Islamic Relief has been working with rural communities in Malawi who live in flood-affected and drought-prone areas, helping them to get back on their feet and become more resilient for the future.

As farming is the main source of food and income for communities in Chikwawa, Malawi, they struggled as periods of flooding and drought in recent years made it impossible to cultivate crops. Many families did not know where their next meal was coming from.

To make matters worse, communities struggled to access safe water, either travelling for hours to find water in other villages, or being forced to drink unsafe river water, putting them at risk of contracting water-borne diseases.

Building resilience against the changing climate

Islamic Relief have been working with communities in Chikwawa to provide essential training to help combat the effects of climate challenges. We set up farmers’ groups, where we helped to improve farmers’ skills and knowledge around effective farming techniques and environmental protection and climate change adaptation, making them more resilient for the future.

With their newly acquired skills and confidence, we gave 400 families livestock, seeds and essential farming equipment, to put these skills into practice and help rebuild their lives.

We then helped to create new sustainable livelihoods, providing training around how to construct irrigation systems, manage water systems, farm fish and sell crops.

Islamic Relief has helped the community to create sustainable irrigation systems, drilled 15 boreholes and set up a committee to help manage the community’s water systems, so that families have access to safe water.

This project is also helping children in the area to thrive, as we installed a solar powered water system providing clean water to a school. This makes learning much easier for the pupils, and is also helping to keep them healthy.

The project has meant that families now have a reliable source of food. They’re self-sufficient and have the skills and tools needed to help navigate the changing climate.

Jane’s story

Jane struggled to provide for her 4 children children after flooding and drought in the area meant that she could no longer harvest and sell maize, which was the family’s only source of income.

“Sometimes I would go hungry so that our children could eat. We had to resort to desperate measures to find food, buying food on credit which we didn’t have, and taking loans. Often, my children would go to school on an empty stomach”, says Jane.

Then, Islamic Relief intervened and helped to ease Jane’s burden.

“Islamic Relief provided us with seeds and fertilisers, which were very difficult to source on our own due to our lack of income.

“With this help, our harvest has been overwhelming. While I was only able to harvest 4 bags of maize in the past, now I harvest 16.

Jane processing harvested maize

“Islamic Relief also provided training, and I have gained adequate knowledge and skills in crop management and can manage my crops for a high yield.  Agribusiness training has also helped to improve my skills in selling farm produce, and I am now helping to train other farmers.

“With this great increase in income, I have been able to buy school uniforms for my children, and solar lamps so that they can study at night. This has meant that they now have more interest in school and their performance has greatly improved. Before this, they would be sent home from school for not having a school uniform.

“I was also able to open a grocery store which is benefitting many community members and has increased our income such that we no longer lack anything in our household.

“I really appreciate Islamic Relief’s efforts… I do not know where my family would be without Islamic Relief,” says Jane.

With your support Islamic Relief can continue to help communities on the frontline of the climate emergency: donate today.