At least 3 300 ultra-poor households in Balaka and Machinga are expected to receive money under the gender responsive ultra-poor graduation project to boost their lives.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati rolled out the project on Friday at Balaka Secondary School.
The project, which is funded by the Financial Access for Rural Markets Smallholder and Enterprise (Farmse) project, is worth K1.5 billion with contributions from Oxfam and Christian Aid.
On Friday, Farmse presented a cheque worth K729.8 million to Oxfam to disburse to beneficiaries who will each receive K225 000 to start or improve their existing businesses.
Kaliati warned the beneficiaries against misusing the money, saying if they do so, they will be removed from the list of beneficiaries and be asked to refund the money.
She said: “The beneficiaries are picked from the social cash transfer list to improve their economic stand, food security and resilience.
“It should be noted that there are many deserving households who did not have the opportunity to access the funds.”
On his part, Farmse programmes coordinator Dixon Ngwende said the programme is designed to graduate ultra-poor households from poverty through economic empowerment.
“This is not a revolving fund, but government expects targeted beneficiaries to demonstrate improvement in their lives by achieving what the project intends,” he said.
Oxfam Malawi country director Lingalireni Mihowa said the beneficiaries have been trained in business and financial management to equip them with necessary skills to manage their businesses well.
National Statistical Office figures show that 61.3 percent of the population in Balaka and 72.4 percent in Machinga are poor.