consulted as to the most meaningful form of response to the food insecurity crisis and recommended a rapid cash injection. Within a week, SCIAF was working with local implementing partner CADECOM to do so. Richard Kusseni, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Officer, CADECOM/CARITAS Malawi gave an overview of CADECOM’s work in the past year, their having built the capacity of over 500 village groups (including 67% women) and provided food and assistance to 8k households. In the food insecurity response KW100k (£46) had been provided to over 4,500 households in just three weeks which would help households through a period of 4-5 weeks. Demand, however, Richard emphasised remains huge. Flooding in some parts of Malawi has worsened the situation and the cost of maize has increased. Stunting has been recorded at around 42% and SCIAF has launched an appeal.

SCIAF’S Malawi Officer, Chris MacLullich in his recent return to Malawi witnessed the completely unpredictable nature of the weather in a nation predominantly reliant on rain-fed agriculture. Chris spoke of lack of equitability and the challenge of the costs of solutions. There are some communal solar resources which can extend the growing season. Alex Gerard described Tiyeni’s deep-bed farming method and there was interest in this in the meeting.

SMP CEO, Stuart Brown committed to a follow-up event in the next 6 months and offered that the SMP would amplify CADECOM’s appeal and make available any resources that any members and their partners would like to share. The SMP’s Chad Morse, who led the design and chairing of the event thanked all speakers and participants, noted that a video of the meeting, chat log and links would be made available, and drew the meeting to a close.

Bio's of presenting organisations

SCIAF - Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund

SCIAF work in partnership with local civil and church organisations, supporting communities across the world to bring about lasting change. We put pressure on governments to care for the planet and create a fairer, more peaceful world.

Card Malawi

Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) is a local non-governmental organization that aims to consolidate more of its resources in the areas where it has more capacity and experience. It is for this reason that CARD aims to build a more robust network and collaboration strategy to work with organizations that can support its efforts.

Christian Aid - UK charity fighting global poverty

Christian Aid works with local partners and communities to fight injustice, respond to humanitarian emergencies, campaign for change, and help people claim the services and rights they are entitled to.

CADECOM - Caritas Malawi

CADECOM is under the Social Development Directorate which works in accordance with the Catholic Social Teaching, especially targeting the marginalised, excluded and poor households and communities of Malawi. The Social Development Directorate was then officially established at the Catholic Secretariat on 1st September 2015. Although the Social Development Directorate is an arm of the Catholic Church in Malawi, it works with people of all religions; its work and targeting procedure is determined by levels of vulnerability.


Agenda for the meeting available here.

Chat Log available here.

Food Crisis Malawi - CARITAS presentation.

Christian Aid's Response to the Food Crisis in Mwanza - Lean Season Response.

Malawi farmers learn food diversification to curb hunger - VOA news.

Malawi: El Niño Situation Report - Published 1st May 2024


Missed this meeting? You can find the recording on this page with the below time stamps


00:00 Welcome remarks - Natasha Maluza, SMP Comms & Engagement Officer
02:33 MaSP Welcome - Linda Dembo, Malawi Scotland Partnership Interim CEO
04:10 Context and opening comments - Chad Morse, SMP Deputy CEO
06:37 Christian Aid's response to the food crisis in Mwanza - Val Brown, Head of Scotland
08:45 Christian Aid's response to the food crisis in Mwanza - Chipo Kachiwala, Program
Development and Funding Manager
14:22 Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) - Melton Luhanga - Executive Director
26:51 Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) - Jonathan Dames – Emergencies
30:37 CADECOM/CARITAS Malawi - Richard Kusseni – Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Officer
40:36 Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) - Chris MacLullich, Malawi Programme Officer
43:23 Members’ comments, questions and contributions
58:38 Closing remarks - Stuart Brown, SMP CEO