Poverty in Malawi
Poverty in Malawi has been at critical levels for decades. Of the 15.9 million Malawians, about 12 million are living below the international poverty line ($1.25 a day) and approximately 14.3 million are living on less than $2.00 a day, according to the Rural Poverty Portal.

Many Malawians work in agriculture, and it is hard for them to produce enough crops to maintain an income above the international poverty line. With parental death, disease and crop failure, the obstacles that many Malawians face are abounding. Discussed below are the leading facts that thoroughly explain and illuminate the pressing issue of poverty in Malawi.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Malawi


  1. Over 90,000 Malawi individuals live with HIV/AIDS, which accounts for every one in ten adults.
  2. Only 65.8 percent of Malawi’s population can read and write by the age of 15, according to the CIA.
  3. Due to poverty, poor access to health care, disease and food shortage, the average life expectancy for a Malawian is 63 years, which is 25 years more than it was in 1960, according to The World Bank.
  4. There is only one doctor for every 50,000 individuals, according to the World Health Organization.
  5. Malawi’s economy is mainly agricultural, constituting 80% of the population living in rural areas.
  6. The median age for Malawians is 16.4 years old.
  7. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is working in harmony with Malawi’s government to promote agricultural growth in rural areas. This is an effort to reduce poverty throughout Malawi.
  8. About 30% of children in Malawi do not start primary school (which is free in Malawi). Secondary and higher education is mostly attended by those of households above the international poverty line, predominantly due to the enrollment fees.
  9. Malawi is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, ranking 173rd out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index.
  10. More than 1 million Malawi children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.

The people of Malawi face great hardships; however, with the help of NGOs like IFAD, there is hope for an increased economy and better school systems. This in turn will lead to a decrease in disease, orphaned children and overall poverty in Malawi.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Flickr

A recent collaboration among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD, and the World Food Programme  yielded a publication titled, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” This document analyzes the current statistics regarding the number and location of the world’s hungry and these ten statistics reflect the most updated state of the world’s hungry populations.

1. There are 795 million people around the world who are undernourished, down by 167 million in the last decade.

According to the publication, 780 million people out of the 795 million are located in underdeveloped regions, namely Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, two areas in which severe hunger is most prevalent.

2. WFP estimates that $3.2 billion is needed each year to feed all 66 million hungry school-age children.

Hunger is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, particularly in young children under the age of 5. Increasing the U.S. foreign aid budget could drastically improve the lives of millions of hungry children.

3. About 1.3 billion tons of food, roughly one-third of all food produced, is wasted.

When all of this food is not consumed, the one in eight people in the world who go hungry every day are stripped of the chance to get a life-saving meal.

4. This year, 29 countries have achieved the World Food Summit’s goal to halve the number of undernourished people in their populations.

The countries who reached this goal: Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.

5. More than 80 percent of the world’s most food-insecure people live in countries prone to natural disasters with high levels of environmental degradation.

Areas that are likely to have hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other destructive events are consequently more prone to collapsed cities, destroyed farmlands and polluted water sources. These consequences directly impact the availability of food in these regions.

6. A total of 72 developing countries out of 129, or more than half the countries monitored, have reached the Millennium Development Goal 1c hunger target.

The MDG relating to hunger takes into account both the prevalence of undernourishment in the specified country, as well as the proportion of underweight children under the age of 5. According to the FAO report, “In many countries that have failed to reach the international hunger targets, natural and human-induced disasters or political instability have resulted in protracted crises with increased vulnerability and food insecurity of large parts of the population. In such contexts, measures to protect vulnerable population groups and improve livelihoods have been difficult to implement or [are] ineffective.”

7. Western Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the only two regions in the world where the number of hungry people has increased since the 1990 study by the WFP, according to “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.”

In Western Asia, there were eight million people undernourished in 1990, and this number has increased to 19 million this year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of undernourished people has increased from 176 million in 1990 to 220 million in 2015.

8. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 percent) of deaths in children under 5, or 3.1 million children each year.

It is estimated that nearly 8,000 of these deaths are tied to hunger. Approximately one child dies every 10 seconds.

9. Nearly one in every five people survive on less than $1.25 a day.

Approximately 80 percent of this small amount is used to buy food for an entire family. This leaves very little room for buying other necessities such as health care, clothes and shelter.

10. The main cause of hunger is poverty.

According to The Hunger Project, “Poverty, food prices and hunger are inextricably linked. Poverty causes hunger. Not every poor person is hungry, but almost all hungry people are poor. Millions live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods or cannot afford the farming supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own. Hunger can be viewed as a dimension of extreme poverty. It is often called the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty.”

– Hanna Darroll

Sources: Food and Agricultural Organization, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, World Food Programme 3, 30 Hour Famine, The Hunger Project
Photo: Cross Catholic Field Blog

Azerbaijan is a small Central Asian country about the size of South Carolina bordered by The Caspian Sea, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, and Russia. Similar to Russia, Azerbaijan’s heritage is derived from both Eastern and Western civilization, making her a distinctly Eurasian entity.  In the years initially following the Russian revolution of 1917, the victorious bolsheviks invaded Azerbaijan, integrating it into the Soviet Union.  This was an effort by Lenin to capitalize on the oil reserves of the Azerbaijanis.

Consequently, agriculture in Azerbaijan was collectivized.  This caused agricultural workers to become dependent on a very specific, prescribed method of farming in which success depended upon the survival of the Soviet system.  When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990’s and farms were privatized, agricultural workers were completely unprepared to grow crops on their own.  This resulted in a situation in which uneducated farmers with limited resources were unable to maximize the productivity of their land.

Like other nations that declared independence after the fall of the USSR, Azerbaijan’s rural communities have struggled immensely to stand on their own two feet economically.  Rural poverty is widespread, but it is especially concentrated in the desolate northeastern part of the country, with pockets also appearing in the mountainous north western region of  Sheki-Zagatal where the poverty rate is over 50%.  The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) describes the severity of the economic conditions there, stating:

“Remote areas and upland or mountainous areas show high rates of poverty. These areas often lack basic infrastructure and services, including irrigation, adequate road access, a reliable drinking water supply and health services.”

Fortunately, IFAD has invested almost $200 million in development projects in Azerbaijan over the last decade and a half.  These projects focus on improving food security through practical education (such as irrigation tutorials) and the establishment of business connections between rural farmers and lucrative markets.  With support such as this, agriculture in Azerbaijan has the potential to rise out of poverty in the coming years.

– Josh Forgét
Source: Rural Poverty Portal via IFAD,Glenn E. Curtis
Photo: Azerbaijan News