Cash transfers positive success for Concern Malawi

Cash transfers positive success for Concern Malawi

A research paper entitled "Making the Most of It: A Regional Multiplier Approach to Estimating the Impact of Cash Transfers on the Market [Malawi]" has been published by Concern. The scope and findings of the report are detailed below.

Click here to read the full report (pdf).

How it works

Concern targeted just over 10,000 households with a cash intervention programme. One benefit of targeting households directly with cash is that families can use the money as they judge best, with cash flowing directly into the local economy. This creates a chain reaction where traders receive cash, school and clinics receive their fees and local stores now have additional trade. The story does not stop there, as these businesses can then spend this income amongst each other and other groups in the region.

Concern’s report highlights the fact that for every Euro it puts into the programme, the turnover of the cash created a further €2.10 of value in the area.

Benefits for schools and health clinics

Schools have reported improvements in enrolment rates, and that the payment of fees has increased. One school also indicated improvements in students’ concentration resulting from being properly fed.

A private health clinic interviewed by Concern, has experienced a greater intake of patients since the start of the cash transfer programme. A doctor working in this clinic reported a case of a man who had been ill and in severe pain for three weeks before coming to the clinic. The patient explained that before Concern’s help, he did not have the money to pay for treatment.

Drop in unemployment rates

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there may also be a reduction in unemployment as a result of the programme. Local businesses and traders are in greater demand and therefore need more workers.

Research carried out by Concern suggests that local businesses and traders have strong positive views of the cash transfer programme. Most recognised the benefit for themselves personally, and were grateful of the stimulated demand which benefited their businesses.

Success for programme

Overall the programme has been a success on many fronts. The main aim of ensuring that households are able to meet their food requirements has been met, as well as funnelling cash into the local economy. The usage of the cash for health and education has also helped to improve many people’s longer term situation which will benefit the community for years to come.

According to the report, cash transfer programmes may not be suitable in every circumstance. However, there certainly is room for these programmes in the traditional array of aid initiatives used to help fight hunger.

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