The Irish Government has provided 1. 5 million euro (about K1.3 billion) to Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme, known as Mtukula Pakhomo, aimed at lessening poor households’ economic challenges.
A statement from the Irish Embassy states that the disbursement is the first tranche of a 2.7 million euro (about K2.3 billion) commitment that Ireland will make to Malawi this year.
Irish Ambassador Gerry Cunningham in an interview yesterday said as identified in Ireland’s response to Covid-19, social protection is a key policy instrument to protect vulnerable groups and mitigate the social and economic impact of the pandemic.
He said: “I am happy that our work in Malawi social protection is one of our main key interventions where we reach the furthest behind first.
“We are pleased that the Government of Ireland is able continue to work with the Republic of Malawi, especially in these difficult times by ensuring that Social Cash Transfer Programme beneficiaries continue to receive the much-needed cash transfers and on time.”
A total of 24 448 households are covered in Ntcheu and Balaka districts in the programme where payments are made electronically through First Capital Bank (FCB) and FDH Bank and each beneficiary has an auto teller machine card.
Cunningham said he was impressed with measures government has put in place to ensure that beneficiaries are safe from catching the virus and continue to receive their payments on time.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati in a separate interview hailed the Irish Government for the support, saying it will alleviate poverty among the two million beneficiaries who include the elderly, disabled and child-headed households.
She said: “Ireland is a good development partner and this support signifies the great value that the Irish Government attaches to our partnership. We will ensure that beneficiaries use the funds for the intended purpose to realise the impact of the support.”
The programme is implemented in the country’s 28 districts but Ireland supports Balaka and Ntcheu. Other development partners funding the programme include European Union, Germany, the World Bank and Malawi Government.
To date, Ireland has funded about 13.7 million euro directly to Mtukula Pakhomo Programme and provided lean season top-ups to households in Balaka and Ntcheu.
The programme was piloted in Balaka in 2012 and in 2017 it was upscaled to Ntcheu.
In 2016, Ireland entered into a second phase of a five-year mutually beneficial multi-annual agreement with Malawi Government.