The Directorate of Disaster Risk Reduction

 The division is responsible for implementing mitigation activities to reduce the impact of disasters. Most of the activities are implemented through projects. The division is responsible for the following projects: 

  • Disaster Risk Management Programme Support

 The Disaster Risk Management Programme Support to Malawi is a five-year programme from 2012-2018. It is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has the following three key outputs: 

  • Disaster risk management mainstreamed in policies, development plans and programmes at national level and implemented in 15 disaster-prone districts;
  • Data and knowledge on the impact of natural disasters collected and made accessible to decision makers in government, the private sector, civil society, and communities; and
  • Coordination mechanisms and implementation arrangements for DRM established and used at national level and in the 15 disaster-prone districts.

 Some of the activities currently being undertaken are the following:

  • Conduct mid-term assessment on the implementation of the DRM Policy to identify challenges, capacity, regulatory and institutional gaps and best practices
  • Finalize the DRM Bill (support to Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to finalize the bill)
  • Finalize the Operational Guidelines (OGs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Conduct an independent study on options for institutional configuration to implement the NRS
  • Support implementation of priority interventions of the NRS under Pillar II, focusing on community-based interventions
  • Develop a DRM source book for secondary schools and finalize source book for primary schools
  • Develop and disseminate social marketing tools on DRM targeted to children (board and card games, radio songs, film, cartoons, etc).
  • Develop Disaster Risk Management Plans for Kasungu, Luchenza and Mangochi municipal councils and Blantyre City Council
  • Develop 2019-2024 DRM Programme Support, including reviewing the evaluation report of the DRM Programme Support and conduct situation analysis to guide 2019-2024 DRM Programme Support
  • Implement priority disaster risk reduction interventions in urban councils aligned to the urban DRM Plans, DRM Policy and the National Resilience Strategy, including printing of DRMPs for Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu
  • Implement community based disaster risk reduction projects through DoDMA’s small grants scheme: provide grants for construction of 4 “green” safe havens
  • Develop a gender-disaggregated, open platform, DRM information management system for informing disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery (aligned with Sendai Framework)
  • Conduct a national DRM baseline survey


  • The Early Warning Systems Project

 The Government of Malawi, with the support from UNDP, has secured funding from the Green Climate Fund to scale up the use of modernized early warning systems (EWS) and climate information in the country. The project will work with communities in disaster prone and food-insecure districts to co-develop tailored weather- and climate-based agricultural advisories to be disseminated through ICT/mobile, print and radio channels. The project will also scale up best practices in community readiness to respond to disasters and mitigate key risks. Community-based EWS will be scaled up in flood-prone areas and capacities to use and respond to warnings will be strengthened at the national, district and community levels.

 The project is being implemented in 21 districts by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA), in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS), Department of Water Resources (DWR), Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES), Department of Fisheries (DoF), and the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM).

 The project has three expected outputs;

  1. Expansion of observation networks that generate climate-related data to save lives and safeguard livelihoods from extreme climate events
  2. Development and dissemination of products and platforms for climate-related information/services for vulnerable communities and livelihoods
  • Strengthening communities’ capacities for use of EWS/CI in preparedness for response to climate related disasters

 DoDMA is directly responsible for implementation of activities under output 3. A Project Coordination Unit (PCU) has been set up to manage the project, which is housed in city centre. The PCU is staffed by the following personnel:

  • Project Coordinator
  • Head of Finance
  • Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation Officer
  • Assistant Finance and Administration Officer
  • 2 drivers

 Some of the activities currently being undertaken under DoDMA’s component are the following:

  • Assess the existing community-based EWS initiatives including flood EWS needs of the community to inform the next stage of CBEWS project and development, printing and dissemination of national standard guidelines for CBEWS;
  • Site ad partner selection for installation of 33 community based rainfall and hydrological monitoring and telemetry systems;
  • Review of the existing EOC strengthening initiative and development of an action plan for the upgrading of the National and District Emergency Operation Centres;
  • Development of operational guidelines/ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for EOCs at district and  national level;
  • Review, finalize, translate and disseminate a disaster management training manual and communication strategy on disaster management and climate change for national and sub-national stakeholders;
  • Capacity building of relevant staff in community based flood risk management through exposure visits and training;
  • Support schools with training, resource and visibility materials on DRM and EWS through school clubs to disseminate EWS to communities;
  • Conduct DRM/climate change awareness campaigns through different media, including radio programs and annual media awards;
  • Support establishment and functioning of a gender-disaggregated GIS-based national information management system for disaster risk management to support EoCs;
  • Develop short-courses with tertiary institutions on EWS, simulation, EoCs, DRR, including training and support to student-led research; and
  • Development of impact evaluation baseline (including verification of existing baseline) to evaluate impact of the project.


  • Shire River Basin Management Programme (Phase 1 Project)

 The Shire River Basin Management Programme is a 15 year programme starting with a five and a half-year project that commenced in 2013 and will close in January, 2018.

 The overall Program Development Objective of the Shire River Basin Management Program Phase 1 Project is to increase sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits by effectively and collaboratively planning, developing and managing the Shire River Basin’s natural resources. The first phase project – the Shire River Basin Management Project (SRBMP-I) – will establish coordinated inter-sectoral development planning and coordination mechanisms, undertake the most urgent water related infrastructure investments, prepare additional infrastructure investments, and develop up-scalable systems and methods to rehabilitate sub-catchments and protect existing natural forests, wetlands and biodiversity, thereby beginning to address some of the most critical issues facing the Basin. The Phase 1 Project has 3 components as follows:

 Component A: Shire Basin Planning (US$ 41.6 M) seeks to lay the foundation for more integrated investment planning and modernized system operations for the Shire Basin.  The component would finance development of a modern integrated Shire Basin knowledge base and analytical tools, as well as well-planned structured stakeholder consultation processes, in order to facilitate investment planning and systems operation. 

Component B: Catchment Management (US$ 45.0 M): the objective is that targeted sub-catchments and protected areas are rehabilitated and managed for reduced erosion and improved livelihoods.

 Component C: Water Related Infrastructure (US$ 59.0 M) has an aim that new investments enable improved regulation of Shire River flows and strengthen climate resilience. 

 The department is leading the implementation of the Sub Component C2: Flood Risk Management (FRM), of the project (SRBMP Phase I). The Flood Risk Management Component focuses on undertaking water related infrastructure investments including interventions related to flood risk management. The FRM-Project’s key activities include: 

  • Developing national guidelines for community-based flood risk management; 
  • Facilitating the planning and implementation of flood mitigation and adaptation measures; 
  • Supporting the roll-out and connectivity of a basin wide flood forecasting and early warning system at community level; and
  • Improving the capability for flood early warning and emergency response by providing equipment to, and strengthen the capacity of, Civil Protection Committees (CPCs) at district, area and community levels.

 Some of the activities currently being undertaken include:

  • Development of national guidelines for community-based flood risk management;
  • Development of Area Intervention Plans for flood mitigation and adaptation in the two districts

The Project finalized implementation of “No Regret Interventions” in selected areas in Nsanje and Chikwawa following the January, 2015, floods.

 In its aide memoire which it issued following its mission in October, 2015, a World Bank Team issued a damning indictment on the department’s performance on its component of the project.  In fact, the mission’s assessment of the department’s performance on the project is the worst on the project.  This matter needs to be followed up to ensure that the department’s performance on the project meets the standard.



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2024-07-21 13:00