Strengthening the Social Cash Transfer Programme in Malawi

In Malawi, civil society organisations strengthened the government-led Social Cash Transfer Programme, in two pilot projects. They will be scaled up to seven districts. Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) supports this initiative.

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme

The Government of Malawi, with support of its development partners, initiated the Malawi Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Programme, in 2006. It provided small cash grants to ultra-poor and labour-constrained households. Currently, the SCT Programme covers seven districts and reaches over 26,000 households and approximately 103,000 individuals. Objectives of the SCT Programme include the reduction of poverty and hunger and increased school enrolment of children.

The Strenghtening Project

An independent evaluation of the pilot SCT Programme in Malawi revealed several critical capacity gaps in the implementation at district level. To address some of these gaps, four civil society organisations in Malawi, with support of Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!), designed and implemented the one-year Strengthening Project in Chitipa district (2010) and in Mangochi district (2011). It aimed to improve the management and implementation of the SCT Programme and enhance the commitment of those involved, at the national, district, and community level. Moreover, it aspired to strengthen linkages of programme beneficiaries to other social support services. The project’s results include acceleration of management changes and improved benefits for HIV and AIDS affected households.

The four collaborating organisations were: Network of Organizations for Vulnerable and Orphaned Children (NOVOC), Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (CEYCA), YouthNet and Counselling (YONECO), and Institute for Policy Research and Social Empowerment (IPRSE ).

Lessons learnt

Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) commissioned an independent evaluation  to explore and document the lessons learnt in the Strengthening Project. In short, we have learnt that the involvement of civil society organisations in a government-led Social Cash Transfer Programme

  1. Significantly contributes to the effectiveness of the programme;
  2. Accelerates change;
  3. Is even more powerful when organisations work in partnerships;
  4. May enhance community awareness and empowerment through Action Research;
  5. Supports the strengthening of advocacy and lobby skills; and6. Facilitates the successful introduction of new tools.

Read more about the lessons learnt

Follow-up project

Several donors are interested in funding the Malawi SCT Programme’s extension to other districts. What is more, the two involved Malawian ministries and several donors attach great value to the continued involvement of civil society organisations in the Programme. Hence, Aidsfonds (previously STOP AIDS NOW!) and the local partners have formulated a new proposal for a three-year project, starting mid 2013, to be implemented in the seven districts in which the SCT Programme runs.