About 6 000 ultra-poor people in Nkhata Bay District have started receiving cash arrears accrued from May this year totalling K175 million ($288,118) from the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP).
SCTP, which is being implemented in Dedza and Nkhata Bay districts as a pilot project under Masaf VI, is designed to transfer unconditional cash to the ultra-poor and the incapacitated who cannot ordinarily work on the public works programme.
The programme defines the ‘ultra-poor’ as those households which barely eat or eat once a day, without or with poor shelter and those without household assets.
“We are going to see poverty levels reduced in the district. From statistics, 45 percent of the population are poor [in Nkhata Bay] and in this programme, we are targeting 10 percent of the poor population,” said Nkhata Bay district commissioner (DC) Alex Mdooko.
The DC was speaking during the transfer of cash to beneficiaries at Bwelero in the district on Thursday.
“We believe that at the end of three years, the beneficiaries are going to graduate from what they are today to another level where they can be safe-sustaining in whatever they do in their households,” said Mdooko.
He said some beneficiaries are receiving K30 000 while others are getting K50 000.
“Those that have the capacity should be able to start small-scale businesses and support themselves. Those that cannot make it, should be able to survive within the three years they will be getting the money,” he said.
Local Development Fund (LDF) Technical Support Team director of operations Paul Chipeta said the social cash transfer resources are meant to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable.
He, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to invest the money in asset creation instead of just spending it.
“We ask them to look for opportunities for promoting their livelihood through investing in some asset creation and not just spending the resources as they come,” Chipeta said. n