Operation: Opération: Malawi



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
100% of refugees had access to primary health care
100% of survivors of SGBV received appropriate support
100% of population had optimal access to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services
100% of women received sanitary supplies
2018 planning figures
4 educational infrastructure will be improved; and 60 teachers will be recruited: 30% of primary school children, 60% of secondary school children, and 60% of tertiary school students are not enrolled in schools
400 people of concern per water tap: current figures show between 500 to 700 people per water tap surpassing the standard of 150 per water tap
15% of current laws are consistent with international standards relating to refugees: Reservations to the International Law, improve refugee status determination and protection standards refugee law and policy to be enhanced through advocacy, training and capacity development
10% of people of concern with access to adequate shelter: Decongestion of Dzaleka camp to meet safety standards. PoCs targeted to receive long-term/permanent shelter when relocated

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 35,331
2016 30,415
2015 23,489


[["Refugees",8982],["Asylum-seekers",25991],["Others of concern",358]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[4.43871604,4.41194171,6.24625509,14.05602103,18.11807959,17.50133613],"expenditure":[2.73036648,2.94750217,3.7456183,5.68901108,6.87898186,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[4.43871604,4.41194171,5.71283409,14.05602103,18.11807959,17.50133613],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,0.533421,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[2.73036648,2.94750217,3.26069035,5.68901108,6.87898186,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,0.48492795,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

In 2017, Malawi continued to enjoy a stable and democratic governance. However, the people of concern to UNHCR faced protection challenges due to a restrictive domestic legal framework as well as the congestion of the Dzaleka refugee camp. UNHCR pursued discussions with the Government of Malawi on finding an alternative site.
The tripartite agreement between Governments of Malawi and Mozambique and UNHCR on the voluntary repatriation of Mozambican asylum-seekers from Luwani refugee camp was being finalized.
The Multi-Year, Multi-Partner (MYMP) solutions strategy was developed and endorsed.  The Government of Malawi has also expressed interest in the rolling out of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).

Population trends

As of end of 2017, Malawi hosted 35,300 registered people of concern to UNHCR. During 2017, a total of 4,560 new arrivals were registered by UNHCR in Dzaleka refugee camp. The majority of new arrivals came from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 70 per cent of some 3,370 Mozambican asylum-seekers registered in Luwani refugee camp have indicated their intention to voluntarily return to Mozambique.

Key achievements

  • A total of 654 people had their cases submitted for resettlement in third countries, surpassing the planning figure for 2017.
  • Reception conditions were improved in entry and transit facilities.
  • MYMP solutions strategies, livelihood and child protection strategies were developed and endorsed for implementation in 2018-2022.

Unmet needs

UNHCR faced challenges in meeting the basic and essential needs of refugees and asylum-seekers in Dzaleka refugee camp, due to the increase in the camp population and the difficulties in identifying an alternative site. 

Working environment

Malawi hosts some 27,300 refugees and asylum-seekers mainly from the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa in Dzaleka camp, as well as asylum-seekers from Mozambique in Luwani camp. Restrictions on the freedom of movement and access to employment opportunities keep refugees in camps, which are being managed by the Government, with support from UNHCR and partners. Due to the congestion of Dzaleka camp, the Government has identified a new site in Katiri, Karonga. 

The national refugee law is pending review as Malawi is in the process of merging its refugee and migration polices. 

Lack of adequate resources have increasing effects on UNHCR’s capacity to deliver protection and assistance to people of concern in Malawi. 

Key Priorities 

In 2017 UNHCR operation in Malawi will focus on:

•    Strengthening child protection and SGBV prevention and response mechanism;

•    finding durable solutions, particularly for refugees in protracted situations; 

•    proactively advocating the Government to mainstream refugee education into the national system; 

•    reinforcing advocacy for local integration solutions in line with UNHCR’s Policy on Alternatives to Camps to ensure attainment of self-reliance;

•    implementing a livelihoods programme to support people of concern.