Geography and people

Malawi is a small landlocked country bordering Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania in southeast Africa. Its land area is less than half that of the UK. Malawi has a sub-tropical climate, with cooler temperatures in the mountains and the immense Lake Malawi to the east covering about 20% of the country. There are two seasons - a wet season from November to April and dry from May to October.

About 90% of Malawians work in agriculture, producing staple crops like maize (corn), cassava and beans for their families together with sugarcane, cotton, and tea. The country’s natural resources include limestone, hydropower, uranium, coal and bauxite.

Malawi’s three most prominent ethnic groups are the Chewa, the Lomwe and the Yao. English is the country’s official language, though Chichewa and others are spoken regionally.

The people of Malawi pride themselves on their friendliness—so much so that Malawi is called the “warm heart of Africa.”



Life expectancy

Life expectancy

Literacy rate

Literacy rate

Access to safe water

Access to safe water

Average annual income

Average annual income

Fast facts


Despite a recent surplus of maize, Malawians still struggle with food insecurity. The chronic food crisis is a major cause of malnutrition and has increased the risk of disease. The World Food Programme estimates that almost half of the children under age 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment: food and livelihoods security is critical.


Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world and over 62 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line.


The HIV prevalence rate is the world's 9th worst: over 1 million people in the country are living with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 770,000 children have lost one or both of their parents to the disease, and over 1.3 million children are orphans altogether.

Our focus in Malawi

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Malawi to improve their lives today and to help deliver sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families and communities. Our child sponsorship programme plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United Kingdom sponsoring over 1,901 girls and boys (as of April 2014) across one community project. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programmes that benefit communities in Malawi.

Highlights include:

Introducing community grain banks to ensure families have enough food.

Training traditional birth attendants to make health services more accessible.

Advocating for more HIV and AIDS voluntary counselling and testing centres.

Helping children receive a quality education.

Training communities to recognise disaster warnings and to reduce the impact of disasters on their livelihoods.

Our Achievements in Malawi

World Vision’s work in Malawi dates back to 1975 with support for the Lulwe School for the Blind. The national office was opened in 1982. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:


Improving school facilities in rural areas, building bridges to improve access to schools and hospitals and assisting Mozambican refugees fleeing from civil war during the 1980s.

Food security

Working to reduce high child mortality rates and distributing food to those affected by a severe drought in the 1990s.


Focusing efforts on nutrition, HIV and AIDS interventions, education and training from 2000.


Pray for our work in Malawi »