What is the appropriate monitoring and evaluation approach to apply in Save the Children Malawi to achieve sustainability in food security intervention?

Salaheldin Elhag, SIT Graduate Institute


Malawi is a landlocked country and densely populated. According to the World Bank Report on “Malawi Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment Investing in Our Future” June 2006, half of the population live under the poverty line in 2005 and about 22% live in ultra poverty. The highest concentration of the poor is in the southern and Central Region which are the most densely populated. The country has been susceptible to different disasters that affect the food security and threaten the livelihood of the population. Save the Children US works in the Southern Regions. One of the programs implemented by the organization is food security. The food security program aims at providing vulnerable households with food and improves their livelihood by introducing irrigation and diversifying crop production in four districts Mangochi, Dedza, Balaka and Nkhotakota. The target household beneficiaries are those headed by children, taking care of elderly, households caring for orphans, caring for chronically ill, with disabled individuals and landowners. SC provides the irrigation, seeds and fertilizers and the communities have to provide land. The program is mainly funded by CIFF. The program started in 2004 with a total fund of more that $2 million. It succeeded in achieving food security for the beneficiaries but the sustainability becomes questionable.

The paper reflects on the current M&E system and its limitations to provide the beneficiaries with the tools that will increase their capacities and enable them to take over when the program ends or the funding stops. By doing so, the paper demonstrates a potential different way for achieving sustainability that is through implementing a Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation System.