At least 1.5 million people in the country are expected to benefit from Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP) this year, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social welfare has disclosed.
SCTP is a Programme that targets 10 per cent of households that are ultra-poor and labour constrained. The beneficiaries are selected once every four years.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency on Thursday, the Ministry Public Relations Officer, Lucy Bandazi said the ministry has scaled up the coverage of the program in order to benefit more low income earners.
“Over the years, the SCTP has been implemented in 18 districts targeting 201,872 beneficiary households with 810,000 individuals only, but now the programme has been expanded to cover all the 10 remaining districts.
“By the end of May, 2018 we will have completed enrollment of new beneficiaries in these districts.
This will bring the total beneficiary coverage to about 320,000 households with individual membership of over 1.5 million people,” said Bandazi adding that so far implementation of the program is progressing smoothly.
In the 2017/18 National Budget, a total of K1.5 billion was allocated to the program. However, Bandazi noted that the program is, to a greater extent, implemented using grants from donors and that about K16 billion was allocated to the program.
She explained that SCTP stands to smoothen consumption of ultra-poor and labour constrained households, improve nutrition and increase school enrollment of children living in the targeted households.
“Two impact evaluations have been done on the program, in 2012 and 2016, and have both reported great improvement in food security, asset accumulation and improved nutrition and welfare of the targeted households.
“Besides, there is also reduced child labour among children from these households and greatly improved housing condition for the beneficiary households.
“Others are investing in their child education through payment of school fees. The program also improves children’s transition into adulthood,” she said.
Further, the program spurs local businesses and improves the rural economy. Most traders in rural areas are growing their businesses from purchases by SCTP beneficiaries. This, in turn, is improving the economy of the country, according to Bandazi.