Child-Focused Community Development in Malawi

Feed the Children’s child-focused community-development (CFCD) program approach includes four cornerstone pillars: Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods. We work to transform lives by improving the food & nutrition security of mothers and children, and more specifically to reduce malnutrition and poverty. This happens when parents have the skills they need to raise well-nourished and thriving children, when communities are clean and keep children healthy, when children get the education they need to grow up to have good jobs and to raise healthy children themselves, and when parents have the skills and resources they need to feed their families.


Preventing malnourishment during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life drastically improves their livelihood outcomes and prevents the permanent effects of growth stunting. Through Care Groups, community mothers who work as volunteers spread behavior change messages in efforts that caregivers can improve nutritional and health outcomes for their children (direct beneficiaries=53,300). Care Groups involve a group of community women who receive training every 2 weeks, and these mothers then share their new knowledge with their neighbor groups. Care Groups build upon the existing community network and encourages mothers to share knowledge with one another. Community-based nutrition education has proven to be successful at improving nutrition in many international communities. Through food supplementation (DB=9,600), vitamin supplementation (DB=66,700), deworming medications (DB=53,700), growth monitoring promotion (DB=53,700), and referrals (DB=3,500) and rehabilitation (DB= 3,400) for malnourished children, Feed the Children is also able to assist communities with the immediate nutrition needs of children. In Malawi, many diseases are preventable through clean water and proper sanitation practices. Parents are the most influential source of education for children, so by educating caregivers on WASH behaviors (DB=49,200), point-of-use water purification (DB=13,200), and other healthy practices (DB=132,900), they can promote these in their homes. Child health outcomes will increase through these low-cost initiatives to prevent sanitation related health problems and these children will adopt these health practices as they mature into adulthood too. Physical barriers often impede the educational attainment of Malawi children. To address short-term hunger, Feed the Children provides daily school meals for children (DB=75,000) in order to improve attentiveness, and also distributes TOMS shoes (DB=70,000). By removing physical barriers to school attendance such as hunger or lack of proper clothing, every child has an equal opportunity to pursue education. Food and economic security are essential components of a family’s livelihood. Through livestock (DB=1,000) and garden (DB=2,500) provisions and promotions, communities are able to develop self-sufficient sources of nutrition and economic improvement. When livestock reproduce and gardens bear fruit, the harvest can be sold to other families, thereby creating a community cycle of sustainability. Similarly, tree nurseries are a source of sustainable food, but also promote reforestation (DB=1,800). Village savings and loans (VSL) groups operate as internal lending and savings organizations operated by community members (DB=24,200). Capital is generated through contributions of community members and loans are distributed to improve economic outputs. VSLs enhance financial literacy and freedom in our communities. FEED transfers business skills to communities so that they can venture into various businesses to become economically independent.

Additional information

The above reflects data from fiscal year 2016 for Feed the Children.

Cross-cutting issues

Nutrition, Gender, Environment


  • Malawi>Central>Lilongwe
  • Malawi>Central>Salima
  • Malawi>Central>Dowa
  • Malawi>Central>Ntchisi
  • Malawi>Central>Nkhotakota
  • Malawi>Northern>Mzimba
  • Malawi>Northern>Nkhata Bay
  • Malawi>Northern>Rumphi
  • Malawi>Northern>Chitipa
  • Malawi>Northern>Likoma


  • Agriculture
  • Economic Recovery and Development
  • Education
  • Food Aid
  • Health
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Water Sanitation and Hygiene
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