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Loss and Damage in Malawi

At COP26 in Glasgow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon committed £2 million to Loss and Damage projects around the world. This was the first funding of its kind, with SCIAF receiving £500,000 for an innovative seven-month programme in Malawi.  

Prior to the programme, Malawi had suffered the losses and damages of several large-scale cyclones, including Idai, Gombe and Ana – all of which were made more severe and likely to happen as a result of climate change. Together, they destroyed land, lives and livelihoods, bringing untold suffering and leaving families with nowhere left to turn.  

This Scottish government funding was awarded to SCIAF working with Trócaire, Civil Society Network for Climate Change (CISONECC), Churches Action Relief and Development (CARD) and the Catholic Commission for Development in Malawi (CADECOM) in Zomba.

With our partners in Malawi, we began working with local communities in 2022 to identify their most pressing needs. A programme was then co-created to support families and communities with the skills, tools and monies they needed to get back on their feet, re-build infrastructure, and ensure further losses and damages would not occur.  

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In total, 85,000 people benefited from the programme in Malawi.  

In the most hard-hit locations, emergency relief was provided, including the provision of warm blankets and essential foods such as cooking oil, salt and maize flour. Childcare centres were rehabilitated using climate resilient methods, allowing children and young people to continue their pre-school education. And storm flood barriers were repaired, protecting communities from rising river levels during storms.  

In addition, there was a focus throughout the programme on non-economic losses and damages – exploring protecting and repairing cultural items or artefacts without a significant monetary value. A graveyard in in the southern region of Malawi is one such example, which was protected with flood defences on the request of the local community.   

This innovative Loss and Damage work has received recognition on the international stage and repeated interest from media outlets, including the BBC who visited the programme in Malawi in January 2022. This is wonderful for the people we serve, shining a light on one of the most important issues of our times and encouraging global action.

Beyond these direct successes, this programme serves as an exemplar case study for what can be achieved with Loss and Damage funding around the world – and the importance of governments to deliver on their commitments to support those impacted first and worst by the climate emergency.  

Supported by The Scottish Government

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