External End of Programme Review and Appraisal of the Harmonisation for Enhanced Livelihoods (HEAL) Programme

Agriculture remains the main source of growth and exports in Malawi. With 85 per cent of the population residing in rural areas, the sector accounts for over 80 per cent of the country’s employment, over one-third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and about 80 per cent of merchandise exports. Women constitute 70 per cent of the agricultural labour force and produce 80 per cent of household food consumption. Still, they have poorer access to inputs and extension services than men. Over 70 per cent of all farmers in the country cultivate less than 1 hectare and a significant number of these farmers struggle to produce enough food to meet their annual consumption requirements. The last large-scale food emergency occurred in 2005. Since then, the Government of Malawi, with donor support, has implemented a farm input subsidy programme which provides subsidised fertilizer and certified seed to around 1.5 million smallholders every year. Since the programme’s introduction Malawi has achieved national surplus maize production every year, although less focus has been devoted to interventions that can reduce vulnerability more sustainably and over the longer term (improvement of soils, crop diversification and the introduction of climate adaptation technology).

The Norwegian Embassy in Malawi has supported three civil society programmes working for improved livelihoods in rural areas for a number of years. The partner organisations’ interventions have centred on community organisation, natural resource management and farming technologies designed to enhance productivity while limiting the negative impact of extreme weather and climate change. The partner organisations currently implementing such livelihood activities and intending to join together in the new programme are:

Leadership for Environment and Development Southern and Eastern Africa (LEAD-SEA): LEAD is an international NGO whose regional office for Southern and Eastern Africa is based at and affiliated with Chancellor College, University of Malawi. The Embassy has supported the Lake Chilwa Climate Change Programme since 2009. The programme is being implemented by LEAD, in collaboration with World Fish Centre, the Forestry Department and the National Herbariums and Botanical Gardens of Malawi. The aim is to improve the livelihoods of the lakeside communities by sustainably managing the natural resource base and reduce deforestation, soil erosion and the silting up of the lake in order to improve farming and fishing productivity.

Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC): SCC has been implementing the Malawi Lake Basin Programme in the districts of Salima and Mangochi with the support of the Embassy since 2006. The first phase of the programme ran from 2006 through 2008 while the second phase started in 2009 and was due to finish in 2013. The programme is being implemented through a consortium of Swedish and Malawian NGOs, namely National Association of Smallholder Farmers Malawi (NASFAM), the Farmers’ Union of Malawi (FUM), Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) and Vi Agroforestry, in addition to SCC itself. The programme focuses on local community organisation and information access, climate adaptation technologies to improve agricultural productivity, forest management technologies and agribusiness development.

Total Land Care (TLC): TLC is a Malawi registered NGO specialising in sustainable land and water management to maximise agricultural productivity while ensuring the protection and rehabilitation of forests and woodlots. The Embassy has funded TLC since 2007, first through the Chia Lagoon Watershed Management Project (2007-2008) and then through Management for Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) since 2008. MACC is being implemented in the districts of Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Dowa, Ntchisi and Salima.

In April 2010, the Embassy through Norad signed a Strategic Partnership agreement with the Development Fund of Norway (DF). The purpose of the Strategic Partnership is to improve the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation in Malawi, strengthen civil society and build the capacity of farmers. Through the Strategic Partnership, DF has led a process through which the selected Embassy’s livelihoods partners presented above have formulated a joint livelihoods programme. The main goal is to improve the socio-economic status of the targeted rural communities and to achieve greater impact by working together. The proposed programme aims to improve livelihoods by:

  1. increasing the resilience of rural communities to the impacts of climate change;
  2. increasing agricultural productivity;
  3. improving farm business management;
  4. improving the policy environment; and
  5. increasing women’s and youth participation.

ORGUT carried out a) end review of the three current programmes and b) appraisal of the proposed Harmonisation for Enhanced Livelihoods (HEAL) Programme. Where necessary it is expected that the team provides substantiated advice on changes to the new programme.