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Cultivating Change: Success Stories From the WALA and IMPACT Programs in Southern Malawi

Cultivating Change: Success Stories From the WALA and IMPACT Programs in Southern Malawi   

These success stories describe how two programs helped families to strengthen their health, agricultural livelihoods and food security in Malawi. The programs

  • helped households to grow more food,
  • guided farmers toward profitable business practices,
  • helped people to form savings groups,
  • taught families and young mothers about health and nutrition and
  • increased access to HIV services and social welfare systems.
  • Download the PDF (9.4 MB)
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WALA and IMPACT at a glance

Five years of sharing knowledge. A lifetime to reap the benefits.

"Now I can feed my family." That's the refrain heard over and over again in farming communities across southern Malawi. More than 1 million poor Malawians—many living on less than $1 a day—have become more resilient thanks to assistance received from the WALA and IMPACT initiatives.

Generously funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), these two programs aimed to radically change people's lives in one of the world's poorest countries—and they succeeded. For maximum impact, the five-year Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program and the four-year Integrated (HIV Effect) Mitigation and Positive Action for Community Transformation (IMPACT) program were designed to complement each other, taking a holistic approach to the issues poor people face.

Together, these programs improved the lives of Malawians most in need by:

  • helping families to grow more food to eat and sell,
  • getting farmers to approach farming as a business to make a profit from their crops,
  • helping families to have more money through livelihoods activities and the formation of savings and lending groups,
  • teaching families, and in particular young mothers, about health and nutrition,
  • increasing access to HIV services and
  • strengthening social welfare systems that support orphans and other vulnerable children.

Even more importantly, WALA and IMPACT gave people the tools they need to continue these activities well into the future. "The most valuable part of WALA has been the knowledge and skills imparted to me. Even if the program leaves, I can still use this knowledge," says program participant Judith Dzinga. Many others agree, as shared in these stories of life-changing experiences.

WALA at a glance

  • July 2009 to June 2014
  • US$81 million from USAID and US$886,000 from private costsharing donors
  • 229,792 poor rural households participated in WALA activities, benefiting over 1 million people
  • Activities focused on improving food security, incomes, health and nutrition
  • Led by Catholic Relief Services Malawi
  • Implemented in eight districts in southern Malawi by seven implementing partners
  • Supported by government agencies and community leaders
  • Technical support provided by ACDI/VOCA and research institutions

IMPACT at a glance

  • July 2010 to June 2014
  • US$28 million from USAID, alliance members and private cost-sharing donors
  • Improved the wellbeing of almost 60,000 orphans and vulnerable children
  • Enhanced access to treatment and care for 40,000 people living with HIV
  • Led by CRS Malawi
  • Implemented in nine districts by 12 implementing partners
  • Other partners include government agencies, community leaders, private sector partners and the US Peace Corps

Publication details

Authors: Debbie DeVoe
Publisher: Catholic Relief Services (May 2014)
Success stories: 26 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 8.27 x 11.69 inches

Posted on May 20, 2014

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