We work in the Nkhata Bay North area of northern Malawi, one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest countries in the world. Nkhata Bay North is a very remote and mountainous region area on the edge of Lake Malawi, home to around 55,000 people. The region is extremely isolated and as a result, receives little government help from the government or other NGOs.
Some of the main problems facing communities are:
- a chronic shortage of food, often with periods of starvation
- high rates of HIV and AIDS
- limited access to basic education
- deforestation, which causes flooding and displacement
- only one hospital in the region, which lacks fundamental equipment, staff and medicine
- very few roads and limited access to transport
- limited employment opportunities
To address these problems we have learnt that a holistic, rather than narrow, approach is the most effective way to help the most vulnerable households improve their situation. This allows us to support communities to identify the root causes and interlinked nature of the challenges they face.
This is why we run programmes across several sectors, often simultaneously in the same village. We want to ensure that vulnerability in one area of a person’s life does not undermine their progress in another.