Over the past few weeks, Temwa staff have been visiting the communities we work with in Nkhata Bay North, to find huge numbers of people are facing the worse hunger season in years.

Every year at this time of year, families experience what is known as the ‘hunger season’ when food stocks are low before the harvest is ready. This year, however, it is hitting people much harder than in recent years. This is due to a very difficult rainy season in 2014/15. The start of the rains were delayed by over a month, followed by heavy rains in January. This resulted in widespread floods that washed many crops away. The weather patterns continued to be abnormal when February and March saw long periods of dry spells and the rainy season ended prematurely. This had a huge impact on the crops in Malawi and many people have seen extremely low yields which have not been enough to see them through the year.

We have seen some of the most shocking and distressing situations known during Temwa’s time in operation. Read Maria and Tovia’s story below:

Maria and Tovia are two young women from Usisya, the village right at the heart of Temwa operations on the lakeshore. 19 and 18 years old respectively, these two friends are both teen mothers; maria lives with her husband and his family of six and Tovia lives with her mother and siblings.

Both these young women have been severely hit by the growing food crisis in Malawi. Every year around January, the hunger season starts when communities are waiting for the harvests that will come in March. But this year it is much worse than usual.

Maria and Tovia have not been eating properly this season; if they’re lucky they eat one meal a day but often they have nothing. And even when can find enough food, there is little variety and it is not filling or nutritious enough. In the past seven days, Tovia has eaten cassava every other day and the occasional green leaves but has had no proteins, legumes, fruits or fats.

There is not much they can do to tackle this lack of food – there is no piece work, no food relief, no wild food to eat. Their only choice is to miss meals and reduce the amount they eat. Evidence indicates that in situations like this many young girls turn to offering sexual favours to older men in the community in return for money, gifts and food.

It’s a frightening situation to be in, especially when Maria and Tovia both have babies to look after as well as having to help look after the rest of their family. If this situation continues, these young women fear that their children are at risk of malnutrition and in the worst case scenario, death.

There is no doubt that these communities are going to suffer terribly over the coming months unless relief comes. The government is not providing the assistance needed which means at the moment foreign emergency aid is the only thing that can help.

We implore you, our supporters, to do all you can to raise awareness of what is happening in Malawi. At Temwa, we can’t provide emergency relief but we can call on others to do so. Please join us in doing so. And we will continue pushing to receive emergency aid from those organisations who can arrange this. Look out for our report on the website  in the next few days.

Unless there is immediate emergency relief aid to this region, the coming months will see avoidable cases of malnutrition and death, destruction of peoples’ livelihoods, hope and future aspirations.


A young mother and her malnourished babyA young mother with her malnourished baby and siblings

A lady shows us her last sack of maize until harvest time. But even now it is rotting A lady shows us her empty grain store and her last bag of maize which has now started to rot

An empty grain store - just a few rotten cobs lefts A family’s empty grain store – nothing left apart from a few eaten corn cobs

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