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Food & Hunger

A behind the scenes look inside emergency food distribution

This article was contributed by Bradley Dawson for World Vision International.

Welcome to Chikwawa District. Due to last year’s floods, and the ongoing El Niño induced drought, your crops have been decimated. A 'State of Natural Disaster' has been declared. Your family, neighbours and other communities need emergency food assistance. World Vision, the Government of Malawi and the World Food Programme are meeting that need.


Today, at Mthumba, you and 939 of your neighbours are receiving your monthly food distribution. This is just one of 46 distributions in the district, where 43,203 households are targeted. While you wait to queue, you learn about nutrition and health from World Vision staffer Richard. Additionally, the most vulnerable households are building irrigation schemes and planting drought resistant crops to build long-term food security.

Inside an emergency food distribution Body 1.pngImage: Bradley Dawson


Your Traditional Authority and District Council collaborate with Andrew from World Vision to ensure your community benefits. World Vision organises, trains and manages some of your neighbours into committees to support the distribution, these include: the Village Civil Protection Committee, the Food Distribution Committee and the Complaints and Response Mechanism Committee.

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Your Auntie Eliza brought her electronic ration card to make sure she receives her food. This card details her family’s demographics and calculates the appropriate food ration. This automatic system is an upgrade from the paper ration cards.

Inside an emergency food distribution- Body 3.pngImage: Bradley Dawson


Your Auntie Eliza brought her electronic ration card to make sure she receives her food. This card details her family’s demographics and calculates the appropriate food ration. This automatic system is an upgrade from the paper ration cards.

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Before you can collect your maize, beans and vegetable oil, a food monitor double checks the ration card. This quality assurance measure ensures accuracy and appropriateness of the food basket.

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Before you can collect your maize, beans and vegetable oil, a food monitor double checks the ration card. This quality assurance measure ensures accuracy and appropriateness of the food basket.

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Grateful, this matriarch from your neighbouring village waits in the shade as a younger member of her community helps gather her food basket.

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Your joy is reflected in the faces of other families who have also received their food ration. Despite the desperate weather conditions, your family and community will not go hungry this month thanks to World Vision and partners.

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This young lad helps your fellow community member transport her food ration back home. He earns about 200 kwacha or 50 cents for the 40 minute trip; helping to boost the local economy.

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Another neighbor works at the help desk, complete with suggestion box and hotline, to ensure accountability to your community. Should you require information or want to provide feedback, these mechanisms are in place to enable open, honest communication.

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Today in Mthumba, the only request was to extend the food distribution several additional months, as the effects of El Nino take hold. You are grateful for the food and the opportunity to voice your opinion.

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The views expressed here are not neccessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen.