Currently, the SCTP reaches around 167,000 households in 18 districts. Impact evaluations indicate that the programme has enhanced the living standards of beneficiaries considerably. However, as the value of the social cash transfer is less than 20 per cent of household consumption needs, the scope for beneficiaries to invest in livelihood strategies that reduce poverty and increase resilience is limited. International empirical evidence on cash transfer programmes suggests that complementary livelihood interventions can strengthen the impact of cash transfers, increasing resilience and reducing poverty. One successful and often-replicated approach comes from the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). The BRAC approach complements regular transfers of cash or food for the ultra-poor with economic empowerment interventions, such as skills training, financial inclusion through savings and formal bank accounts, healthcare support and advice, a one-time grant of productive assets, and the facilitation of social integration.

Combining cash transfers with economic empowerment interventions

In 2016, building on the success of the current Social Cash Transfer Programme, the Government of Malawi, with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the COMSIP Cooperative Union, piloted an economic empowerment project for social cash transfer beneficiaries.