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Evolution of GOAL Activities in Malawi

By Andy Nicholson

Andy Nicholson is currently Country Director of GOAL in Malawi. He has been in Africa since 1990 working mainly in emergencies in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi and now Malawi. Has worked for Lutheran World Federation, Christian Aid, Save the Children UK and now GOAL.

The author would like to acknowledge his predecessor, Pat Mulcahy, and all the GOAL staff who have contributed to GOAL's work and achievements.

This article describes the evolution of GOAL HIV related programming activities in Malawi over the past three years, but does not describe the implementation of or lessons learnt from these programmes (Eds).


GOAL became operational in Malawi in April 2002, and was involved in the formation of the Joint Emergency Food Aid Programme (JEFAP), a consortium of agencies, including WFP and 11 other NGOs, formed to manage the distribution of food on a national basis. Operational in two districts, Blantyre and Chiradzulu districts, GOAL distributed 2,300 metric tonnes (MTs) of food per month at its peak, before completing this programme phase in May 2003. Continuing with the consortium model for the second year under JEFAP 2, GOAL was engaged in food for work (FFW) and the direct transfer of food aid to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) and the chronically ill. This involved supporting over 9,700 households affected by HIV/AIDS, with over 750 FFW projects operating in Blantyre and Chiradzulu Districts of Malawi. This provided the basis for activities that were implemented under JEFAP 3 in Nsanje district, where GOAL relocated (funded by WFP) to operate in an area of acute need in the southernmost area of the country. FFW projects were implemented in all nine Traditional Authorities (TAs), with a range of activities designed to support communities in the medium and longterm. These included reforestation and community woodlots, rehabilitation of key roads, rainwater harvesting and soil and water conservation, along with other community based agriculture projects. Food to those affected by chronic illness (2,041 families) and to those looking after the chronically ill (360 families) was supplied in seven of the TA's. This programme finished at the end of December 2004, coinciding with the beginning of WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) in January 2005.

Goal and PRRO

The WFP PRRO is scheduled to run for three years, with the initial three month programme running to the end of March 2005. During this period, 4,807 MT of food was allocated to GOAL for distribution through FFW (26,110 households), food to those affected by chronic illness (2,048 households) and those hosting patients (620 households). A total of around 160,000 will benefit in this blanket response to what is traditionally a period of acute hunger as people wait to harvest their crops in April. Additional funding from the Jesuits has been received to support food to the chronically ill in the two TAs not served by the PRRO, up to the end of February 2005.

Complementary activities

GOAL views these activities with WFP as the stepping stone to consolidating a variety of activities in Nsanje, with particular emphasis on food security, agriculture, drought and flood mitigation.

Fortified foods

During JEFAP 1, with funding from Development Cooperation Ireland (DCI) and in parallel to the general food distribution, GOAL distributed Corn Soya Blend (CSB) to the most vulnerable groups during the hungry season months of January to May 2003. Further DCI funding saw GOAL establish a supplementary feeding programme in 21 health centres and 63 outreach clinics in Blantyre District. This included the training of Ministry of Health staff in the national guidelines and protocols. This programme ceased in May 2003.


FFW bridge construction in Chiradzulu

GOAL has had two programmes in the agricultural sector, both running during phases of JEFAP 1 and 2. The first entailed distributing seeds and cuttings of 'non-maize crops' to vulnerable rural families, to encourage crop diversification and the formation of community seed banks for sustainability. This programme, led by CARE and funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), involved training on seed production, multiplication, storage and post harvest management, including food preparation techniques and organisational capacity building. This ran from late 2002 to June 2004.

A second programme, funded by the FAO, involved working at two established government run Nutritional Rehabilitation Units (NRUs), one in Blantyre and one in Chiradzulu. Based at the NRUs, GOAL trained two 'Home Garden Managers' in establishing vegetable gardens and livestock production, as well as training 'carers' in home garden techniques to support malnourished children. In addition, 1,500 families were supplied with an FAO starter pack of seeds and tools to help support the recovery and sustain the health of the children attending the NRUs after their discharge. GOAL involvement ended in May 2004 when the programme was handed over to a committee at each of the NRUs for future development and functioning. This project is now being implemented by GOAL at two more NRUs in the districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa.


The District Assembly has donated the former Presidential State House rent-free for three and a half years for GOAL to use as an operational base, in return for the investment made in rehabilitating the building.


Finally, GOAL commenced activities under the EU funded Aids Prevention and Positive Living Programme (APPLE). This is focusing on two transport corridors, one wholly in Mozambique, and the other, the Nacala corridor, running from Mozambique into Malawi through Mangochi and on to Blantyre. This programme aims to provide support in developing an integrated HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support network along the corridor running through the four districts of Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka and Blantyre. Two locations for Integrated HIV Prevention Care and Support services (IPCSs) have been established in Blantyre and Balaka. Both centres are now fully staffed and training has taken place to build on the capacity of personnel associated with the project around the corridor, involving both ministry of health staff and community volunteers.

Abase line survey was completed at the end of February to establish the capacity of health centres and local community based organisations, and to establish the levels of knowledge, attitudes and awareness on HIV/AIDS amongst primary school and out of school youth within the operational area. Community orientations with key leaders in each of the communities have also taken place. These meetings established how the communities are coping with HIV/AIDS, and the ways that HIV/AIDS can be tackled, with an introduction as to how the EU Apple programme can work with the community and health centres. GOAL has also equipped and opened three voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centres located within established health centres in the Blantyre district. The surprisingly large numbers of people received at all centres on their first days of opening for testing has been cause for great optimism.

For further information, contact Andy Nicholson, email:, or GOAL Malawi, email:

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Reference this page

Andy Nicholson (). Evolution of GOAL Activities in Malawi. Field Exchange 25, May 2005. p41.



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