Karonga Drought Appeal, Malawi - AFMW71

Appeal Target : US$ 80,671
Dear Friends,

Malawi, a small landlocked country in the Southern African region, is ranked among the bottom ten countries worldwide in terms of per capita income.

Karonga district in the north of Malawi is fairly fertile, but due to its dependence on the rains, it is largely monocropped. While the 1996/97 rains commenced well, subsequent dry periods severely affected crop growth. With the failure of the staple food crops, such as rice and maize as well as cotton, a cash crop, the northern region and especially Karonga district face a critical food situation.

To ameliorate the suffering, Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) - a member of the ACT Network - proposes to undertake through local churches a food distribution programme for 33,000 people in Kyungu area.

We also bring to your attention that the Shire Valley in southern Malawi was devastated by a major flood earlier this year for which a separate appeal is under preparation. At this time, we seek your support for the drought victims in Karonga.

Details of the programme follow.

We thank you in advance for your support.

Rev. Myra Blyth
LWF/World Service

Miriam Lutz
ACT Coordinator

Rev.Rudolf Hinz
Director WCC/Unit IV

Ecumenical Centre, 150 route de Ferney , P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland Phone: ++41 22 791 6033 Fax: ++41 22 791 6506 E-mail: Telex: 415 730 OIK CH

ACT/Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD)


Karonga district in the northern region of Malawi, is fairly fertile where crops such as rice, bananas, maize, cotton, cassava and groundnuts generally perform very well. Common livestock kept by the people include goats and cattle.

Rice and maize are the main staple crops but due to their dependence on rains they are largely monocropped. In some limited areas rice is irrigated.

Apart from agriculture, on which a majority of the people depend for their livelihood, some people are also occupied through petty trade, fishing and other skills.

While adequate rains in November ensured good germination, the subsequent dry periods adversely affected crop growth. Maize crop stands grew up to the tasseling stage, but the heat that followed scorched the tassels before pollination could start.

In the case of rice, nurseries were prepared soon after the first rains. However, due to continuous dry conditions, preparation of rice paddies and transplanting could not be done. There was a long break of rains between February 1997 and mid-April 1997. When the rains did resume, most of the rice seedlings were either fully overgrown or scorched by the intense heat.

With the failure of both staple food (maize and rice) and cash crops (cotton), the Northern region and especially Karonga, face a critical famine-like situation.

CARD was established in November 1995 as a relief and development department of the Christian Council of Malawi. Since then it has been involved in several relief and rehabilitation programmes which include:

- Assistance to refugees from 1988 to 1995
- Drought relief programmes in 1992/93 and 1994/95
- Flood relief programme in 1989/90 and the current 1996/97 one
- Rehabilitation programme in the areas which sheltered Mozambican refugees and in drought affected areas.

The Karonga Rural Development Project is subdivided into 4 Extension Planning Areas (EPA), of which three areas have been seriously affected by the drought.


Number and Type of Beneficiaries Targeted: of the 143,000 people requiring food assistance ACT/CARD will target 33,000 people in Kyungu EPA. The Government and other agencies will cater for the rest of the affected communities in Karonga. Registration will be undertaken by the Government with the support of the churches, following which rations cards, like those used by WFP, will be issued to the beneficiaries before distribution is carried out.

Priority will be given only to people with no other means of feeding themselves. Sole dependency on farming has been recognized as a weakness which may dispose some families to actual starvation. Hence families solely dependent on farming have been targeted for assistance. People involved in trades, handicrafts, fishing, etc. have the capacity to acquire some food and hence will not be considered.

Stated Needs: funds are required for purchase of 300 MT of maize from the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation which has subsidiary depots throughout the country, hiring a warehouse in Karonga as well as to meet transport and adminstration costs.

Project Implementation and Management: ACT/CARD will work through the Livingstone Synod*s Development Department, which will be responsible for distribution of the maize. The department*s coordinator will collaborate with ACT/CARD on each activity of the project. A temporary stores clerk will be employed for receiving and dispatching the maize and will be answerable to the coordinator. Local CARD member churches will organize committees at the community level to identify volunteers to do the actual distribution. The committees will also oversee the distribution of the food in cooperation with the coordinator. Communities will participate on a voluntary basis by providing security at distribution points and free labour for offloading. The project will be implemented within three months of commencement.

In turn, ACT/CARD will procure the maize, conduct training of Synod volunteers and community leaders on operational skills for distribution as well as, be responsible for monitoring and supervision of project activities to ensure that activities are carried out according to plan.

Work through the local churches will provide ACT/CARD the opportunity to build the capacity of local churches which will be facilitated through training. To help people cope with their immediate food needs, beneficiaries will receive 9 kgs. of maize each through a one-time distribution. As this is not enough to help the people through, till the next harvest, it is possible that other organizations and the government may also provide some food assistance in the near future. In that event, the same mechanisms and structures set up for this appeal will also be used for distribution of the additional food.

Evaluation and Reporting: evaluation will be carried out in conjunction with the Synod*s Development Department soon after the programme is completed. The evaluation will measure the impact of the project in relation to its objectives. Reporting will be done as per ACT Reporting Guidelines.

Coordination: in Karonga a committee comprising local churches has been set up, which is responsible for coordination with the Government as well as for implementation of the programme. ACT/CARD will be responsible for the overall coordination of the programme.


Maize distribution
Administration (10%)
Grand Total

Rate used is MK 15.2 for 1 USD.


a) Purchase of 300 MT relief maize
at MK 2.780/MT
b) Transportation and Warehousing
- Transp. of 300 MT of maize
at MK 2/km/MT through 350 kms
- Handling at MK 250/7 MT
- Warehousing
- Staff transport
- Expense coverage for volunteers
329 at MK 15/person/day
c) Administration
111,472 7,334

TOTAL: 1,226,186 80,671

Implementing Partner: ACT/CARD Please kindly send your contributions to the ACT bank account.

For further information, please contact:
ACT Co-ordinator, Miriam Lutz (phone 41 22 791 6032 or mobile phone 41 89 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Neville Pradhan (phone 41 22 791 6035)
Co-ordinating Office


Appeal Number: AFMW71

Appeal Name: Karonga Drought Appeal, Malawi

Date Issued: 28 April 1997

Project Completion Date: 31 July 1997

Project Description:

A severe drought in Karonga district destroyed both the staple food and cash crops. With the failure of the food crops, around 143,000 people face a famine like situation. CARD, together with the local churches, proposes to undertake food distribution to assist 33,000 people in Kayungu.

Implementing Activity Appeal Target
Partner Description (USD)

ACT/CARD Maize distribution 73,337 Administration 7,334


ACT - Action by Churches Together
Account Number: 102539/0.01.61
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Gen_ve 3

Action by Churches Together (ACT) is a worldwide network of Churches and their related agencies meeting human needs through a co-ordinated emergency response and a common identity. The ACT network is organizationally based within the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) and is a co-ordinating rather than an operational office.

Ecumenical Centre, 150 route de Ferney , P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland Phone: 41 22 791 6033 Fax:41 22 791 6506 E-mail: Telex: 415 730 OIK CH