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Family strengthening program

Through the partnership A Home for a Home, Heimstaden supports, together with donors Norad, Grieg and Odd Fellow, family strengthening programs in 4 locations in Malawi.

Program: Family Strengthening 

Country: Malawi

Location: Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu, Ngabu

Focus area: Access to a safe home when growing up

Target group: Young people and children who experience abuse

Target group reached in 2022: 8000

Funding start: 2021

Malawi facts

Malawi is a relatively peaceful, safe, and politically stable country. However, the country is dependent on international aid and the progress in terms of development is very slow.  The population growth is among the highest in the world, and the population is expected to grow from today’s 18 million to nearly 50 million in 2050. 46 percent of Malawi’s population is under 15 years of age. 

Key challenges in Malawi

  • Vulnerability to climate changes.
  • Poor infrastructure, including lack of electricity.
  • Corruption and fraud at all levels of the society.
  • More than 1,000,000 children in the country are growing up without either one or both their parents.

Background, local need 

  • In less than a decade, the number of Child Care Institutions in Malawi significantly increased from 104 institutions in 2011 to 189 in 2017. The key drivers leading into institution care were attributed to failure by caregivers to provide necessities like food, health, and education; experience of abuse and neglect within a family set up.
  • Less than 5% of parents in Malawi have access to systematic parenting education and support. As such, children and young people in Malawi continue to experience abuse in domestic settings due to violent child rearing practices.  

Program description 

  • The program supports 8000 children in their own families to keep the families together rather than children being placed in childcare institutions or left alone on the streets.
  • When a family enters the family strengthening program, the first step is to assess the major challenges in the family, and where the family would like to see itself in 3-5 years. An individual plan is made together with SOS Children’s Villages Malawi.
  • Caregivers receive parental skills trainings where they learn about children’s rights and how to meet their needs, including prevention of violence against children, early marriage and teenage pregnancies. Caregivers are also trained in income-generating activities and saving and loan groups to improve the families’ economic situation.
  • SOS Children’s Villages Malawi works to ensure all children have access to nutrious food, education and health services. They believe in enhancing the caregivers’ capacity to care for their own children, and work closely with local community-based organizations (CBO’s) with support and training so that they in the end can take on more and more of the support to the families.   
  • Together with the government and other partners SOS Children’s Villages Malawi works to ensure that children obtain national registration ID and lobby the government to increase their social support to vulnerable children.

Overall goal and expected results

Children and young people deprived of parental care have an equal chance to succeed in life.

  • Families provide quality care and protection for vulnerable children.
  • Children and young people have improved learning outcomes.
  • Young people have access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
  • Government prioritizes implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. 

Read more about the work in Malawi

Hope begins with a home

Hope begins with a home

Life was not easy for the widow Gladys Harrison. She cares for two sons with disabilities, as well as four other children.