Next to Pacific, Area 14
PO Box 1638
Lilongwe MW- MW
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PhoneA smartphone +265 1 774 233

Quick Facts

  • When Habitat started in Malawi: 1986
  • Individuals served in FY16: 34,555*
  • Volunteers hosted in FY16: 208
  • Housing solutions: New homes; Housing support services; Water, sanitation and hygiene; Disaster risk reduction and response

* includes construction and market development

Other facts:

  • Capital: Lilongwe
  • Main country facts: Gained independence in1964
  • Population: 18.57 million
  • Urbanization: 16.3 percent live in cities
  • Life expectancy: 61.2 years
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5 percent
  • Population living below poverty line: 52.4 percent

Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Malawi

Habitat for Humanity Malawi

Habitat for Humanity Malawi is a registered non-profit Christian housing organization affiliated to Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat Malawi seeks to provide shelter as one way of eliminating poverty and improving the lives of orphans and other groups of people; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to improve the sanitation status and wellbeing of slum dwellers; and Disaster Risk Reduction and Response to improve access to better and safer shelter for families living in areas prone to disasters. 

The housing need in Malawi

In Malawi, poverty is prevalent and about 4 out of 5 families in Malawi live in substandard homes with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. A typical village hut is built of mud bricks with a dirt floor and grass thatched roof, which requires frequent repairs. These conditions put the families at high risk of all kinds of diseases with leaky roofs making the house damp and mud floors attracting insects. There are about 1.5million orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi out of a population of 17.3million and approximately 21,000 new units are needed every year for the next 10 years to meet housing demand – this far exceeds supply.

Malawi has a high rural to urban migration - 5.3% per annum which is one of the highest in Africa. People are migrating to urban areas to look for economic opportunities. This trend has led to the rapid increase of Slums in the cities. 76% of the population in Lilongwe, the capital city leaves in Slums and with an average of 5 people per household and an average of 6 families per latrine results into quick fill up. 

How Habitat addresses the need in Malawi

Habitat Malawi provides new fully subsidized homes for orphans and other vulnerable groups. Habitat Malawi also provides Housing Support Services (HSS) to low-income people in partnership with housing microfinance institutions. Habitat Malawi strives to enhance the resilience of households living in flood-prone areas by supporting and enabling them to have permanent, durable and flood resistant shelter. 

Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Malawi:

Ophans and vulnerable groups (OVG)
The OVG program started in 2009 and to date, Habitat Malawi has constructed over 300 houses for the vulnerable families. The project intends to improve the living conditions for 450 OVG families and reduce their vulnerability by June 2018. In FY16 alone, 86 families were serves with decent housing. The services include: 

Improved housing: Two, three or four-room houses for vulnerable families including a ventilated improved pit-latrine to improve sanitation and hygiene. 
Malaria prevention training: Three insecticide-treated mosquito nets are provided per family. Families are also trained in good sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent diseases, including malaria. 
HIV prevention training: The training is aimed at preventing new infections arising from sexual exploitation, especially of the girls and caregivers. 
Vocational skills training: Provided to older children, especially those who dropped out from school. The package includes provision of tools and equipment, like carpentry or sewing machines. 
Property and inheritance rights training: Aiming to protect orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) from property grabbing, the training is offered to OVC caregivers and gate keepers. 

Housing support services (HSS)
The HSS project aims to increase resources available to low-income families, making it easier for them to obtain and develop decent housing, through the provision of microfinance loans and construction technical assistance. The project is being implemented in partnership with a Microfinance Institution. The partner offers loans to clients while Habitat Malawi provides technical advice. The project intends to assist 24,000 clients with housing support services by June 2018. To date, over 16,000 clients have benefited from this program across Malawi. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
The aim of the project is to improve the sanitation status and wellbeing of 450 slum dwellers in Kauma Slum in Lilongwe through equitable access to better sanitation by June 2018. Over 1,800 families have accessed water and sanitation services since May 2014 when the project began. 

Disaster risk reduction and response
The project was initiated after the floods that occurred in the early months of 2015 and affected 1.1 million people, including displacing 230,000 people. The aim of the project is to provide shelter solutions that will assist in recovery and promote resilience by enhancing the capacity of the affected population. 

Meet a Habitat family

Thanks to Habitat Malawi, Alice Kadidigula can now sit on the veranda of her new home and chat with her children peacefully. “I am able to make plans in life like any other person in the community with no worries at all because I have a good house with beautiful paint that attracts a lot of people. My future and that of the children is bright and secure,” said Alice. The children are now living a healthy life as malaria cases have been reduced since Habitat Malawi gave them mosquito nets. Furthermore, diarrhea cases have also been reduced since a ventilated improved pit-latrine was also constructed for the family. Air-borne diseases are less frequent thanks to the air vents, cement floor, plastered wall and windows that make it possible to have fresh air. The children have a place for study and Alice is no longer buying grass for roofing and can use extra money to cover other basic needs of the family. 

What you can do

You can help Malawian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:

Donate: Go to and designate your gift to Habitat Malawi.

Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Malawi or lead your own. Contact us to learn more.

Tithe: Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 863800, MALAWI on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 322 West Lamar Street Americus, GA 31709 USA


To learn more about Habitat projects in Malawi or in other parts of the region, please contact us.

Habitat for Humanity Malawi

Colleen Hughes, Associate Director of Operations
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa

To learn more about volunteering opportunities in Malawi, please contact


Travel and Build

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Stories and news

Keeping girls in schools

We call for gender parity and commit to put young schoolgirls and women at the heart of our water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives.

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Safe and secure

"Not even in my dreams did I imagine living in a house like this," Jika told us after she moved from an unsafe mud hut to a new Habitat home.

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The Water of Life

Kauma Village is an informal settlement of over 33,000 people who live on the outskirts of Lillongwe, Malawi's capital. Because of its location, Kauma falls outside the normal services the Malawian government provides in Lilongwe and so many people living there lack basic water and sanitation facilities.

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Destitute and homeless

After the death of her husband, local laws forced Bertha and her five children out of their home. Now, they consider their new Habitat home 'a miracle'.

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