Table Of Contents:


1) Extent And Impact of Poverty on Youth Livelihoods and Empowerment Strategies in Rural and Semi-Urban Areas of Malawi by Amon Kabuli

2)  Poverty-Induced Cross-border Movements and Children’s Vulnerability to Sexual Exploitation and HIV/AIDS by Kudzai Makoni   

3)  Institutional Framework and Impact of Farmer-Based Livestock Development Institutions on Livestock Production in Malawi by Liveness J. Banda




Extent And Impact of Poverty on Youth Livelihoods and Empowerment Strategies in Rural and Semi-Urban Areas of Malawi by Amon Kabuli


Malawi is a small, landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of about 11 million, of which the youth aged between 10-29 years account for 41 per cent (National Statistical Office 2008). The distribution of the population follows a pyramid with more concentration in youthful ages and skews towards female population. The labour force data by gender indicates that the employment rate for women increased between 2005 and 2008 from 93 per cent to 99 per cent and from 96 per cent to 99 per cent for men (NSO 2006 and 2008). Recent studies on poverty, notably the “Malawi Growth through Poverty Reduction” and the “Situation Analysis of Poverty in Malawi”, have all shown that poverty in Malawi is a pervasive problem affecting about 60 per cent of the population (GoM 2010). Evidence of this pervasiveness of poverty in Malawi is reflected in the country’s social indicators, some of which are the worst in the world, such as high mortality rate, household food insecurity, environmental degradation, high illiteracy rate, high unemployment and high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. Most of these indicators directly affect the majority of the youth in Malawi. This is so because most of the young men and women in the country do not have adequate access to productive resources such as land and credit. As a result, they derive their livelihoods under very difficult conditions which perpetuate the poverty situation among the youth in the country. It was from this background that this study was initiated to get an in-depth understanding of the extent and impact of poverty on youth livelihoods and empowerment strategies in the rural and semi-urban areas.

Problem Statement

Of late, Malawi has seen the establishment of a number of programmes focusing on youth poverty eradication and empowerment, particularly in the rural areas of the country (Phiri 1998). This is in line with the Malawi National Youth Policy which aims at developing the full potential of the youth and to promote their active participation in national development. However, most of them have been established with very limited knowledge of the prevailing poverty, economic and socio-cultural context the youth are subjected to and are working in their [own] localities. There is limited information on the activities young men and women who are out of school can gainfully be engaged in and the conditions under which they are able to sustain their livelihoods. Similarly, there is also limited information on current enterprises and self-employment initiatives of both graduates of vocational training schools and those without any formal education. Information on which enterprises young people would prefer to pursue if they were given the necessary financial assistance given a favourable economic and political environment is also not available.


Furthermore, very little research has been done to understand the extent and depth of poverty and how it is affecting the livelihoods among the youth, particularly now with the effects of globalization influencing economic development frameworks in most Sub-Saharan African countries. In this regard, it is necessary to build the knowledge base related to how various government policies and current development programmes might facilitate or impinge on the smooth implementation of youth targeting programs in the country. Additionally, there is currently limited information on the options for the out of school youth to gainfully engage in income generating activities in order to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable livelihoods in this global world. This study has attempted to address this knowledge gap by providing research-based evidence on the nature and extent of poverty among the youth and has generated workable recommendations on how government and private sector can formulate conducive policies and programmes not only reduce youth poverty but also to engage the youth in gainful enterprises for sustainable livelihoods.


Poverty-Induced Cross-border Movements and Children’s Vulnerability to Sexual Exploitation and HIV/AIDS by Kudzai Makoni    


This research assessed the extent of children’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation within processes of poverty-induced illicit cross–border business ventures, along Zimbabwe’s eastern border shared with Mozambique, vis-à-vis the spread of HIV and AIDS among children . It sought to inform the broadening of the scope of national strategies of protecting children from the epidemic, given that the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW 2007) has supported the prevention of mother–to–child (HIV) transmission (PMTCT), which only protects infants (or just 13 per cent of HIV-infected children), more strongly than other programmes that target elder children. The research data was collected from rural communities along Zimbabwe’s eastern border shared with Mozambique where poverty-induced illicit cross–border movements of children were rampant, especially between 2006 and 2008 (IOM 2009). By orally administering 246 questionnaires on children, interviewing 117 adults individually or in groups, and facilitating focus group discussions for 212 children, the study revealed that poverty was centrally behind children’s involvement in cross–border economic ventures of selling commodities like sugar and serving Mozambican farmers as agricultural hired labour. It further increased children’s desperation to mobilise cash, which eroded their bargaining power in any negotiations they did on the labour, commodity and sex markets, raising their vulnerability to all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation. Worryingly, police officers on either side of the border were mentioned as the leading culprits of sexually exploiting girls, who, however, did not report the abuse for fear of being prosecuted for crossing the border. However, the scarcity of data on HIV prevalence among sexually active children because of their low uptake of HIV tests made it difficult to link their evident vulnerability to sexual exploitation to actual HIV prevalence rates. This is a theme worthy of further exploration in future researches.

Institutional Framework and Impact of Farmer-Based Livestock Development Institutions on Livestock Production in Malawi by Liveness J. Banda


A study was conducted from November 2006 to October 2007 in order to assess the operations of livestock farmer organizations (LFOs) and analyze their impact on livestock production in Malawi. A baseline survey was conducted employing household questionnaires (n=184). Besides, focus group discussions (8) and key informant interviews were used to collect data from members of the organizations as well as and non-members. The results show that most LFOs are production orientated with aspects of marketing embedded. Farmer-based institutions were operating as farmers’ clubs which specialized in specific livestock species, receiving some support from NGOs. The preferred species include goats, chicken, cattle and pigs. There were significant differences on species kept between the two districts (2; p= 0.02). Kasungu District had more respondents (73.2 per cent) that belonged to LFOs that promoted small stocks (goats, chickens and pigs) than large stocks (cattle, 26.8 per cent). The same trend was observed in Chikwawa district but with some LFOs targeting beef cattle in combination with small stocks. The organizational structure of all the institutions is similar. The leadership of the small stock (chickens and goats) institutions is generally dominated by women who make up 60 –90 per cent of the membership. The organizations facilitate production and multiplication of different livestock species. Establishment of LFOs has contributed to increased livestock ownership. In Kasungu District it was reported that dairy cattle, goats, and Black Australop chicken populations had increased by 174, 131, 144 per cent respectively, from 2003 to 2006. The LFOs are also associated with improved access to extension and veterinary services, capacity building in livestock management, enhanced technology transfer, and improved access to markets. Analysis on the sustainability of the institutions showed some weaknesses on governance, linkage with other organizations as well as in financing and financial management within the institutions. LFOs have positively contributed to improved livestock production and just need further empowerment to make them self-sustaining.

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