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Basic Indicators

Source: UNICEF: The State of the World's Children Report

Population: 15,263,000 (2009)
National language: Chichewa
Per capita income: US$ 280/year (2009)
Life expectancy: 54 (2009)
% of population using
improved drinking water sources:
80% (2008)
% of population using
adequate sanitation facilities:
56% (2008)
Under 5 Mortality Rate: 110/1,000 live births (2009)

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Malawi is dominated, geographically speaking, by Lake Nyasa—a long, thin lake which takes up nearly one-fifth of the country’s territory.

Slightly smaller than Pennsylvania, landlocked Malawi is located in Southern Africa and is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Mozambique to the south and east, and Zambia to the west. Malawi has had significant trouble with development, and its harsh climate makes even subsistence-level farming a difficult process.

Tobacco production drives Malawi’s economy, accounting for roughly 60 percent of recent exports. Nearly 90 percent of the population works in agriculture, primarily cultivating tobacco, tea, sugarcane, corn and tapioca.

Plan's programs in Malawi directly benefit around 29,000 children and their families in 95 communities, promoting improved farming techniques, proper nutritional practices, and health care access. Except in emergency situations, Plan does not provide direct assistance. Instead, we help communities develop, grow and, ultimately, support themselves.

Hear from the children

An essential part of Plan's work is empowering children to discuss the issues that matter to them and to take part in decisions that affect their lives. To help you learn about these issues, the children in Plan communities have put together a series of publications called "See Our World": Read what the children have to say about their lives.