Girls house

Poverty in Malawi

Malawi is known as the “warm heart of Africa” due to the welcoming and affectionate disposition of the people yet rural areas are devastated by poverty and the economy at large rates as joint 204th in the World Bank ranking from a list of 210 World Bank Atlas economies.


This ranking measures the gross national income in dollars, the UK is rated at 18th.

Trade v aid

The Republic of Malawi, previously a British colony, was formed in 1964. It is a land locked country located in south east Africa, bordered by Mozambique to the east, south and west, Tanzania to the north-east and Zambia to the north-west.

Malawi covers an area of 118 000 km2, which is half the size of the UK. With its population estimated at 16.4 million as at 2013, its economic narrative is rather bleak. The country’s inequality trend is disquieting as approximately 10.8 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.( )

The capital, Lilongwe in the central region is amongst the most densely populated areas, however majority of the population reside in the rural areas where poverty is rife. The extents to which these areas are riddled with poverty and deprivation in the 21st century are astonishing. The Kuntamanji County (T.A Kuntumanji – located in the Zomba district) is one of such areas.

Poverty in Zomba District – Kuntumanji

The Zomba district is one of the poorest Districts in Malawi. Poverty is widespread here, with 70% of its population falling below the national poverty line.
The impoverished 70% of Zomba’s population are without access to education, healthcare, housing and food.

Based on a situation analysis in June 2009 Shine Relief Trust UK determined Kuntumanji County as being the most disadvantaged area within the district – with children facing the most neglect. After further determining the absence of any NGOs in Kuntumanji, Shine Relief Trust’s call to action in the area was established to aid in poverty alleviation.

When compared to the Southern Districts of Malawi, the system of regular income is considerably underdeveloped in Zomba. People mainly rely on unpaid work, beckoning the question of people’s survival in these areas. With subsistence farming being the major income generator, people face great income insecurity due to the inconsistent nature of the trade. Meaning only 6% of the total population have a regular source of monetary income and a further 9 out of every 10 people have no regular income.

Poverty P1000095in Zomba District is severe. 41 % of its population fall below the national ultra poverty line – hence making its case for poverty considerably worse than the national average.

to watch a short clip of the life of a 10 year old click here