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New project launches in Malawi - what are we doing there?

By Opportunity International UK

With over 75% of the population living on less than $1.90 a day, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the word. 80% of the population rely on agriculture to make a living. Farming is an occupation that faces increasing challenges with the effects of climate change. In January 2022 Cyclone Ana hit southern Malawi causing widespread devastation of homes and land.

Our three-year project, ‘Strengthening Systems for Financial Inclusion in Rural Malawi’ will provide access to finance and training – playing a key role in building resilience against the impacts of climate change and any future disasters. 

Smallholder famers living in poverty in rural areas don’t have access to financial services. They don’t have opportunities to save money, receive support and grow sustainable businesses. Rural communities lack knowledge and understanding to improve their farms and provide a stable source of income for their families. They’re at risk to the devastating impacts of climate change leading to uncertainty over their income – affecting their family’s health, security and education.


Over three years we aim to serve over 24,000 underserved people living in rural areas. And work with 1,200 community-based finance organisations to help them provide access to financial products and training.

Using digital solutions, such as mobile phone banking, we will provide financial services to people in rural areas.

We will provide training and support for clients to adopt sustainable farming methods that build resilience in farming communities, particularly against the impacts of climate change. We'll recruit community-based farmers to deliver training to their own neighbours and friends.

THE MOTIVATION – Meet Richard Chongo

“This project will strengthen rural households to generate income, access sustainable finance, increase food security and cope with external shocks.”

Richard Chongo, Country Director for Opportunity International Malawi, shares why he’s excited for this project…

“A lot of poor people in Malawi lack access to financial services. The financial inclusion gap is mainly in rural areas, where poverty is high."

By working with Village Savings and Loans Associations, Richard sees this project bridging the financial inclusion gap.

“The most important thing about the design of this project is that it brings together different components - listening to participants own contexts and aspirations.”

Richard is most excited about the Women in Business Peer-to-Peer Mentoring and Youth in Agriculture Mentoring. Which aim to promote the growth and sustainability of women and youth-led businesses.

The Tikondane Women’s Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA)

“It is no secret that even though everyone faces challenges in business, the dynamics of challenges faced by women and youth are different. We need to work towards achieving gender equality and social inclusion for women and young people in business.”

Despite Covid-19 delays and the challenges Cyclone Ana has presented, the project is moving forward with momentum. You can follow progress by signing up to our Enews emails or follow us using the social links below where we share photos, updates and stories from our clients.

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Benedette a soya and maize farmer

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