A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
USAID/Helen Ho

Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to disasters in Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

The majority of households in Malawi were experiencing Minimal—IPC 1—levels of food insecurity as of September, although some vulnerable populations in southern parts of the country were facing Stressed—IPC 2—levels of food insecurity, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Food security improved significantly following mid-2017 harvests, and the 2017/2018 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee estimated that approximately 837,000 people will likely require food assistance in southern Malawi between December 2017 and March 2018, an 87 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2016/2017. Some areas may experience Stressed or Crisis—IPC 3—levels of food insecurity between October 2017 and January 2018 due to reduced household incomes, the continued effects of consecutive poor agricultural seasons, and crop damage related to fall armyworm.

In FY 2017, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $500,000 to Concern Worldwide to improve food security and bolster agricultural livelihoods for approximately 42,000 people in Balaka and Machinga districts.

With USAID/OFDA support, Project Concern International (PCI) distributed more than 22,800 crop storage bags—sufficient to support more than 7,500 beneficiaries—in Balaka and Machinga districts. In addition, in collaboration with the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative—Feed the Future—PCI trained 225 households across 45 communities on the use of crop storage bags, enabling the households to teach and implement effective use of the equipment in their own communities.

USAID/OFDA provided a total of more than $3.5 million in FY 2017 to four partner organizations to support agriculture and food security, economic recovery and market systems, and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions in Malawi.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Malawi experiences a variety of natural disasters, including cyclones, cylical drought, earthquakes, flooding, and severe storms. In addition, vulnerable populations experience recurring food insecurity. USAID/OFDA’s strategy in Malawi includes responding to urgent humanitarian needs while also supporting disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives which strengthen the resilience of communities. USAID/OFDA DRR programs include activities that promote conservation agriculture, the use of flood- and drought-tolerant seeds, and train local and national authorities in disaster response management.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: October 20, 2017

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