Partnership in action to tackle Covid-19


The work in disaster response is supported by SIM Malawi Project #96759 Malawi Disaster Relief

At the time of writing figures from the Malawi Department of Health show that Malawi has more than 12,000 active cases of Covid-19 and has suffered more than 450 deaths as a result including some prominent members of government.

SIM Malawi together with its partner Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) have been working to help alleviate some of the suffering the pandemic has caused, especially for vulnerable people and households

The vision of the Malawi Disaster Relief project is to “see Malawians who have been affected by natural disasters (such as, but not limited to, flood, landslides, drought, pandemics, and others) to experience God’s love for them through receiving rapid relief, and assistance for rebuilding. Together with our partners on the ground, SIM aims to provide fast response to those affected so that they can plan to rebuild after suffering substantial loss.

Pete’s Prayer Points

Please pray for

all the drought-affected, vulnerable communities in the Chikwawa area, as they deal with the threat of COVID-19.

SIM Malawi and EAM as they explore options to use the remaining funds to assist communities to respond to COVID-19 and the poor harvest last year.

more funding to assist more communities so that many people can come to see and experience God’s love for them in the provision of their daily needs.

“The scope for this project is immense,” said Peter Ong who heads up SIM Malawi’s Disaster Relief Work.

“It was initially established in response to a cyclonic weather event causing severe flooding, which occurred in January 2015. The floods affected 15 out of 28 districts, displacing over 300,000 people, killing about 180 people, and washing away an estimated 700 hectares of farmlands.

“Again, at the beginning of March 2019, a couple of weeks before Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique and Zimbabwe, another, unnamed, Tropical Storm hit the Central and Southern Regions of Malawi. Torrential rain for several days caused devastation on a massive scale, as lives, homes and crops were lost in an area covering almost half of Malawi. In total 17, out of the country’s 28, districts were affected, which equates to about 970,000 people affected. There were about 87,000 people displaced spread over 173 relief camps, with over 600 people injured, 60 people killed and 3 people missing.

Grandparent-led familyOne of the vulnerable, Grandparent-led, families helped by SIM Malawi and EAM

“Then in 2020 Malawi, like so many other countries in the world, was hit by Covid-19 and we felt it only right to ramp up our work in this area in response to the pandemic. The scale of this is illustrated by a recent report in which the Government has estimated that around 2.6 million people in the country will suffer from hunger due to food insecurity heightened by the pandemic.”

For some years now, SIM Malawi’s work in disaster relief has been carried out with partners such as EAM. This was particularly the case during the two major weather-related disasters and now, since the middle of 2020, the two have worked closely in alleviating issues relating to Covid-19.

Tiyamike help 1: Some of the masks that have been manufactured by the Tiyamike ladies

Over 1,800 households have been helped since the middle of 2020; this equates to over 5,700 vulnerable people who have received aid so far.

“The assistance we have given in these distributions so far have all been aimed at getting people over the initial impact of Covid-19,” said Peter.

“Each vulnerable household received a range of items, such as a 50-kilogram bag of maize, two litres of cooking oil, one kilogram of kitchen salt, five kilograms of red beans, cloth facemasks, a handwash bucket with a tap, one tablet of butex soap and printed material to inform people about COVID-19 Prevention measures.

“In addition to this, the project has helped in other ways. For example, 85 widows and vulnerable women and their households in the Tiyamike Sewing community (another SIM ministry) have been given one bucket (with tap), two bars of soap and covid prevention information, in response to the threat of the covid pandemic. A further 500 masks sown by the Tiyamike women, and funded by this project, were given to the medical clinic in KINDLE (another SIM Malawi partner project). Plus, a further 160 hospital gowns and 500 masks (all made by the Tiyamike women) were supplied to three government district hospitals and two church-run medical clinics.

“The response to this pandemic has seen real partnership working across a number of organisations with which we are linked, all aimed at helping vulnerable people for whom this aid has been vital.”

Project Leader: Pete Ong heads up SIM Malawi’s Disaster Relief work

One of the many stories coming out of this work concerns Mphatso Banda, a 75-year-old blind man who lives in a government-built house for the blind.  He struggles to take good care of his eight children and, due to his condition, is often neglected in a number of income-generating activities, which makes him struggle to earn a living to buy most necessities.

Through the SIM Malawi/EAM Food Aid programme, he received a 50kg bag of maize, a 5kg packet of red beans, two litres of cooking oil and a 1kg packet of salt in September 2020. This support helped his whole family have relief for more than half a month. He used maize to produce flour for cooking nsima and porridge, staple foods for many Malawians. Every morning he was able to have porridge with his family which gave him energy to start preparing his land for the planting season when the rains arrive.  He said that he saw this provision of food as favour from the Lord.

“Mphatso Banda’s story is fairly typical of those we are hearing about concerning elderly people in rural communities in Chikwawa trying to help support children and grandchildren,” said Peter.

“Life is often hard for them and this pandemic is making it even harder. We are thankful that, through the efforts of SIM Malawi and our partners, we can help in some way to make life a little easier for them. But there is still more to do, and we are praying, not only for an end to the pandemic, but also for plentiful rains which will lead to a good harvest in a few months’ time.”

Tiyamike help 2: One of the Infographics which have been produced by Tiyamike Sewing