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Poverty in Malawi
Malawi is a landlocked African country that is bordered by Tanzania to the northeast, Mozambique to the south and Zambia to the west. The impact of poverty in Malawi can be seen prominently in the agriculture sector.

Malawi ranks 160 out of the existing 182 sovereign nations on the Human Development Index and is currently one of the world’s poorest nations. Nearly three-fourths of the population lives on less than a $1.25 a day, and approximately 90 percent live on less than $2 a day.

Agriculture makes up 35 percent of Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP), and nearly 85 percent of Malawians are employed in the agricultural sector.

Maize is typically grown for local markets; small-scale farmers typically grow various fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, guava, mangoes, lemons, green peppers, cabbage, cucumbers and eggplants.

Agricultural growth in Malawi is often limited and difficult to effectively sustain due to reoccurring droughts in the region. Nearly 80 percent of Malawians are smallholder farmers who rely on their crops to feed their families and communities.

Malawi experiences extreme weather conditions — periods of drought and flooding — that contribute to widespread famine and destroyed infrastructure.

USAID reports that they are currently developing the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan that is closely related to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) plan, and the Agriculture Sector-Wide Approach to promote agriculture and address food insecurity at the national and local levels to reduce poverty in Malawi.

Feed the Future, USAID reports, is working closely with the Malawian government to devise policies to promote agricultural sustainability, improve access to food and invest in crops such as legumes and dairy that would expand domestic and export markets for Malawi to help their economy prosper.

Through the Feed the Future initiative, USAID helped trained farmers on better farming techniques to increase productivity and provided financial and marketing services to farmers as well. USAID reported that they are committed to promoting private sector development by strengthening government institutional capacity that will accelerate long lasting agricultural sustainability.

Since the beginning of the initiative, milk productivity has substantially increased by 52 percent. USAID has also successfully in organized 23,000 Malawians from rural villages into savings-and-loans groups. Adding to that success, USAID trained 60,000 farmers on new agricultural technologies and techniques that would improve irrigation and crop harvesting.

The Feed the Future initiative aims to improve the vulnerability of rural smallholder farmers to help them escape poverty and hunger. Also, they plan to impact the lives of 293,000 children in helping to provide better nutrition to reverse growth stunting and prevent infant mortality.

Economic issues and food shortage issues have historically affected the poverty in Malawi; however, the successful partnership between the Feed the Future initiative and the Malawian government continues to improve agricultural techniques, farming technologies and promote food security for impoverished communities.

Haylee Gardner

Photo: Flickr

History of Global Goals for Sustainable DevelopmentThe history of global goals for sustainable development is relatively recent. Building on the original Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) of 2000, which the world planned on achieving by 2015, the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals have drastically affected the way nations evaluate poverty, climate change and inequality and injustice.

The Global Goals have a much broader sustainability agenda than the MDGs. They address the root causes of poverty directly, as well as recognize the need for development that is universal and may be applied to all nations. Using the history of global goals for sustainable development, governments can be more effective when adopting certain initiatives.

World leaders first adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015.

The United Nation’s Development Program aims to carry out these Global Goals by providing support for governments, as well as ensuring transparency by the U.N. when it comes to the planning process.

The Untied States has begun the work to achieve these Global Goals through initiatives such as the Feed the Future Initiative. Established for several different nations, this initiative works to address the root causes of hunger by training farmers not only in sustainable farming and living, but also regarding their own healthcare. The 2015 report estimates that about 55 percent of the Feed the Future Initiative’s beneficiaries have been able to rise above the extreme poverty threshold of the US ($1.25 USD per day).

However, nations such as Brazil are taking the development of these Global Goals even further.

In 2015, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, the first Head of State to address the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, used her time to emphasize her nation’s improved economy after their 2008 economic crisis and its efforts to provide for the migrants of Europe.

She focused on Brazil’s measures to lower taxes, expand credit, strengthen investment and stimulate household consumption. She also focused on her nation’s efforts to reduce 43 percent of its greenhouse gas emission by 2030.

Brazil even co-sponsored with the UNDP the “Implementing the SDGs: Integrated Approaches” session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya in this year. The session focused on discussing universal tools to advance the 2030 agenda through holistic approaches to the environment, and in doing so, not just eradicate poverty, but also accelerate environmentally sustainable growth.

Veronica Ung-Kono

Photo: Flickr