Data and evidence the way forward for positive social impact- IDinsight

IDInsights, a global research, data analytics and policy advisory organization, says data and evidence is crucial in improving the lives of vulnerable people as it helps in understanding problems, designing solutions in real time.
Frida Njogu Ndongwe, East and Southern African Regional Director at IDinsight said this during a “Learning Partnership Summit” with the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Principal Secretary for Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Roselyn Makhumula
The Learning Partnership Summit was held under the theme: “Strengthening service delivery in government through learning partnerships”
IDinsight built systems that have streamlined the Ministry’s Social Protection programs implementation and enhanced accountability structures.
They also built monitoring systems and dashboards that now enable decision-making teams to see clearly the impact of the Ministry’s programs at the grassroots level as well as updating and verifying household data to ensure the most vulnerable people are reached.
Frida Njogu Ndongwe, East and Southern African Regional Director at IDinsight

Ndongwe said data and evidence is used by governments to make informed decisions on where to put resources to help the most vulnerable so as to amplify the social impact.

She said reducing poverty and improving people’s well-being is one of the biggest challenges of our times yet resources dedicated to this challenge are not achieving as much impact as they could.
“This in part because decision makers sometimes do not have access to the best data and insights to ensure they are tackling the most pressing problems in the most effective and cost-efficient way. Few governments, NGOs or funders have enough resources to efficiently build specialised research, evaluation and monitoring capacity to guide their efforts.”
Principal Secretary for Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Roselyn Makhumula said the social protection system already covers 10 percent of the population and has had a substantial demonstrated impact.
“The Social Cash Transfer Program is the largest social protection program in Malawi – supporting 290,000 households and reaching up to 1.2 million individuals. We recognise the need for data, evidence, and accountability mechanisms,” she said.
She highlighted that in 2020, when COVID-19 pandemic began affecting vulnerable people due to slow economic activities, the Ministry collected high quality data, built new urban registries and applied cash transfer protocols that were previously only used in rural Malawi.
“It was an incredible feat! We were eventually able to provide direct support to over 185,000 households in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu. With technical and technological support from IDinsight, we analyzed household level data to reduce duplicate households and quickly identified ineligible households using IDinsight suite of approaches.”
She said the data and evidence helped eliminate mistargeting and wastage of government resources as targeting efficiency increased and exclusion was enhanced.
“IDinsight also designed and conducted the first rapid assessment of the Covid-19 Urban Cash Initiative – CUCI – post-disbursement and gave us insights and recommendations that informed decisions to improve the delivery of subsequent CUCI disbursements.”
In the last financial year, the Government of Malawi disbursed K2 Billion or over $2.4 Million directly to Social Cash Transfer Program beneficiaries.
More than 13 million people live in poverty in Malawi; 20 to 25 percent of those are categorized as ultra-poor-meaning their total annual consumption is under 125 dollars this is below the food poverty line.

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