Training group in Kanduku II village, Mwanza District.
Photo: Martin Ihm


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One of the objectives of cash transfers is to improve household income to meet basic needs. Adding economic empowerment interventions to existing cash transfer programmes has the potential to reduce vulnerability and build the resilience of households in extreme poverty by creating assets, supporting income diversification and promoting financial inclusion – an example from Malawi.

The most common understanding of resilience among academics and practitioners is the ability to endure, recover and adapt to stresses, shocks and changes. Households and communities are considered resilient when they can meet their basic needs in a sustainable manner without external support during times of stress or disaster. Researchers have identified many factors that contribute to resilience building of households – among these are income and access to food, access to financial services, ownership of assets such as livestock, and access to basic services like health and education. In the humanitarian and development sector there are many programmes that focus on building the resilience of households and communities, including social protection programmes that provide livelihood support.

Limited scope of cash transfers

In Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, chronic poverty, food insecurity and high vulnerability to disasters are widespread. About 70 per cent of Malawian households live below the international poverty line of 1.90 US dollars per day.

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