A growing partnership
Malawi is a small landlocked country in southern Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in Africa and therefore the world. The population of over 16 million mostly live in rural areas and are subsistence farmers. 65% of the population live below the poverty line and on less than £1 a day. Only 8% of children complete secondary education; most don`t complete primary.
The country has few natural income-earning resources and has always struggled economically. In recent years it has also become very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with a succession of poor harvests. Malnutrition leading to stunted growth is currently affecting nearly 40% of all children. Yet it is peaceful, has no tribal or faith based tensions (unlike many parts of Africa) and its people have a wonderful resilience born of an obvious and vibrant faith. It is known as `the warm heart of Africa`.
For more than 50 years the CofE Birmingham has been partnered with the Anglican church in Malawi. The partnership involves friendship, prayer, mutual support and encouragement with quite frequent visits being made by personnel in both directions. Every year, as part of this, the people of Birmingham help financially to support priestly ministry in Malawi and vital items such as children`s clothes are shipped over by container lorry. In many years there are also `skills share exchanges` (eg between teachers) and sometimes CofE Birmingham supports specific projects (not least environmental or educational). Importantly, we receive from the people of Malawi as well as giving to them – not least in terms of learning from their examples of dependence upon God (rather than our materialism) and of being inspired by their open expression of faith and their stories of resilience.
Some CofE Birmingham parishes have specific partnerships with parishes in Malawi offering an opportunity for more particular mutual support and inspiration.
If you would like to know how you can get involved, please contact the Revd Paul Bracher, Malawi Partnership Officer.
Response to Cyclone Freddy
From 12–15 March, Cyclone Freddy ripped through much of Southern Malawi. Hundreds have lost their lives, many more have been injured, countless thousands have lost homes and livelihoods and more than half a million people have been displaced.
This is the latest in a series of severe cyclones to hit Malawi in recent years but, uniquely, Cyclone Freddy has devasted urban as well as rural areas. It has probably been both the most intense and also the longest lasting cyclone in Southern Hemisphere history.
The Anglican Council of Malawi (ACM) is presently working on a response plan to this emergency and the Malawi Task Group in Birmingham Diocese has already committed an initial £6000 to ACM. Other organisations such as MACS (Malawi Association for Christian Support) are also likely to be contributing to the ACM response. We would encourage all CofE Birmingham parishes and churches to consider responding as well. Contributions should be sent to
Diocese of Birmingham Malawi Fund
Sort code: 12 05 65
Ref: Cyclone Freddy
All donations will be added to the £6000 already being sent. The ACM appeal document (or a summary) will be posted on the CofEB website when finalised.
In addition to direct financial support, in the light of the cyclone, it is likely that the church in Malawi will ask for particular items to be sent on this year`s Container Lorry. Further details will be posted when received.
Prior to Cyclone Freddy, the Malawi Task Group had already agreed to support certain roofing projects and these become even more pertinent in the light of the cyclone.