CRS and UBALE Overview

Catholic Relief Services began working in Malawi in 1997 at the invitation of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi. Initial work focused on improving food security, with CRS carrying out Malawi's first programs with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) food aid.  Today, CRS Malawi implements food security, emergency response, nutrition, WASH and capacity building activities funded by both public and private donors throughout the eight Dioceses of Malawi.

CRS Malawi is working to deliver culturally appropriate early childhood development and health services to thousands of children, especially those affected by HIV and AIDS. In another program, funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation, CRS Malawi supports Catholic Sisters to improve their technical capacity in early childhood development (ECD), increase organizational sustainability, and enhance their networking and learning on ECD.

Working with the Catholic Church in Malawi, CRS has also managed to develop other innovative, high-quality programs to address continued health, HIV and AIDS, economic empowerment and WASH concerns. 




UBALE (United in Building and Advancing Life Expectations) is a 5 year USAID Food for Peace(FFP) funded project aimed at increasing the food security of vulnerable households; improving the nutrition of children under two years as well as pregnant and lactating mothers while strengthening the disaster risk management of communities.

The project is managed and implemented by a consortium comprised of several national and international organizations including CRS as the grant holder, Save the Children, CADECOM, and CARE.

Goal: To reduce chronic malnutrition and food insecurity and build resilience among vulnerable populations in rural Blantyre, Chikwawa, and Nsanje districts of Malawi.

Purpose 1: Vulnerable households’ income increased

Purpose 2: Improved nutritional status among pregnant and lactating women, and children under the age of two years.

Purpose 3: Communities are empowered to contribute to their own sustainable development

All the three purposes are pursued with the overarching goals of strengthening local government capacity, empowering youth and promoting gender equality.



UBALE’s theory of change is rooted in the Pathway to Prosperity Model. The pathway has different levels and farmers at those levels receive interventions according to what they need. In the RECOVER phase which is at the bottom farmers and communities struggling with post disaster recovery are assisted, on the middle is the BUILD stage where farmers with stable situations’ sustainable growth is built. At the top is the GROW phase where farmers that continue to grow their assets engage in competitive markets