Dzaleka Small Business

Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement


The Need

More than half the population of Malawi lives on less than $1.90 a day. Estimates say as high as 80% of people still live as subsistence farmers, surviving season by season by growing the food they need for household use. Limited capital often means that businesses or ambitions never take off.

But this does not mean there are not any good business ideas or entrepreneurs in the community. We have met many people who are operating successful businesses in the area, who employ multiple people and give back to their churches and other community initiatives in many ways.

The Strategy

Our local partner agency, There Is Hope provides us with initial vetting of business proposals submitted by refugees and people from the surrounding host community. We then work together to prioritize and select business proposals that receive startup funding from IAFR.

Together with There Is Hope, we monitor the progress of supported businesses over the course of 1-2 years, including personal site visits with recipients during our regular trips to Dzaleka.

The Goal

Our goal is to invest in 3-5 businesses each year in the Dzaleka region. We estimate each small scale investment to be $500.

The Opportunity

You can make a direct impact in the life of a refugee or host community family by financially supporting their business development goals.


In January 2022, our partners at There Is Hope gave out loans to 6 different groups. These groups included both refugees and Malawians, and about half of the beneficiaries were women.

The loans will help support different tailoring and carpentry businesses in Dzaleka Refugee Camp and throughout the Dowa district of Malawi.

After reviewing the progress of these businesses, we hope to have another round of loans in early 2023.

Location Served

Strategic Partner

There is Hope Malawi

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