European Union (EU) Ambassador in Malawi, Sandra Paesen says there is need for the Malawi Government to harmonize the Social Cash Transfer Programme by looking into various features of the programme.
She was speaking during her tour in Balaka District together with the Ambassadors of Irish Aid, Hurry Cunningham and that of Germany, Jurgen Borsch, to appreciate Social Cash Transfer programme outcomes.
“There is need for government to harmonise the approach by looking into the needs of each district. For example, in districts where there are floods their needs will be different from districts where there is drought,” said Paesen.
“We have a very positive impression towards what the social cash transfer programme is doing to the ultra poor. The beneficiaries are able to point out what the money they get is able to do in their lives,” she said.
However, Paesen called on government to consider adopting the programme by putting it into its budget as a way of sustaining it.
The Irish Ambassador to Malawi, Hurry Cunningham concurred with his EU counterpart that the programme has been a success.
“I am delighted. We have seen that people are putting this money into good use: educating their children, starting up small businesses and buying fertilizer for their crops.
“We need this programme to continue as the country still continues facing numerous challenges. That’s why from last year, we introduced the lean season top up considering the various shocks that the country face from time to time,” said Cunningham.
In Balaka, the Social Cash Transfer Programme started in 2013 with financial assistance from the Government of Ireland and technical support from UNICEF.
By the end of this year (2019), the programme will reach out to over 10 000 households which translates to an estimated figure of 40 000 individuals.