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Long-term development assistance
Malawi is a small land-locked country of approximately 15 million people in Southern Africa. It is one of the world's poorest countries, and ranks 170 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. Three out of four Malawians live on less than US$1.25/day. Almost half of the population— 46 percent—is under 15 years old.
Most Malawians are subsistence farmers, with women producing 75 percent of the nation's food supply. Agricultural productivity in Malawi is low. In 2010, maternal mortality stood at 675 per 100,000 births and 47 percent of under-five children suffered from stunting.
Although the country experienced high economic growth between 2004 and 2010, it remains vulnerable to external economic shocks such as reduced global demand for its primary exports—tobacco, tea and sugar.
Progress toward the Millennium Development Goals in Malawi is uneven. The country has exceeded its water and sanitation targets and has made significant strides in strengthening food security nationally. It is on track to achieving the targets for reducing infant and child mortality and combatting HIV/AIDS.
Challenges remain, however, in achieving the goals for poverty reduction, maternal health, universal primary education and gender equality. Only 55 percent of children who enter Grade 1 actually complete the full eight years of primary school. Some 22 percent of primary school-aged girls do not attend school, while 60 percent of those enrolled do not attend regularly.
Canada's international development program in Malawi is closely aligned with the goals of the Government of Malawi's Growth and Development strategy II for 2011-2016. Its main objectives are to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The goal of Canada's international development program in Malawi is to help the country secure a future for children and youth by reducing the primary school dropout rate and improving the nutritional status of young children and pregnant/nursing women.
Canada supports efforts to improve the quality of basic education to reduce dropout rates. With support from Canada to the Malawi's Ministry of Education is strengthening primary school teacher training and ensuring that new teachers have the skills to help girls stay in school. Canada is also supporting efforts to help increase the Ministry of Education's capacity to manage and monitor the national education sector plan, including strengthening government systems that handle the purchase of education materials such as textbooks.
Canada also provides support to reduce malnutrition in young children and pregnant/nursing women. Canada continues to help Malawi train health workers and educate parents and community leaders about appropriate feeding practices. Canada supports the Government of Malawi's community-based therapeutic care program, which treats acute malnutrition of children and mothers at the community level. This outreach includes support to provide locally produced ready-to-use therapeutic foods to those suffering from malnutrition.
Malawi adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Donor harmonization and alignment is steadily improving. The Government of Malawi encourages all donors to work with its priorities and monitors aid flows. Program-based approaches are used in the health, HIV/AIDS, education, and water sectors.
Canada participates in the annual Joint Education Sector Review process and also participates in donor-government working groups related to education and nutrition.
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