Malawi: Evaluation of Environmental and Natural Resource Management Activities

Prepared for
Millennium Challenge Corporation
hydroelectric power in Africa


The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is partnering with the Government of Malawi to provide more reliable power at reduced cost to households and businesses through MCC’s five-year compact (2013-2018). Currently, Malawi does not have sufficient electricity capacity and is almost entirely reliant on hydropower with stations along the Shire River. Excessive sedimentation and weed growth disrupts hydro-electrical power facilities, causing reduced electrical output, load shedding, and higher power production costs. 

Mathematica is evaluating the Environmental and Natural Resource Management (ENRM) project, a part of MCC’s compact in Malawi that seeks to reduce sedimentation and aquatic weed growth in the Shire River and improve land use practices along the river. The project accomplishes this goal with three main activities:

  1. Procurement and operationalization of mechanical equipment to appropriately remove and store excess sedimentation and weeds from the river near hydropower stations;
  2. Grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in high-priority areas along the Shire to improve land use practices, intra-household decision-making, and women’s empowerment to reduce sedimentation run-off; and
  3. Establishment of a trust to provide a sustainable funding model to support additional programming post-compact to improve land use practices and women’s empowerment. 

Mathematica, in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute, is conducting an evaluability assessment to review and assess the program logic, implementation plans, and the proposed research questions. Based on the results of the assessment, Mathematica anticipates proposing a rigorous mixed-methods evaluation approach that will answer research questions separately for each activity and evaluate the effect of the overall ENRM project. The comprehensive evaluation approach will include examining program implementation as well as estimating changes in outcome measures over time such as head pond availability, weed growth, and water turbidity; the frequency and duration of power outages; and the operational and mechanical costs of hydropower stations.