Fight Poverty in Malawi

Pour Out Christ’s Mercy and Love

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Malawi’s name comes from the Chewa word for flames, so it’s no wonder this “warm heart of Africa” is known for its friendly people. Sadly though, this southeast African nation has also been identified as one of the poorest countries in the world. Just 6% of the population has ready access to sanitation facilities, and deadly diseases like Cholera are tragically common because so many families must rely on contaminated water sources.

1 in 5 Malawians lack access to clean, safe water.

Unlike its neighboring nations, Malawi does not have significant oil reserves, mineral resources or particularly fertile soil. Instead, small-scale farming families are dependent on the weather for their very survival. Just one bad season is enough to plunge families into extreme poverty, where even the most basic human needs are often out of reach.

Quick Facts

Population: 20,308,502 (July 2021 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP): $1,500 (2020 est.)

Literacy rate: 62.1% (2015 est.) (99% in U.S.)

Infant mortality (# deaths/1,000 live births): 34.2/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Population below poverty line: 50.7% (2020 est.) (11.4% in U.S.)

Primary religions: Protestant 33.5%, Roman Catholic 17.2%, other Christian denominations 26.6%

Sources: CIA World Factbook, USAID, U.S. Census Bureau, The World Bank

Before Cross Catholic Outreach intervened, Christina Nyondo had to collect water from a contaminated hand-dug source.

The Problem: Crushing Poverty

Chronic Malnutrition, Contaminated Water and Poor Health

Many factors contribute to Malawi’s crushing poverty. Among them are its vulnerability to natural disasters, lack of societal infrastructure, history of political unrest, economic instability, illiteracy and one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Severe flooding ruins harvests for rural farmers — the lifeblood of Malawi’s economy — leading to food instability and increased poverty. Poor families have few opportunities for advancement and end up living in an endless cycle of survival, with little hope of breaking free.

Impoverished Malawian families suffer from chronic malnutrition, unsafe housing and substandard health services. Lack of clean drinking water poses a tremendous threat: Just over 10% of rural villages have access to clean water sources. Poor families are forced to rely on shallow streams or hand-dug holes near riverbeds — water infested with parasites that cause illnesses such as typhoid and diarrhea.

Because of friends like you, children in Fryson Village, Malawi, have access to clean water.

Faith-Based Poverty Relief

The Church in Action

Cross Catholic Outreach is partnering with Catholic leaders in the Diocese of Karonga to fight poverty in Malawi, and these efforts have begun to have a significant, positive impact on the lives of individuals, families and communities. Because both the ministry and the diocese are guided by Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” every project they undertake to help rural families is careful to provide both practical assistance and spiritual blessings.

Bishop Mtumbuka, the bishop of Karonga, is passionate about growing the Church while meeting the needs of the greater community. He believes it is the role of the Church to uphold the dignity of all people, and these efforts are bearing fruit. In just over a decade, the Catholic population within the diocese has grown 56%, and the number of seminarians has quadrupled.

Cross Catholic Outreach has partnered with the diocese on multiple poverty relief outreaches, including building a health clinic. Our current goals include supporting medical staff salaries as well as drilling wells and conducting hygiene and sanitation training — all to meet the region’s desperate need for clean water. We are committed to helping the Diocese of Karonga impact lives!

“No one should be allowed to take advantage of poor people. [Our diocese] will therefore, pursue evangelization, civic education and the reinforcement of the rule of law.”
~ Bishop Mtumbuka, Diocese of Karonga

Share Christ’s Love With Malawi’s Poor Families

With help from supporters like you, Cross Catholic Outreach is able to mobilize the Church in Malawi to meet the material and spiritual needs of the poor. By providing practical support for families in need, we will be the hands and feet of Christ to people longing for hope. Your financial contribution will empower the Church to provide clean water and God’s love.

Change Lives in Malawi

With your support, we can relieve material and spiritual poverty in Malawi. By giving today, you will empower the Church to provide clean water and share the love of Christ with the poor!

Change Even More Lives

Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.

Become a monthly donor today and experience the joy of impacting lives every month.

What’s Malawi’s predominant religion?

A majority of Malawians are Christian. 33.5% identify as Protestant, 17.2% identify as Roman Catholic, and another 26.2% belong to other Christian denominations.

Why is Malawi poor?

Malawi’s poverty can be traced to multiple factors, including susceptibility to natural disasters, illiteracy, lack of infrastructure, political unrest, and one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world.

What is Malawi known for?

Malawi is reputed to be one the friendliest countries on the African continent, earning the nickname “the warm heart of Africa.” Its people have a reputation for welcoming strangers and tourists to enjoy the country’s beautiful natural resources such as wildlife, landscapes and Lake Malawi. Unfortunately, Malawi is also known for high levels of poverty, poor infrastructure, and one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates.

What are the main causes of water crisis in Malawi?

One of the main causes of the water crisis in Malawi is lack of infrastructure and the disrepair of existing wells. In many villages, even a community well is too great a luxury for the people to afford, and in those cases, families must find other ways to meet their needs. Women and girls are usually tasked with water collection, and they may need to walk an hour or more to reach the nearest water source — usually a muddy stream or hand-dug hole beside a dry river bed, where ground water can be dipped out.

How is the Catholic Church addressing poverty in Malawi?

The Catholic Church is reaching out to poor communities with God’s love by providing practical solutions. Since one of the biggest needs of poor families is clean water, the Diocese of Karonga is repairing old water wells in impoverished communities. When the Church shares clean water, it opens the door to sharing the truth of the Living Water, Jesus Christ.

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures for this project incurred through June 30, 2025, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.