3.2 Case study: Preventing food crisis in Malawi

In Malawi, HIV/AIDS has increased affected communities’ vulnerabilities to food crises and other emergencies due to reduced labor capacity, increased food insecurity, increased expenditure needs and reduced social capital due to stigma. CARE’s SMIHLE (Supporting and Mitigating the Impact of HIV/AIDS for Livelihood Enhancement) project aims to strengthen food and income security within the context of HIV/AIDS. The programme targets the most vulnerable households-especially female or child-headed, households that have taken in OVC (Orphans and other vulnerable children) and those caring for chronically ill people. Working with community-based organisations, the programme reaches 30,000 households (420,000 people) and 165,000 secondary beneficiaries in six traditional authorities in Lilongwe and Dowa.

SMIHLE’s main activities focus on improving livelihoods and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS through agriculture support and seed multiplication, marketing, VS&L (Voluntary savings and loans), natural resource management interventions, and through building the capacity of village-based coordinating structures. The SMIHLE project has been successful in raising the standard of living for rural communities through improved food security and increased income, which makes affected communities less vulnerable to food shortages and other emergencies.