In the outskirts of the city of Lilongwe, lie rural areas where families struggle to meet basic needs. This is where 2-year-old Gladys Manuel lives, in Chikuse village TA Malili. She is the second born in the family of two. Her mother, Rita Luwe (23 years old) got divorced when Gladys was only 9 months old. Life has not been easy for a young single mother to take care of the two children.
Chikwawa district, in Southern Malawi was one of the hardest hit by the March 2019 floods. The area consists of low-lying plains, making it vulnerable to flooding every rainy season. Jacqueline Devison, 21, is no stranger to this.
On a drizzling morning in Phalombe district, Malawi, mothers and their children gather at a village clinic for growth monitoring appointments for the children. The clinic is located on a mountain and is surrounded by grassy plains and a forest. Tawina Mawindo is here with her 4-year-old son, Boniface Masiye.
It’s the middle of the rainy season in Malawi. The countryside is green and many households are happy to see better rainfall than last year. However, the effects of last year’s poor harvest are still being felt. Many families in Nankumba village in Mangochi district do not have enough food to feed their children. One of these families is Cecilia Martin’s. Food insecurity has led to her one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl, Viola, to suffer from severe malnutrition.
For Manesi Fanuwelo, 33, the thought of losing another child to malnutrition was unbearable. In 2007, Fanuwelo, from Nkhwazi village in Chikwawa, Malawi, lost a son to the condition. The young boy was about to reach his third birthday when he died. And now, her 10-month-old daughter, Laima, was showing the same symptoms that killed her brother.
Beata Bignos was shaken when she saw her child’s feet, stomach, and cheeks were swelling. He had kwashiorkor, a severe form of acute malnutrition. After being treated at Gabriel’s Hospital in Namitete in rural Lilongwe, her son, Yosefe, is now healthy and bouncy again, as should every 2-year-old.
n many rural Malawian households, adequate nutritious meals are not readily available. Over the past few years, drought and flooding have also affected food production, reducing the already small and undiversified food portions of the poor.