Malawi, the “Warm Heart of Africa” and best known for its friendly people, is a small landlocked country in southeast Africa.
It is one of the world’s least developed and poorest countries, with an economy mostly based on agriculture. Two thirds of families are engaged in subsistence farming of small plots of local land, using hand tools to work the soil and harvest crops for their own consumption. Many years the land does not yield enough food for the family and food insecurity in many villages is high.
Poverty is prevalent and about 4 out of 5 families in Malawi live in substandard homes with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. A typical village hut is built of mud bricks with a dirt floor and grass thatched roof, which requires frequent repair. These conditions put the families at high risk of all kinds of diseases with leaky roofs making the house damp and mud floors attracting insects.
Like much of southern Africa, Malawi has been racked by the HIV/AIDS epidemic with an estimated 10% of the population living with the virus and access to good healthcare is limited. As a result, there are about 1.4 million orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi out of a population of 17.3 million.