Happy together: Mary returns to her family after seven years

Mary Lingisoni, 11 (centre),with her sisters, father and step mother
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Andrew Brown

Mary Lingisoni, 11, lives with her two older sisters, Agnes and Ellen, father and stepmother in a township on the edge of Lilongwe. It’s a very normal Malawian set up. The family rent a small brick two-bedroom house, with a sparsely furnished lounge and front porch. The girls sleep in one room and their parents in the other. Their father does odd jobs in construction. The township is like a dense village, with narrow dirt roads weaving between tightly packed houses. Chickens and goats roam freely and women walk to water kiosks with large plastic buckets on their heads.

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Building blocks: Aness looks forward to her new classroom

Aness observes construction of the new classrooms at Nankhali Primary School
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Amos Gumulira

It is a hot, dry and windy day at Nankhali school, on the edge of Lilongwe. Most of the school is outdoors, with classes held under trees. Wherever there is a tree, dozens of children in blue school uniforms sit on the bare earth ground around a teacher, with a blackboard leant against the tree trunk.

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Drones vs mosquitos: using high and low-tech to fight malaria

Michelle Stanton pilots a drone as part of the malaria prevention project
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Andrew Brown

In the middle of a muddy field next to a reservoir in Kasungu District, a team of scientists are hard at work. Boxes of equipment lie scattered around a patch of dry ground, where Lancaster University’s Michelle Stanton programmes an automated drone flight into a laptop perched on a metal box. The craggy peak of Linga Mountain (‘watch from afar’ in the local language) looms over the lake, casting its reflection in the water. A local cattle farmer stops with his herd to watch the unusual activity.
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Leading role: Head Teachers Association improves schools

Headmaster Pemba (left) with members of Kwiputi Primary School’s Learners Council
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Eldson Chagara

In the packed earth yard at the centre of Kwiputi Primary School, a group of girls gather to practice netball, ahead of a district competition. The pitch is rudimentary, with goal posts made from wooden poles with scrap motorbike wheel rims attached to the top. The girls shout out to each other, with team coach Samayat, 14, giving directions. Rain clouds gather ominously overhead, but the girls keep on playing. Suddenly Samayat gets a clear shot at the goal ring, throws the ball, and scores.

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Back to school: Mother Group helps children get an education

Potato seller Rosie is a member of the Kampini School Mother Group
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Eldson Chagara

An unusual sight greets visitors to Headmaster Emmanuel Mabwera’s house at Kampini Primary School, Dedza. The front room has been converted into a workshop for the Mother Group, which coordinates between the school and local community. Old fashioned sewing machines sit on desks, surrounded by old clothes and materials. The mothers are hard at work sewing sanitary pads for adolescent girls, to prevent them missing school during their periods.

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City under siege: preventing cholera in Lilongwe

Nazia Chimbenenga with her children Vanessa and Precious, who both had cholera
© UNICEF Malawi/2018/Andrew Brown

On Sunday 20 May 2018, Lilongwe became cholera free, following an outbreak that lasted four months, affected 388 people, and claimed 18 lives. Nationally, over 900 people were affected with 30 deaths. The outbreak was caused by unsafe water consumption and poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Unless these underlying issues are addressed, cholera is likely to return.

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Youth Out Loud: child journalism gives Rehema a voice

Rehema (right) and her friend Rita record a radio interview at Radio Maria broadcasting station in Mangochi
© UNICEF Malawi/2017/Eldson Chagara

The town of Mangochi sits at the southern tip of Lake Malawi. A bridge arches over the wide river that runs south from the lake. On the Mangochi side is a roundabout that circles a square brick clock tower from the colonial era, next to the white walls and colourful garden of the former governor’s mansion, now a hotel.

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Reverend Banda preaches God’s plan for marriage

“I use verses from the Bible to teach people about the problems caused by child marriages”
© UNICEF Malawi/2017/Eldson Chagara

On a bright Sunday morning in Dedza district, Reverend Fastele Banda takes to the podium of a large church. The aisles are full of people from surrounding villages, dressed in their finest clothes. A group of gospel singers in shiny shirts get everyone singing to build their enthusiasm. Then Reverend Banda starts talking, his voice becoming more animated as he holds forth on a subject that he is passionate about: ending child marriage.

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Chief Kapoloma fights to end child marriage in Machinga

Chief Kapoloma wants young people in his area to benefit from education
© UNICEF Malawi/2017/Eldson Chagara

It’s a hot and sunny afternoon when Chief Kapoloma visits the home of teenage Fatima and her mother in Aisa village, Machinga district. He strides across the baked earth of a dried-out river bed, wearing a traditional robe and circular hat over smart shirt and trousers. The area is predominantly Muslim and there is a small brick mosque among the houses, adorned with a white star and crescent on the minaret. A cockerel calls out from a straw enclosure behind one of the mud brick houses.

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Granny Maulana brews the best beer in Balaka

Meria Maulana with her grandchildren Estere and Francis outside the house they share
 © UNICEF Malawi/2017/Eldson Chagara

Meria Maulana is a small, shrunken old lady sitting on a mat outside a mudbrick house. Behind her, a makeshift football field has been set up on a cleared square of bare earth, with goal posts made from bamboo poles. A group of small children kick around a homemade football, ingeniously made from plastic bags wrapped in elastic bands.

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