UN Country Team and Agencies

UN Country Team

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is UN’s highest level inter-agency coordination and decision-making body in Malawi. It is led by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary General in Malawi. The UNCT drives activities at the country level and allows for all UN entities with activities in Malawi to work as a team in formulating common positions on strategic issues, ensuring coherence in action and advocacy.

The UNCT in Malawi comprises heads of all resident UN funds, programmes and specialised agencies. The IMF and World Bank are also members. Each UNCT agency is responsible for responding to the national development plans, as formulated by the government, to guide their own agency programmes. The UNCT Malawi system is structured as follows:

The UNCT in Malawi ascribes to the accepted principles and guidelines of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), which unites all UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments, and offices at headquarter level that play a role in development.

The UNCT works to support the Government in building and strengthening national capacities to achieve economic, political and social development. The UNCT is therefore responsible for ensuring the delivery of tangible results in support of the national development agenda of the Government and in line with internationally agreed principles and standards. This is done through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). See UNDAF Action Plan 2012 – 2016.

The UNCT utilises its comparative advantages and brings its unique, neutral and impartial role across the humanitarian and development spheres; its normative legitimacy and permanent presence in Malawi; and the breadth of its engagement, including its capacity to leverage resources.

The UNCT values its engagement with all stakeholders, including Government, bilateral and multilateral donors, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector. As such, the UNCT seeks to consistently build upon its position as a key partner, most notably by creating and reinforcing partnerships for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Meet our United Nations Country Team (UNCT) members in Malawi!

Ms. Maria Jose Torres Macho, UN Resident Coordinator

Maria Jose Torres Macho is the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi. She started her mission in Malawi in January 2018.

Previously, she served as the UN Senior Post Conflict Adviser and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Colombia, as well as the Deputy Head of Office for OCHA in the occupied Palestinian Territory. She has also worked for the UN in places like Rwanda, Guatemala, Somalia and New York.

Maria Jose studied Law in Spain and holds a Master in European Studies from Pontificia University of Salamanca, a Master of International Relations from Free University of Brussels, and a Master of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law (LLM) from Essex University.

Mr. Rudolf Schwenk, UNICEF Representative

Rudolf Schwenk is the UNICEF Representative for Malawi. He started his mission in August 2019.

After working with NGOs in Germany, he joined the United Nations in 1995 and worked with UNRWA in Jordan and with UNICEF in Niger, India, Denmark and Bhutan. He has worked in various programme functions as well as in operations, and has achieved sustainable results for children in Field Office, Country Office and Headquarters locations. Prior to his arrival in Malawi in August 2019, he was the UNICEF Representative in Bhutan.

Rudolf holds a Master in Modern Middle East, Political Science and History from Free University of Berlin.

Ms. Clara Anyangwe, UN Women Representative

Clara Anyangwe is the UN Women Representative for Malawi. She started her mission in April 2016.

Prior to joining the Malawi team, she was the Representative ad interim for the UN Women Rwanda Country Office, as well as the Deputy Representative. She started out in Rwanda as the One UN Programme Manager and was appointed Chair of the Programme Planning and Oversight Committee (PPOC). Previous experiences include working as the National Programme Officer for UNIFEM in Cameroon and conducting trainings on gender-based violence for peacekeeping missions.

Clara holds a Master in Agricultural Economics from University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Mr. Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Representative

Benoit Thiry is the World Food Programme (WFP) Representative for Malawi. He started his mission in September 2017.

Previously, he spent four years as Country Director for WFP in Niger. He first joined WFP as the Head of Programme in Burundi and has worked with WFP for 25 years now! Before joining the UN, he worked in the field of automatics, first in Belgium and subsequently in Burundi, as an advisor for the Belgian Development Cooperation.

Benoit holds a Master in Engineering from ISICH Mons, Belgium.

Ms. Won Young Hong, UNFPA Representative

Won Young Hong is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative for Malawi. She started her mission in August 2018.

She has over 16 years of experience in international and local development, as well as policy analysis, youth programming, and capacity development. Previously, she served as UNFPA Deputy Representative in Mozambique and the Assistant Country Director for UNDP in Bangladesh, as well as the Capacity Development Advisor for UNDP in South Africa.

Young holds a Master in Political Science from Kyung Hee University, an MPA in Public Administration from National University of Singapore, and a Bachelor of Law from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Mr. Zhijun Chen, FAO Representative

Zhijun Chen is the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative for Malawi. He started his mission in May 2019.

He has worked for FAO for about 15 years, serving in different capacities such as Irrigation and Rural Infrastructure Engineer at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Senior Irrigation and Rural Infrastructure Engineer and Investment Support Officer in Thailand. He joined the UN as the Irrigation and Water Management Officer at the UN Peace-Keeping Department in Timor-Leste in 2000.

Zhijun holds a PhD in Farmland Water Conservancy, a Master in Fluid Machinery and Fluid Power Engineering, as well as a Bachelor in Irrigation and Drainage, from Wuhan University, China.

Mr. Shigeki Komatsubara, UNDP Representative

Shigeki Komatsubara is the UNDP Resident Representative for Malawi. He started his mission in May 2019.

Prior to his current assignment, he was Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) programme advisor in the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA). He also regularly served as RBA officer-in-charge. Shigeki has also been Deputy Resident Representative in Ghana and Country Programme Advisor in the Regional Bureau for Africa.

Shigeki holds a Master in International Relations from London School of Economics (LSE) and a Bachelor in International Relations from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Mr. Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Head of Office

Mpilo Nkomo is the International Organization of Migration (IOM) Head of Office for Malawi. He started his mission as Project Coordinator/Head of Office in February 2016.

Before joining the IOM team in Malawi, he was the Head of Sub-Office at the IOM Musina Sub-Office under the IOM South Africa Country.

Mpilo holds a Bachelor in Public Administration from University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Post Graduate in Disaster Management from University of the Free State (UFS), South Africa.

Ms. Monique Ekoko, UNHCR Representative

Monique Ekoko is the UNHCR Representative for Malawi. She started her mission in July 2015.

Previously, she served in Ethiopia as the UNHCR Deputy Representative. She has worked for UNHCR for over 24 years in different capacities, including several managerial positions in over seven countries. She specializes in legal protection and policy.

Monique holds a Bachelor in English Private Law from University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, a Post-Graduate in International Shipping Law from University College London, UK and a Master in Maritime Law from University of London, UK.

Nonhlanhla Rose Dlamini, WHO Representative

Nonhlanhla Rose Dlamini is the WHO Representative for Malawi. She started her mission in July 2019.

Before joining WHO, she worked at the National Department of Health in South Africa as the Chief Director for Child, Youth and School Health. Prior to this, she was the National Director for HIV Prevention Strategies. Her experience is centred around policy formulation, programme design, and implementation of major public health programmes.

Ms. Dlamini is a registered Medical Doctor and holds a Master in Medicine, as well as a Master in Public Health.

Ms. Thérèse Poirier, UNAIDS Country Director

Thérèse Poirier is the Country Director for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Malawi. She started her mission in 2017.

Previously, she was the UNAIDS Country Director for Mali and a Diplomat at the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia. Throughout her career, she has worked in partnership with governments, the public and private sectors, civil society, international NGOs, development partners, the UN system and other partners, managing various projects in Africa, Asia and the Americas (Canada and the Caribbean) for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Thérèse holds a Master in Administration (International Management) from University of Québec (Canada) and a Master in Economics from University of Burundi.


UN Agencies in Malawi

FAO: FAO works with Government of Malawi to modernise and improve agricultural techniques for food security. FAO’s main contribution to joint programming in the UN system is through Cluster One of the UNDAF — driving efforts to increase food security, diversify diets at household level and defend against the threats of climate change, unreliable rainfall and impoverished soil.

FAO provides technical support to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, and the Department of Nutrition and HIV in the Office of the President and Cabinet. FAO is assisting Government to develop a policy wide approach to agriculture, where stakeholders contribute to a common set of goals; driven by Government and ensuring that food and nutrition policy is well integrated. FAO also builds capacity to implement this policy efficiently and monitor both the implementation and the results of interventions. Read More….

UNAIDS: UNAIDS is supporting the Government’s response to the AIDS epidemic, working in the key areas of leadership and advocacy, strategic information, monitoring and evaluation, partnerships, and resource tracking and mobilisation. UNAIDS leads the UNDAF cluster on HIV and AIDS, which comprises UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, ILO, UNHCR and WHO. This team strives to ensure that HIV and AIDS is included as a top priority on the nation’s development agenda. It provides support for the development of National HIV and AIDS policies, plans and institutions aimed at achieving Universal Access to HIV prevention, AIDS treatment, care and support.

UNAIDS has been instrumental in mobilising human, technical and financial resources as well as tracking how those resources have been used in the country. UNAIDS is the leading provider of up-to-date and reliable data and analysis. It tracks trends in the spread, management and impact of HIV in Malawi and places this data in the context of global and regional trends. UNAIDS support ensures that HIV Surveillance Systems are continually updated and strengthened. Read More….

UNDP: In Malawi, UNDP supports the Government to achieve the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy MDGS II as well as the Millennium Development Goals.UNDP and the Government of Malawi aim to build the capacity to reduce poverty by creating transparency and accountability in governance and focusing on areas such as policy and strategy formulation, programme implementation and monitoring and evaluation. UNDP provides Government with the tools to consolidate democracy and deliver social services more effectively.

Priority areas in UNDP programmes include

  • Localising MDGs and support to national and district level planning
  • Public Administration Reform and Capacity Development
  • Equitable economic growth and private sector development
  • Gender machinery and women’s empowerment
  • Climate Change and environmental sustainability,

Good Governance and support to participatory democracy UNDP facilitates Delivering as One, coordinates the UN family and other development partners to create a streamlined response to the Government priorities, such as economic planning, capacity for monitoring and evaluation, public sector reform and the decentralization of governance. Read More….

UNESCO: UNESCO has a presence in Malawi and an involvement in the One Programme in various sectors, including Education and Heritage.UNESCO contributes to Advocating and Supporting Quality Education for All through supporting the development of national policies, plans and management systems; statistical capacity building; Early Childhood Education, inclusive education; Adult Literacy, Girls in Science Education; Technical and Vocational Education; and Teacher Quality Education.

UNESCO has core expertise in the Development and Marketing of Malawi’s Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage.UNESCO programmes have resulted in the nomination of the Gule Wamkulu and the Vimbuza Dance as Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage for Humanity. The Chongoni Rock Art Area was created as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has also supported community radio programmes which serve as support mechanisms for all areas of the One Programme. Traditional knowledge is an important component of UNESCO ’s work, particularly as it relates to preserving biodiversity. UNESCO works with Government to nominate new sites for enlisting under the Man and Biosphere programme, for example Lake Chilwa as a Man and the Biosphere site. Read More….

UNFPA: In terms of Delivering as One in Malawi, UNFPA works closely with both UNICEF and WHO to deliver integrated solutions in youth reproductive health, streamline HIV and AIDS prevention mechanisms, as well as prevent maternal mortality. The data for development component of UNFPA’s work feeds into all areas of development. MASEDA is an invaluable and easy to use tool that provides statistical information for tracking all other areas of sustainable development. MASEDA is part of a joint programme on monitoring and evaluation, which includes UNICEF and UNDP. Read More….

UN-HABITAT: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UNHABITAT)mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable urban development with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Only twenty percent of Malawi’s population is classified as urban, making the country one of the least urbanised countries in Africa. However, Malawi is one of the most urbanising countries in Africa at 6.3 percent per annum,three times the global rate and nearly twice the Africa rate of 3.5 percent.

The urban population is expected to almost double by2020 and will overtake rural growth. Sustainable urbanization is now one of the most pressing challenges facing Malawi, as urban poverty increases.Programmes in Malawi include The Cities Without Slums Programme – a Blantyre initiative that is to be replicated nationally; the Managing HIV and AIDS at the local level programme and the draft of the Malawi National Housing Policy. In the future, UN-HABITAT aims to have a Country Programme Document as a guiding framework for future UN-HABITAT interventions in Malawi, in support of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. Read More….

UNHCR: UNHCR has been active In Malawi since 1986 when it responded to an influx of Mozambican refugees into the country — approximately 1.2 million – one of the largest numbers a single country has ever hosted. UNHR successfully repatriated the entire group. Malawi opened its doors to other African refugees in 1995. UNHCR deals with the logistics and management of running Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district, which houses over 10,000 refugees, mostly from the Great Lakes countries of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. This number includes the 2,800 refugees who were relocated from Luwani camp, 350 km south of Lilongwe, near the Mozambican border in 2007.

Approximately 1,200 refugees are scattered around Malawi’s cities. Together with implementing partners such as the Ministry of Health, the Government’s Office of the Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, the Jesuit Refugee Services, the Red Cross and World Relief Malawi, UNHCR provides basic social services, food assistance, and construction materials for shelters. UNHCR also engages in extensive repatriation activities, helping refugees to either return to their home countries, find secondary countries of residence, and opportunities for study. Read More….

UNICEF: In Malawi, UNICEF supports the Government to progressively realize the rights of children and women, with a focus on the most vulnerable children. The three main strategies of the country programme are:

  • To strengthen partnerships in order to leverage resources and advocacy to position children in national programmes and processes;
  • To improve the quality and coverage of basis social services for all children, especially the most vulnerable; and
  • To strengthen family and community capacities to protect, nurture, and care for children using participatory planning and communication approaches.

The UNICEF Malawi programme is structured around five areas: Health and Nutrition; Basic Education and Youth Development; Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Child Protection; Water and Sanitation and Hygiene Education; and Social Policy, Advocacy and Communication. Through these programmes, UNICEF supports programmes on young child survival and development, entrenching child-friendly basic education and gender equality, protecting children from violence, injustice, exploitation and abuse, and children affected by HIV and AIDS. On a policy level, UNICEF advocates for child rights in line with the CRC and other international agreements. In Delivering as One, UNICEF leads the Social Development cluster, working at national level and community level. Read More….

UN Women: In July 2010, The United Nations General Assembly took a historic step to create UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women will lead, support and coordinate the work on gender and the empowerment of women at global, regional and country levels.

The UN Women Mandate “Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations , the composite entry will work for the elimination and discrimination against men and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Placing women rights at the centre of all its efforts, the composite entity will lead and coordinate the United Nation system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide strong and coherent leadership to Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective leaderships with civil society and other relevant actors.”

UN Women started its operations in Malawi in October 2012, at the invitation of the Government of Malawi. Read More….

WFP: WFP conducts Targeted Food Distribution to households that are immediately vulnerable, due to natural disasters or HIV and AIDS. Food for Assets helps communities to recover from shocks by promoting agriculture, fish farming or soil and water conservation. WFP provides food assistance to the chronically ill,mothers involved in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programmes or households supporting orphans and vulnerable children. Malnourished children and their caretakers are assisted through the Therapeutic Feeding Programme.

School feeding has played a vital role in increasing school attendance, enabling poor households to invest in human capital by educating children. Supplementary feeding improves the nutritional and health status of malnourished pregnant and lactating mothers and moderately malnourished under-five children in poor and food insecure areas. WFP also provides food to refugees and displaced people housed in Malawi’s refugee camp, Dzaleka, in the Dowa area. Read More….

WHO: Through its Country Cooperation Strategy, WHO aims to focus its activities towards a more strategic role as adviser, broker and catalyst, building on synergies among health agencies and other stakeholders in the sector. WHO aims to respond to the priority health needs of the people of Malawi and move away from more routine activities that can be delivered by the sector as a whole in a more coordinated manner.

The main strategic priorities for WHO in Malawi have been identified as strengthening of national health systems development; disease prevention and control, including HIV/AIDS; family and reproductive health, including child survival; and partnership facilitation for health action. Read More….