Mainstreaming the concept of child friendly schools (CFS) and complementary basic education (CBE) led to the expansion of community based child care centres, from 10,000 to 11,000 between 2016 and 2017, providing 20,000 children with school meals. Furthermore performance based financing was utilized to improve the quality of education in schools and establish public Teacher Training Colleges that served more than 3,000 teachers, teacher students, and lecturers.
Positive trends in education were bolstered through strategic assistance to several initiatives such as the 500 public primary schools that received comprehensive CFS packages and the 2,500 teachers were trained. Child friendly infrastructure and resources helped benefit over 300,000 students and school staff, and also contributed to more than 13,200 teachers learning about the principles and practices of CFS. In 2013, the UNCT in Malawi reported that CFS had been successfully mainstreamed in the Malawi School Improvement Programme with five CFS components held up as the basis of quality education.
Improvement of water and sanitation services was regarded as a priority area under the social protection window. Early on in the Fund, stakeholders made improvements to water supplies for more than 600,000 people vis-à-vis water access points, 270,000 latrines in selected districts, WASH facilities in schools that catered to 140,000 students, and augmenting 1,900 villages’ status on ‘open defecation free’.
Employment and the private sector
Together with the Government of Malawi, stakeholders developed a National Export Strategy that launched in December 2012 and served as a road map for building the country’s resource base to generate sufficient exports to match the upward pressure on its imports. In 2013, under the leadership of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, a Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development Sector Wide Approach was established to implement the National Export Strategy.
As a follow up, the UN set up the Malawi Innovation Challenge and $8 million dollar Enterprise Challenge funds based on prioritized clusters of the National Export Strategy (sugar, oil, seeds and manufacturing) with the intent to boost the expansion and diversification of Malawi's productive base. By 2017, 250,100 people had experienced a net positive income through the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund, 900 low income and unskilled professionals found permanent employment, 25,000 smallholder households benefited from new or enhanced income generating, or livelihood improvement, and new products were entirely manufactured in Malawi (e.g. non-refrigerated margarine, specialty tea that is 100% smallholder led, and a UHT flavoured milk).
Social support and disaster risk management
Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (locally known as Mtukula Pakhomo) was expanded and reached 18 out of 28 districts. This impressive growth continued into 2015 to reach over 163,000 beneficiary households. With regards to disaster risk management, in 2017 fund stakeholders helped national partners to formulate the National Resilience Strategy and Operational Guidelines for Disaster Response for three cities and districts. Alongside these strategies, government efforts were supported in the development of a national climate change fund to coordinate and enhance stakeholder access to climate finance.
The training of health care workers in focus districts has helped to prevent mother-to-child transmission, improve adherence to ART guidelines, and contributed to increased ART coverage—increasing from 433 sites in 2011 to more than 650 two years late. The number of adults on ART rose from 391,003 to over 450,000 over the same period. Moreover, the introduction of rapid SMS technology at more than 300 sites contributed to increases in the number of HIV/AIDS exposed children starting ART.
Governance and gender equality
In 2016, fund stakeholders supported the national government in the elaboration of simplified versions of the Gender Equality Act and other gender-specific laws such as the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, the Deceased Estates, Wills and Inheritance Act, and the Marriage Divorce and Family Relations Act—all of which have been translated into Chichewa and Tumbuka for easy access by people living in rural areas. The dissemination of translated laws increased nation-wide awareness on gender related laws and prevention of GBV and, as a result, led to an increase in the number of GBV reported (50%).
Apart from legislation, the UN trained 1,659 women entrepreneurs in business development and management. Support was also provided to develop reporting guidelines on GBV that assisted in strengthening nationwide monitoring interventions and service provision for survivors. Police victim support units across the country received training on establishing and maintaining databases for GBV cases while184 paralegals were trained on the management of GBV cases, both of which translated into improved community.
The largest share of resources was channeled through the Humanitarian Window—due, to a large extent, a persistent and recurrent food crises that rocked the country from mid-2015 until the first quarter of 2017 and was caused by one of the worst floods in Malawi’s history. Through this Humanitarian Window, the UN in Malawi supported the government’s humanitarian response with multiple initiatives to meet the needs of people affected by acute food insecurity and flood/drought-related damage.
During the flood response, 11,296 metric tonnes of food supplies were delivered a to 368,182 people and another 437,504 benefitted from direct food distribution and taking part in cash transfer programmes. In addition, fund stakeholders provided 298,000 people in refugees camps with protection and health services, inclusive of emergency contraceptives and condoms, mobile clinics, maternity delivery shelters, safe spaces for women and young people, and cholera surveillance.