pakachere-malawi.jpgMalawi Health Communication Environment

  • Population:
  • Population below the poverty line:
    55% (2004 est)
  • Age structure:
    0-14 years: 46.5% (male 3,056,522 / female 3,000,493)
    15-64 years: 50.8% (male 3,277,573 / female 3,332,907)
    65 years and over: 2.7% (male 139,953 / female 206,478) (2006 est.)
  • Literacy rate:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 62.7%
    male: 76.1%
    female: 49.8% (2003 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate:
    total: 94.37 deaths / 1,000 live births
    male: 98.66 deaths / 1,000 live births
    female: 89.96 deaths / 1,000 live births (2006 est.)
  • Life expectancy rate:
    total population: 41.7 years
    male: 41.93 years
    female: 41.45 years (2006 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:   
    14.2% (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:   
    900,000 (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - deaths:   
    84,000 (2003 est.)
  • Languages:  
    Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)

Our History

PSI Malawi started working with Soul City in 2001 as part of a five year Regional Programme across 8 SADC countries, funded by EU, DFID, RNE, BP and Irish Aid.

Our Mission and objectives

Pakachere is a branded, mass-media communications initiative aimed at re-aligning social norms, behaviours and attitudes to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviour practices. Pakachere utilises radio, television and print to attain its objectives. Although the main focus of Pakachere is HIV/AIDS prevention, the initiative covers other issues such as domestic violence, bullying in schools, and housing problems. Pakachere aims at reaching all Malawians, especially those in rural areas, with many of the topics discussed having broad and universally relevant appeal.

Our philosophy

Pakachere aims at promoting an 'edutainment' model while building local Malawian capacity to manage and develop effective multi-media communication campaigns.

The Malawi government has committed itself to advancing a public health based response and specifically commits itself to halting and reversing the trend in HIV spread through communication for effective behaviour change. Pakachere complements Malawi’s National Plan which acknowledges that HIV prevention and social mobilisation are integral to the success of the HIV programme in the country. The objective of the regional programme is to reduce the spread of HIV in general population by 3 percent over a period of five years.

What we’ve done

Pakachere has to date developed and distributed the following media products as part of the Regional Programme.

Two booklets in English and Chichewa. The first booklet entitled Living Positively with HIV and /AIDS and a second booklet HIV and AIDS and Treatment have a combined distribution of nearly 3 million copies.

Pakachere has produced a 45-episode radio series in Chichewa. This was broadcast via the national broadcaster which reaches 80 percent of Malawians.

Two television talk-show series of 13 episodes each were broadcast on national television in 2004 and 2005. A third series aired in July 2006.

Our Evaluation Outcomes

In Malawi 87% of males and 74% of females recognise the local brand (Pakachere) after only 2 years of exposure. 81% of males and 67% of females have listened to the local radio production, whereas 49% of males and 42% of females have seen or read the locally produced booklet on Living Positively with HIV and AIDS.

Table 1: Exposure to Pakachere, Malawi

Exposure to Pakachere:



Female (1342)

Ever heard of Pakachere



Ever heard the Pakachere radio show



Ever seen the Pakachere TV show



Ever seen the “Living Positively with HIV/AIDS” booklet



Know the Pakachere slogan, “Pothera Nkhani”



Mean total exposure score for Pakachere out of 13 (intensity, frequency and duration)






Extensive qualitative formative audience research of PAKACHERE material has been done and various spontaneous accounts of self-reported impact have been documented:

“It is good; you should be teaching us on these things through the radio. These plays are useful to us; we can leave some things we do in life.” (Radio series 2, Rural, male participant, Malawi)

“…it’s teaching us about a lot of things including AIDS [referring to Pakachere TV talk show], and the way people can stay in marriage. That’s why it’s called Pakachere, because Pakachere is a place where you meet people and discuss a lot of issues …” (Rural Female)

“The drama should continue and not be stopped because it is good and it teaches us - the youth - on how to prevent AIDS. (Mzimba, male participant)

Contact us

Programme Manager
Mr Simon Sikwese
+265 1 876762 (w)
+265 1 8674 138 (f)
+265 9 963 305 (m)

PSI/Malawi, Ex-Import & Export Building
Macloud Road
Makata Industrial Area
P.O.Box 529
Blantyre, Malawi.

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