Special Appeal: Malawi Food Crisis

27 July 2016

Devastating floods then droughts have left Malawi facing one of its worst famines in recent times. More than four million will be hit by food insecurity in the coming months.

Devastating floods then droughts have left Malawi facing one of its worst famines in recent times. More than four million will be hit by food insecurity in the coming months.

Scotland stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in Malawi at this crucial time.

The Scottish Government has announced a package of humanitarian assistance to Malawi in response to the Government of Malawi’s July 2016 Food Insecurity Response Plan. The Scottish Government has firstly agreed a series of match funding arrangements with four Scotland Malawi Partnership members, to match fund public donations to the special appeals being run by each of them: Christian Aid Scotland, EMMS International, Oxfam Scotland and Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).

We urge all our members, partners and supporters to donate now.

The Scottish Government has additionally announced a further £220,000 award to another of our members, Mary’s Meals, through an extension donation to their existing schools feeding programme. The Scottish Government has supported Mary’s Meals annually since 2005, helping to provide over 42,000 nutritious hot meals for more than 73,000 school children to date. This £220,000 additional funding by the Government at this critical time will allow Mary’s Meals to extend its existing schools feeding programme, reaching almost 24,000 additional children in areas gripped by Malawi’s acute food crises.

Mary’s Meals has also launched an urgent call for support at this time, and similarly we urge all our members, partners and supporters to contribute what they can, and otherwise to raise awareness of the situation in Malawi.

We applaud this strong message of support and solidarity from the Scottish Government and encourage Scots to donate all they can to this most important cause. Every pound donated by Scots under the match funding agreements will be doubled by the Scottish Government: doubling our impact and doubling our reach. These funds will both help alleviate the immediate humanitarian crisis and help boost the longer-term resilience of communities in Malawi.

The situation in Malawi

Malawi is facing what could be its famine in recent history, having seen floods (in 2015) then droughts (in 2016) ravage the country: this is the result of a changing climate and a devastating El Niño effect. The Malawi Government declared a state of disaster on 12 April 2016, with maize production being reduced by 12per cent compared to last year at a time when production was already 25 per cent below the five-year average (Source: UNICEF).

The Government of Malawi will present their National Humanitarian Response Plan in the coming weeks, where they are expected to announce that from October a minimum of four million Malawians will require emergency food supplies every month, for which additional support and resource is urgently required.

For the latest updates, we recommend members use Relief Web which has regular situation reports from government and major NGOs. CLICK HERE for briefings.

Coordination of effort

The SMP chaired a meeting on July 5th to bring together our members working in Malawi on the humanitarian response to food insecurity, including UNICEF, Oxfam, EMMS, Mary’s Meals, Tearfund, Christian Aid and SCIAF. We are doing all we can to support the work of our members in this area and to encourage NGOs to work collaboratively together for a coordinated Scottish response.

We will continue to facilitate the coordination of effort, as is most useful. Please email david(at)scotland-malawipartnership.org to be involved in further meetings.

Advice for smaller members

Following requests from smaller members, we have met with DFID and asked for specific advice relevant to grass-root community-to-community partnerships: how best Scots can support partner communities without risking worsening the situation in surrounding areas. DFID Malawi’s Humanitarian Adviser will come back with more detailed advice shortly but, in the meantime, DFID advises our members do what they can to support their partners to increase local productivity of food production rather than stockpile reserves. This could be supporting local irrigation projects, planting on river banks, supporting local aquaculture projects - anything to help increase local means of production.

Government support

We wholeheartedly support this latest announcement from the Scottish Government, to match-fund donations to the public appeals of Oxfam Scotland, SCIAF, EMMS International and Christian Aid Scotland.

Last month we wrote to the First Minister and Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, the Minister of State for DFID, asking for an urgent increase in humanitarian assistance for Malawi. We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the Scottish Government’s Minister for international development, Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, and discuss this issue. Both governments were quick to respond to the SMP and both have now made tangible commitments to increased humanitarian support for Malawi.

CLICK HERE for details of DFID’s latest Malawi food security support.

Both the UK and the Scottish Government are doing a power of good supporting food security in Malawi in recent months. We applaud this important effort.

With the Scottish Government now matching donations on a pound-for-pound basis for four Scottish based charities, we encourage our members to mobilize communities across Scotland to donate whatever they can.

Supported by the Scottish Government

CA malawi food crisis closeup 550x550