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Malawi

Malawi, nicknamed ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’, is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is, by any measure, a stunning place: a land of rolling hills and high plateaus split down the middle by the Great Rift Valley, a geographical trench that starts its journey nearly 4,000 miles away in Lebanon. Lake Malawi, the 4th largest freshwater lake in the world, takes up about one-third of the country’s area and supports an incredible range of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife - from 100s of endemic fish species, Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus and, of course, local people. 


In the 10th century, the region now called Malawi was populated as part of the Bantu expansion. Most of the Bantu continued south, but some settled and by 1500AD had founded the Kingdom of Maravi - although this empire started to disintegrate into smaller ethnic groups after the arrival of the Portuguese. 


The British arrived in the late 19th century after explorer and missionary David Livingstone reached Lake Malawi and decided it looked like a pretty good place to colonise. A nationalist movement took hold in the middle of the 20th century, presided over by Hastings Banda, who went on to become Prime Minister and leader of the Malawi Congress Party in 1961. Things moved quickly after that and Malawi gained independence from the British in 1964, becoming a republic with Banda as its first president.


Today, Malawi is a democracy with a multi-party government, although there are occasional issues of alleged poll-rigging and corruption. It has a generally peaceful, inclusive and outward-looking approach to foreign policy, but has come under criticism from the international community for governmental corruption, heavy-handed security forces, limited freedom of speech/ press and a number of other human rights issues. 


Malawi’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, with approximately 80% of the population working in subsistence farming. Whilst poverty is gradually decreasing, the nation remains very poor and dependent on international aid (which is sometimes withheld due to corruption concerns). 


Despite these problems, Malawi’s spirit shines through. The ethnic diversity of traditionally non-violent peoples creates a vibrant melting pot of music, arts and cuisines, set against a backdrop of stunning scenery and species. It is called ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ not because of its climate, but because of the nature of its people. 


TOTAL POPULATION

17 million YEAR 2014

CO2 EMISSIONS

1,300 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

822,800 kt Sub-Saharan Afric, YEAR 2014

"A reduction of CO2 emissions of 47% by 2030, compared to the business-as-usual scenario."

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

MALAWI | ALL PROJECTS

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john gaffey donated € 12 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Adi Lazos donated € 22 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Juliana Medaglia donated € 20 to Fighting the Silent Disappearance of the Great Brazilian Savannah. FREDERIC ACHARD donated € 50 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Thalita Medaglia donated € 15 to Fighting the Silent Disappearance of the Great Brazilian Savannah. Katie Hereing donated € 25 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Angelica Seminara donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Nevena Vlaykova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Melanie Bitto donated € 40 to Application of satellite telemetry data to better understand the breeding strategies of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Cristiano Rocco Marra donated € 30 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Ro Leaver donated € 30 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Phili Denning donated € 25 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Isabel gregory donated € 20 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Akshay Pai donated € 50 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Emma Burnett donated € 50 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Boyan Mihaylov donated € 50 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. François Leclerc donated € 40 to Application of satellite telemetry data to better understand the breeding strategies of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Clara Hermansson donated € 40 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Peter Thompson donated € 10 to Environmental Protection through Greenery and Awareness Interventions in Kabul and Wardak. Vihra Dincheva donated € 30 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Kris Bertens donated € 50 to Educating Montenegro's New Generation to Break Free from Litter and Plastic. Anna Lupanova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Simona Dakova donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Neicho Rahnev donated € 10 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Pavel Boev donated € 20 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Francesco Zanetto donated € 60 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Hind Alsalloom donated € 50 to Iraqi Youth Climate Change Movement. Francesca Cardani donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Michele Frison donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Fabio Sai donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Paola Tresca donated € 27 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Andrea Mongiello donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Matteo Masi donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Massimo Sacco donated € 10 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Ananda Nidhi donated € 20 to Toranam: Strengthening Agroforestry in Andhra Pradesh. andrea borsetto donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. ALESSIO GIANNONI donated € 25 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Yordan Yordanov donated € 25 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas. Laura Zorzetto donated € 15 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Rossana Mattachini donated € 20 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Elsa De Grandi donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Empowering Mangrove Women for a Healthy & Resilient Ecosystem. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Expanding Sesi’s Bottle Refill Scheme to Make Zero Plastic Waste Shopping Mainstream in the UK. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Agro Eco Village Project in Ri-Bhoi District. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Building an Efficient Technology for Women's Economic Empowerment. Noah Silver donated € 15 to Strengthening Malian Forest Management to Protect Biodiversity and Alleviate Poverty. Noah Silver donated € 30 to Toxic Chemicals and Waste Sensitization for Vulnerable Communities. Stefania Butera donated € 25 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

Malawi has a tropical to sub-tropical climate, with variation due to its mountainous topography and wide range of altitude. It has two distinct seasons: hot and wet from November to April, and (relatively) cool and dry from May to August. The southern end of the country tends to be hotter and more humid due to its lower altitude and flatter geography. 

As is the case with many poorer countries, climate change poses a great risk to Malawi’s environment and people. The major problem is that the country is highly dependent on local agriculture, typically on a subsistence basis. This means that farmers and their families will be hit very hard when the impacts of climate change and morphing weather patterns take hold. The problem is compounded by a rapidly growing population, which places increasing demand on already dwindling resources and land. Sustaining population growth and food security is a huge challenge without a changing climate, and so Malawi must take serious steps with international support to develop adaptation measures to these issues. 

Of course, these problems are not just the concern of Malawi’s human population. The country’s biodiversity also suffers. Key issues are deforestation and subsequent soil erosion, dwindling water resources, crippled soil health and endangered fish stocks. Delicate ecosystems are hit by rising temperatures and increasingly erratic and extreme weather events (as well as this being a real problem for farmers and economy). 

To address these problems, Malawi must focus on developing its management of natural resources and finding new approaches to meeting the demands of its growing population. International support is important here. For example, USAID is working closely with the Government of Malawi to develop more resilient agricultural practices with increased yields and nutritional value. The governance of fish stocks is also being addressed, in order to maintain this precious food resource and also protect Malawi’s biodiversity from extinction.  

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DATA INSIGHTS

The World Bank classifies Malawi as a low-income country. Malawi’s position in the fight against climate change is better understood by observing its historical of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk. The following plots provide an overview of Malawi’s historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s relative vulnerability and preparedness to climate change.


Malawi Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Malawi’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 1990 to 2008, Malawi saw its emissions explode, increasing by 108% driven by the expansion of agriculture and livestock population growth. These emissions went back down following the global economic crisis of 2008. Overall, Malawi’s GHG emissions increased by 153% between 1990 and 2012. 


Land-use change and forestry (LUCF) sector are responsible for the largest share (56%), followed by the agriculture sector (40%). LUCF emissions are mainly due to the transformation of forest lands into logging grounds and the expansion of agricultural activities. Within the agriculture sector, the majority of emissions come from livestock digestion and manure left on pasture. 


In 2012, Malawi made only a small contribution to GHG emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there is still room for improvement. Changes in farming practices such as improving manure management and developing sustainable agriculture systems still present a challenge in the future but will reduce the country’s emissions. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018)


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Malawi Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Malawi’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

graph

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 1990 to 2008, Malawi saw its emissions explode, increasing by 108% driven by the expansion of agriculture and livestock population growth. These emissions went back down following the global economic crisis of 2008. Overall, Malawi’s GHG emissions increased by 153% between 1990 and 2012. 


Land-use change and forestry (LUCF) sector are responsible for the largest share (56%), followed by the agriculture sector (40%). LUCF emissions are mainly due to the transformation of forest lands into logging grounds and the expansion of agricultural activities. Within the agriculture sector, the majority of emissions come from livestock digestion and manure left on pasture. 


In 2012, Malawi made only a small contribution to GHG emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there is still room for improvement. Changes in farming practices such as improving manure management and developing sustainable agriculture systems still present a challenge in the future but will reduce the country’s emissions. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018)


Malawi Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Malawi’s vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right. 


Malawi falls under the high vulnerability to climate change low level of adaptation capacity category. Under projected changes in rainfall and temperature, crop yields are expected to decrease significantly, which will result in severe food crisis, famine and malnutrition. As Malawi’s economy is dominated by the agriculture sector, the competition for land and water is likely to increase in the face of climate change. In order to respond to natural disasters, enhancing the resilience and adaptive capacity of response systems is also crucial. (Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys. 


TAKE ACTION

Malawi Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Malawi’s vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

graph

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right. 


Malawi falls under the high vulnerability to climate change low level of adaptation capacity category. Under projected changes in rainfall and temperature, crop yields are expected to decrease significantly, which will result in severe food crisis, famine and malnutrition. As Malawi’s economy is dominated by the agriculture sector, the competition for land and water is likely to increase in the face of climate change. In order to respond to natural disasters, enhancing the resilience and adaptive capacity of response systems is also crucial. (Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys. 


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