May 2, 2024
Working in Malawi towards a drought index-based insurance solution for farmers

Together with Tearfund, a Christian charity devoted to fighting poverty in over 50 countries, we are currently implementing a drought response scheme across Malawi, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Nepal. The project, funded with a grant from the Natural Disaster Fund (NDF) technical assistance facility—both managed by the Global Parametrics team—will set up a water balance index-based solution to support Tearfund's anticipatory drought response in the four countries.

Last week, Kay Tuschen, Head of Climate Resilience Solutions for CelsiusPro Group, joined colleagues from Tearfund HQ and Tearfund Malawi, as well as Eagles Malawi for a capacity-building workshop in Lilongwe. It was a busy week, with sessions delving into the humanitarian response-disaster risk finance nexus, parametric insurance, risk layering, and drought modelling. To support both our model product design and Tearfund's anticipatory action planning, a drought experience data collection with farmers was set up and piloted too.

The project has yielded many valuable lessons. Highlights include:

  • Risk transfer can be a vital and complementary tool for humanitarian organizations. It does require careful design and strong dialogue to develop a shared vision of a solution that works in the best interest of vulnerable communities.

  • Deep understanding of the local context matters. In this sense, data collected from farmers will benefit index design and drought anticipatory action plans. Additionally, frontline responders to climate-related perils have the most valuable experience. Having direct access to such experience informs our continuous work with humanitarian organizations and risk aggregators.

  • Capacity building is key. It may sound like a broken record, but mutually strengthening partners' understanding of parametric insurance and our own understanding of humanitarian response is the real driving force of this project. After this first workshop in Malawi, the content will be transferred to local teams in Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Nepal.

CelsiusPro Group, through our Global Parametrics team, is engaged in three ongoing projects in Malawi, thus making the Sub-Saharan nation a key country for the NDF—whose mandate is to provide risk capacity to support effective risk transfer solutions, ultimately fostering resilience of poor and vulnerable people.

We are looking forward to collaborating with various actors in a region that has been heavily hit by floodings, droughts, and tropical cyclones in recent years. The capacity-building and data collection workshop with Tearfund in Malawi is another step in the right direction.