Child-Focused Community Development in Malawi, 10 July 2015

Feed the Children’s four-pillar approach to community development does more than provide food—it teaches and empowers children, parents, care providers, and their communities to reverse malnutrition and defeat hunger. The four pillars of our child-focused community development program are Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods.


● Using community-based childcare centers as a base, the VitaMeal food supplement is provided (Direct Beneficiaries = 64,000) and nutrition education via Care Groups is instilled. The focus is on households with children under the age of 5 and households of pregnant and lactating mothers who are trained through Care Groups on the prevention on malnutrition with behavior change in child feeding and caring, sanitation and hygiene, complementary food preparation, and community growth-monitoring promotion (DB = 11,000). To prevent stunting, these young children are monitored for growth (DB = 10,500). Further, cooking and serving-utensils kits are given to each household, and growth monitoring is conducted. Rehabilitation of malnourished children is offered when necessary (DB = 3,000). Vitamin A supplements and deworming medicines are also provided as a prevention practice (DB = 64,000).

● Clean-water supplies, using a point-of-use water-purification system, are provided to both community-based childcare centers and community households (DB = 5,000). The promotion of both the purification system (DB = 7,500) and water, sanitation, and hygiene (DB = 36,000) educates the community on healthier practices.

● Over 300 classrooms have been refurbished or built to provide a better learning environment (DB = 38,000). Alongside the school meals, beneficiaries take part in early-childhood development activities to prepare for schooling. HIV/AIDS education is provided to parents living with the disease in order to stay healthy and prevent infecting their children. Children also receive shoes to reduce missed school days through our partnership with TOMS.

● Village Savings and Loan Associations support the practice of saving money and loaning money to neighbors (DB = 39,000). Further, households are trained on improved agricultural practices to increase food production (DB = 1,500), and where feasible, small-scale irrigation systems are promoted. Improved planting materials—such as cassava cuttings, sweet potato vines, and fruit tree seedlings—are also offered to beneficiaries. Start-up capital is provided for legitimate income-generating activities.

● Government district staff are able to benefit from the program’s catchment-area geographic-information systems (GIS) database and mapping created by Feed the Children. This helps to improve planning and decision-making, as well as target new project interventions.

● Additionally, disaster relief and rehabilitation are offered when necessary. For example, Feed the Children assessed and responded to the January 2015 flooding in the Karonga District with food supplements and point-of-use water-purification systems.


The above reflects data from fiscal year 2014 for Feed the Children.

Cross-Cutting Issues

Nutrition, Gender, Children


  • Northern Region, Malawi

  • Central Region, Malawi

  • Malawi