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The Malawi growth development strategy features as a priority the development of transport and ICT as pivotal to accelerating growth of other sectors and acting as enablers for poverty reduction and wealth creation. The country aims at making the transport system safe, affordable and sustainable while enhancing economic competitiveness of the country. Efficient transport systems are associated with economic and social benefits that result in multiplier effects such as improved accessibility to markets, employment and enhanced investments. Malawi’s infrastructure and transport system has improved and has the potential to change the livelihoods of people close to the developed facilities.

The government of Malawi signed an agreement with Vale logistics limited in 2011 for the construction of a 20.5 tons axle load railway through a 30 year public private partnership agreement.  This followed an integrated logistic corridor that comprises of 912 kilometres railway connecting Tete, Moatize Coal mine, through Malawi, to Port Nacala, a Velha Multi user Terminal financed by Vale. The Nacala Corridor project started in 2012 by Brazilian conglomerate Vale and Mozambique’s State port and railway operator CFM, with support from Mitsui of Japan and it stretches from Chipata, Zambia, through Liwonde and then to the Indian Ocean. For Malawi, Nacala corridor provides a shorter access to the sea. The development of this corridor has changed people’s lives as their livelihoods have started revolving around the developed infrastructure. While acknowledging this change, some people living along this corridor do not have the capacity to earn a living due to high illiteracy, at times causing them to extract some of the materials from the railway to make hoes and other materials making the railway costly to maintain. Infrastructure development also brings with it a burst of small and medium enterprises and some of the households need capacity strengthening and empowering for their improved livelihoods.

Youth in Agriculture and Economic Development will build the capacity of the communities living along this corridor in Malawi to find sustainable ways of living while making the corridor beneficial to them and ensuring that maintenance costs of the railway system due to vandalism remain considerably low. This will be done through vocational skills and business management and the provision of basic education. The project is targeting 300 people to be trained in basic education (150), business management (75) and vocational skills (75). The project will further civic educate 600 community members on railway system safety and proper management.

The proposed project will be implemented along the corridor in Liwonde-Machinga district, Neno district, Balaka district and Chikwawa district and will be guided by the following objectives:

  • To create community awareness on railway system safety and infrastructure development
  • To economically empower local communities in vocational skills and business management
  • To raise the literacy levels of community through the provision of basic education

The project will achieve the outlined objectives through the following activities: formation of business groups, training of business group members on business management; needs assessment on vocational skills needed; skills training on vocational courses, orientation and community awareness meetings with community structures and members on railway system safety, and training the beneficiaries in basic education - English and Mathematics.



2.1. Context Issues for Malawi

Malawi has a population of about 18 million inhabitants, 85 percent of whom live in rural areas. It is estimated that 20.4% of this population is unemployed and poverty is high with half the population living below the poverty line and the degree of income inequality is very high. Malawi’s population is youthful with approximately half of the population below the age of 15, and up to 73 percent below the age of 30 years. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, which contributes close to a third of the country’s GDP and employs the majority of the labor force and is also directly linked to the transport sector as transportation of produce is easier with improved roads. As of 2017, Malawi was rated on position 135 out of 138 economies, indicating that there is room for further development of the infrastructure system.

As reported by World Bank (2004), Malawi is a small, landlocked country whose development depends on transit solutions in neighboring countries to access gateways to international markets. Malawi enjoys a good logistical position as Blantyre, is only about 300 kms from the sea.   Southern Malawi and Blantyre used to have a good railroad connection (530 km) to the port of Beira in Mozambique, which is also the gateway to Zimbabwe and Zambia. However, upheaval in Mozambique in the 80s essentially cut off Malawi from its traditional trade routes. Today, Malawi essentially relies on three relatively long land routes to access international gateways: the road to Durban (2300 km), the road to Beira and the railroad to the port of Nacala in Mozambique, both about 800 km or more.

Focusing on the Nacala corridor, people’s livelihoods have been shaped by the introduction of such infrastructure. It is known that improved infrastructure has the potential to spur economic investments, due to easy mobility and access to transport facilities. However evidence also suggests that abuse is inevitable especially in communities where illiteracy and idleness is high. With the current youth bulge in Malawi, there is more that can be done to help the communities living in these areas that they may find a livelihood through empowerment and capacity building. This project will thus target a minimum of 300 people to build their capacity in business management (75), vocational skills training (75) and basic education (150) or otherwise called adult literacy that they can be able to diversify their income sources and avoid vandalism to the railway system. The project highly recognizes the role of women in the development process and will thus have a representation of 40:60 for men and women. Furthermore, instead of the communities mismanaging the railway, the project will also mobilize the community and offer civic education to the communities on the importance of the railway and how communities can all play a corporate role towards the management and safety of the railway.



The following are the objectives of the project:


  • To create community awareness on railway system safety and infrastructure development
  • To empower local communities in vocational skills and business management for improved livelihoods
  • To raise the literacy levels of community through the provision of basic education




The following are the project activities under each objective:


  • Objective 1: To empower local communities in vocational skills and business management for improved livelihoods

Activity 1.1: Beneficiary Identification

The project will be implemented in Liwonde, Neno, Balaka and Chikwawa and YAED will first identify beneficiaries that will be trained in vocational skills and business management. YAED will develop the criteria for selection of beneficiaries and among them, YAED will assess the families or individual financial status using a household identification form that will be developed. YAED will also check if YAEDs interventions are not a duplication of efforts of development partners in improving the livelihood of beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of the project will be verified through household visits.


Activity 1.2: Formation of IGA groups

YAED will mobilize the identified beneficiaries that need business management or entrepreneurship training into IGA groups each comprised of a minimum of 5 members. The groups will comprise of male (2) and female (3) people between the ages of 15 – 65 years old as they are among the most active groups of people in the community. These groups will serve as platforms where the identified beneficiaries within the specified age group will be trained to carry out different livelihood activities to improve their economic base. The groups will also be given a chance to study their own group behaviors to ascertain the possibility of running the IGAs as a team.


Activity 1.3: Training Needs Assessment (Target group)

The identified beneficiaries and the groups will undergo a training needs assessment so that YAED should establish the prerequisite knowledge of the beneficiaries before any intervention has been done. The assessment will be done through data collection tools that YAED will develop which the beneficiaries will respond to. The training needs assessment will be two fold – to allow for beneficiaries that would want to be trained in vocational skills and those that need to be trained in small or medium enterprise management. The data collected will be used to schedule the training programs and arrange for trainers in the various fields.


Activity 1.4: Training of target groups in business management and vocational skills training

The training process will start by the identification of suitable training facilities close to the beneficiaries and then YAED will schedule training courses with the identified beneficiaries in consultation with partners that will provide expertise. The training will include but not limited to group dynamics, VSL management, Generate your business idea (GYBI) and Start your business idea (SYBI) models (developed By International Labor Organization). The training courses will be offered to them based on the identified needs. Beneficiaries that will be trained in business management will be given a platform to develop their business idea and plans which YAED officials will assess and recommend for further development and improvement. Beneficiaries opting for vocational skills training will be attached to trainers that will build their capacity and engage them in practical sessions until they produce products that can fetch a market. 


Activity 1.5: Train and provide technical assistance to IGA groups based on type of business

The groups that have been trained will be given technical assistance as they are perfecting their business plans. Different coaches in different fields will be given a platform to engage the various IGA groups so that they understand the gains and losses while also making their product competitive in the local market. The IGA groups will be expected to perfect their plans after the coaching program. The groups will also cost their business plans ready for implementation.


Activity 1.6: Provide start up kits/IGA inputs for initiating income generating activities and vocational skills

The individual or IGA groups will be given start up kits so that they can initiate their income generating activities. The approved business plans will be used as a reference point for YAED to procure the start-up materials. For the individuals who have chosen to undergo vocational skills training, the materials that will be used during their skills training will also be procured at the stage. The materials will be handed over to the beneficiaries with the coverage of the media.


Activity 1.7: Link IGA groups to financial and Value adding institutions for savings and further business promotion skills to their specialized business

The individual or IGA groups will be linked to financial and value adding institutions for savings and business promotion skills. For sustainability, the project will identify potential markets and firms for the produce which can either buy the produce or add value to the products. 


Activity 1.8: Close follow-up, monitoring and assessment of the income generating activities/Pass-on

YAED will facilitate a proper follow up and monitoring of the individual and group IGAs and trainees in vocational skills training. YAED will come up with a sustainability plan together with the beneficiaries to ensure continuity of the small and medium enterprises. The groups or individuals will also be encouraged to pass on the knowledge, skills and some of the capital to potential people that can also benefit from the livelihood strategies.


  • Objective 2: To create community awareness on railway system safety and infrastructure development

Activity 2.1: Orientation Meetings with local leaders and community structures

YAED shall conduct orientation meetings with local leaders and community structures on the proper management of the railway transport system and infrastructure development. The local leaders include the Traditional Authority, chiefs, group village headmen and the community structures will include the area and the village development committee. These meetings will serve as buy in meetings to get the support of the gatekeepers of the community in the management of railway and the mobilization of the community to engage in other meaningful livelihood options. The targeted leaders will be tasked with the duty of engaging the communities to ensure safety of the railway while earning a proper living instead of vandalizing railway equipment.


Activity 2.2: Awareness meetings with the community on proper management of the railway system

YAED will organize awareness meetings with the community through the support of the local chiefs to civic educate the community on infrastructure development, a brief reflection on the policies that guide transport development and the responsibility of the community towards the process. The meetings will largely focus on railway safety messages to ensure safety of the railway system. The meetings will also serve to discuss the role of each member in ensuring that the corridor is well managed and used to benefit the entire community and Malawi as a whole. Proper management of the railway system will help to save the maintenance costs of the railway.  


Activity 2.3: Formation of local support groups to conduct awareness and monitor action plans towards responsible safety of the railway system


YAED will facilitate the establishment of local support groups or clubs that will be responsible for further awareness campaigns for sustainability of the program and monitoring to promote responsible action in the community. Two clubs will be formed in each district with the help of local leaders and community structures. YAED will train the clubs on how they can conduct awareness meetings and YAED will draw action plans with the clubs to schedule the awareness meetings with their communities. YAED will support the clubs with IEC materials and any other relevant that will be needed to conduct the awareness meetings. YAED will also train the clubs on how to monitor the proper use of the railway system by communal members. With the help of the local leaders, the clubs will be empowered to check, report and refrain people from any activities that have the potential to destroy the Nacala corridor.  The initial meeting with the clubs will center on introducing the participants on the concept of the clubs, outline their scope of work, clarify expectations, assign responsibilities, and discuss on follow up activities. After the initial meetings, the clubs will continue to lead in these meetings that will be conducted regularly, ideally once a month.


  • Objective 3: To raise the literacy levels of the community through the provision of basic education

Activity 1: Beneficiaries’ identification

YAED will engage local leaders, community structures and the community for the identification of people that can be enrolled for two basic education courses – English and Mathematics. This will build a community of literate individuals that can better understand development and these can essentially be used as resources in the community to better manage and monitor the proper use of the railway system.


Activity 2: Recruitment of facilitators

YAED will facilitate the recruitment of the facilitators that will be tasked with the duty to deliver the basic education courses. YAED will use already existing adult literacy facilitators in the project sires that were grained by the government. These facilitators will be identified from the community to ensure a smooth running of the classes. The facilitators will undergo a refresher training on how they can manage an adult literacy class, development of lesson plans and how to effectively deliver lessons. The facilitators will be on YAEDs payroll until the training is successfully completed.


Activity 3: Procurement of teaching and learning materials

YAED will organize the commencement of the basic education classes by procuring teaching and learning materials that will be used by the facilitators for knowledge transfer. This includes but not limited to teaching and learning text books, notebooks, writing materials, educational posters, and other relevant materials.


Activity 4: Training of beneficiaries in basic education

The beneficiaries will be trained in basic education – English and Mathematics. A training venue will be identified and renovated where the services will be offered in the community. These trainings will be conducted over a period of 10 months for the basic knowledge transfer of the two courses – English and Mathematics.




Activity 5.1. Media Field visits


There shall be media field visits to collect and document best practices which are coming out as a result of project implementation as well as what is working from the commitments from the project models. YAED shall mobilize media to publicize project impact and promote project visibility. YAED shall conduct the field visits in every district in all the four targeted areas.  This activity will be guided by the YAEDs communication plan, which will be developed for this project.  The communication plan will include all activities and timelines aimed at promoting visibility of the project. Participants under this shall be 5 media personnel from various media houses and YAED staff.


Activity 5.2. Video Documentary


The video documentary will be done by YAEDs staff where they will identify success stories in the community and document them to showcase them through communication platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the internet and other relevant stakeholders. The video documentary will seek to increase program visibility among various stakeholders. It is envisaged that the video documentary will also be used as evidence to engage policymakers to further invest in the people along the corridor. The documentation process will be facilitated by YAED staff with the help of professional video shooters towards the end of the project implementation period.


Activity 5.3. Program Stories

YAED officials will also work with the local communities to collect progress on field activities and success stories arising from the communities. These program stories will be shared with media houses in the local community and other media houses with national coverage to popularize the impact of the capacity building initiatives and appreciate efforts to reduce vandalism on the railway system. The program stories will also be used as a platform to disseminate messages on the safety of the railway system.




Monitoring and evaluation of the project is a critical component of the entire management of the project.  The following monitoring and evaluation activities shall be done to help keep the project on track and understand the outcomes at various stages of implementation.


6.1 Development of a Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP)


The PMP is a tool that will help YAED to track progress on all project indicators.  The PMP will contain the indicators and targets planned at various stages of implementation.  The plan will help track the progress of achieving the outputs and process indicators. The monitoring and evaluation officer will be in charge of the development of the PMP and tracking of project indicators.


  • Monthly Data Collection


In the project, data collection will be one of the key monitoring activities.  A monthly data collection form will be developed, whereby it will be used to collect and report project progress on key indicators at the community level.  The project will designate youth volunteers to collect and submit the monthly progress data.


  • Follow-up interviews with local support clubs, local leaders, community structures and beneficiaries


Follow up visits shall be made to local support clubs, local leaders, community structures and other beneficiaries to understand the impact of the project to those directly involved in the project activities. A total of three meetings shall be held one in each community at mid-way project implementation. At least 20 people shall attend each community meeting.  A sample of the targeted people participating in the activities shall be interviewed through key-informant interviews or focus-group discussions in order to better understand the impact of the project.  A direct beneficiary tracking tool shall be developed to keep record of all direct beneficiaries and this will help to identify a sample for follow up.


  • Review Meetings

A total of six joint review meetings shall be done with all stakeholders in each district with the people who have responsibilities in the program with regard to implementation progress and the effectiveness of the strategies and methodologies. Each meeting shall be attended by a minimum of 30 people within each community including some of the project beneficiaries. These review meetings will be held in every quarter in each district.


  • Stakeholders Meetings

YAED will have buy in meetings with stakeholders at district level to present the project, share project models and seek input in the project strategies. YAED will arrange meetings with heads of departments for line ministries, sector heads of the CSO network and the District Executive Committee. The heads of departments from line ministries shall include officials from the District Education Office, the District Community Development Office, the District Youth Office, the District Social Welfare Office and the District Labor Office. YAED will also arrange meetings with the ADC and VDCs in the selected districts to present the project and solicit their support towards project activities.


  • Baseline Assessment

YAED will in the first two months of the project conduct a baseline survey to establish baseline values for the project. These values will set benchmarks for assessment at the end of the project. This baseline assessment will involve a number of methodologies which include Focus Group Discussions, Interviews, and a survey with both direct and indirect beneficiaries of the project. The tools will be developed and pretested before the actual baseline assessment is done. The results of the assessment will help to feed into the performance monitoring plan to set the targets of the project.