Overview: In Malawi, malnutrition contributes to an estimated 23% of the more than 40,000 deaths of children under-five each year. Malawi also has a high stunting prevalence among children under-five years, estimated at 37%. Drought and hunger have worsened the nutritional status of children in the country. In January 2015 Malawi experienced the worst flooding in recent history. This was followed by wide spread prolonged dry spells, not only in the disaster-prone districts in the south, but also in the traditional food surplus areas of the central and northern regions. The most immediate consequence of drought is a fall in crop production. For the first time in 10 years, the country has experienced a maize deficit, with production falling by 30%.

Children and women are considered the most vulnerable group to food insecurity. As the food insecurity increased, women and children have become more exposed to malnutrition and infections. UNICEF is supporting the Malawi Government in implementing a nutrition program funded by the Government of Japan. The Program focuses on strengthening community mobilization for early detection of malnutrition, provision of outpatient therapeutic care as well as inpatient care to severely malnourished children with medical complications and strengthening new born care at the community level.

The Goal: Our objective was to show how funding from the Government of Japan was impacting Malawi. We would do this by telling the story of a beneficiary who was recovering from malnutrition. To tell her story, we would interview her mother, father and a healthcare worker.  

The Story: Maness Hastings, two years old, was taken to the local government health clinic after her parents noticed her body start to swell. It was discovered that she was suffering from edema, which results in swelling of the skin and is a sign of malnourishment. After learning about nutrition, Maness' parents now feed her a balanced diet from the six food groups and are increasing her body weight with the assistance of Plumpy’Nut.

About the Client: UNICEF is a leading humanitarian and development agency working globally for the rights of every child. Child rights begin with safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflict and traverse the life cycle: pre-natal care for healthy births, clean water and sanitation, health care and education.

Location: Malawi
Client: UNICEF