Social support for resilience in Malawi

Social support for resilience in Malawi

I saved a portion of the transfers to buy a bike for Rose. Thanks to the programme we also got a goat and good quality seeds. I am confident that we will do better now.

Mary Lakesi, Social Cash Transfer Programme beneficiary


Malawi has been classified as one of the least developed countries in the world, with 70% of the country's population living on less than US$ 1.90 per day. The rapid increase of population is exerting intense pressure on the country's land, food security, nutrition and social services. Malnutrition and HIV/AIDS remain primary concerns. Socio-economic and gender related inequalities are also high. In addition, increasingly predictable shocks such as floods, droughts and plagues have repeatedly hit the country. Approximately 84% of Malawians rely on rain-fed agriculture and other natural resource-based livelihoods, meaning that these recurrent weather-induced shocks are affecting not only the development prospects of the country, but also risking the ability of thousands of Malawians to meet their basic food and nutrition needs.


  • Eradicating poverty, tackling discrimination and inequalities, and leaving no one behind are at the heart of EU development policy. As part of its strategy to combat inequality and support the most vulnerable, the EU supports efficient, sustainable and equitable social protection systems to guarantee basic income, prevent relapses into extreme poverty and build resilience.
  • Through SoSuRe (Social Support for Resilience), the EU is engaged in reducing poverty and enhancing resilience among the most vulnerable households in Malawi. SoSuRe provides funding for social cash transfers targeting ultrapoor households with very limited labour capacity.
  • It also invests in strengthening national social protection systems in Malawi for enhanced support to social protection beneficiaries, sustainable financing of social protection services and more effective responses to shocks. Improvements of the social support system will help it deliver more effective shock responses, with social protection systems that can be expanded in response to crisis.


  • An independent evaluation has confirmed that the first phase of the Malawi Social Cash Transfers programme has proven impacts in terms of asset accumulation, food security, women's economic and social empowerment, and livelihood diversification among the poorest households.
  • It has also been estimated that every kwacha received by beneficiaries is translated into an additional 0.7 kwacha of goods and services that they are able to get, thus "making cash work for them" and benefitting their local economies.


  • 65 000 beneficiary households (270 000 Malawians) receiving continued support through predictable cash transfer payments across 7 districts (out of 28).
  • 95% of households that receive transfer payments and can have at least two meals per day.
  • 5 000 social protection beneficiaries linked to complementary interventions (e.g. health, education, entrepreneurship, savings and insurance schemes).
  • 9 000 households involved in climate-smart agriculture activities, resulting in reforestation, biodiversity and soil conservation.



Mary Lakesi, Social Cash Transfer Programme beneficiary

Mary Lakesi lives with her six grandchildren in Zomba district, in the South of Malawi. She is a beneficiary of the social cash transfers programme. Rose Gunde, her eldest granddaughter, would like to become a nurse. However, the nearest secondary school is more than 15 km away.  

"I saved a portion of the transfers to buy a bike for Rose. Thanks to the programme we also got a goat and good quality seeds. I am confident that we will do better now".