Facts About Malawi

Malawi is known as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ due to the friendliness and hospitality of its people. It  is a beautiful  landlocked country in Sub Saharan Africa bordered by Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

  • It has a population of over  16 million.
  • Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and makes up about 20% of Malawi
  • Malawi became a Democracy in 1994 and now holds elections every four years.
  • It is one of the poorest countries in the world with over half of the population living on under $1 a day.
  • Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts).
  • Malawians still struggle with food insecurity. The chronic food crisis is a major cause of malnutrition and has increased the risk of diseases. The World Food Programme estimates that almost half of the children under age 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment.
  • Life expectancy according to the Global Health Observatory is 44 years for males and 51 years for females
  • Due to the high rate of deaths from HIV and AIDS related illness many households are headed by children or by grandparents. More than 550,000 children have lost one or both of their parents to HIV and AIDS.
  • Only 7% of the population has access to electrical services. This percentage is even lower in rural areas.
  • Only 2 percent of Malawians have access to piped water inside their dwelling.

Malawi fares far worse than other countries in Southern Africa on key measures of education quality and access:

  • Only nine percent of primary school students have reached a minimum level of mastery in reading in English
  • Only two percent of primary school students possess skills beyond basic numeracy.
  • Pupil: teacher ratio (PTR) of 80:1, one of the highest in the world
  • A pupil: classroom ratio of 100:1 on average
  • Fewer than 25 percent of eligible Malawian children remain in school by Standard 8 and complete primary school
  • Almost three-quarters of secondary school-age youth are not enrolled in secondary education
  • Only 36% of school age youth are enrolled in the lower two years of secondary school
  • Only 15% of school age youth are enrolled in the last two years of secondary school.

These poor outcomes are a result of economic constraints at the household level and a severe lack of pedagogical resources and education infrastructure. Southern Africa Consortium on Monitoring Education Quality, (World Bank: Malawi Country Brief, 2005-2010). There is also a serious shortage of classrooms, estimated at above 20,000, forcing many children to learn outside in the open.  All of these factors make it difficult for all children to receive the attention and assistance needed to achieve success. The impact is that a high number of learners fail the end of year exams then have to repeat, leading to these learners truanting and eventually dropping out of school.