Social Cash Transfer Programme Transforming Lives in Balaka
Beneficiaries of the government funded social cash transfer programme in Balaka have expressed satisfaction with the way the programme has transformed their economic livelihoods.
The beneficiaries who are from the areas under Sub-Traditional Authority Matola in the district, say they have become self-reliant after most of them managed to join village savings loans (VSL) where they are managing to increase their benefits.
Jessie Nkwalula aged 43, from Kachikuni village says since joining the list of beneficiaries about three years ago, she can now afford to pay fees for her three school going children, managed to start livestock farming and constructing a new house for herself.
“I cannot manage to list all the benefits I have obtained from being a beneficiary of the social cash transfer programme but I’m telling you that my family is no longer grappling with poverty, my children are no longer malnourished and they freely go to school,” said Nkwalula.
Nkwalula who is one of those who receive the funds through mobile money service has also commended the introduction of the mobile services, saying it has improved privacy, safety and has assisted them to embrace saving culture.
Nkwalula however has asked the government to increase an individual allocation per month as she is receiving less than K12 000.00.
She further advises fellow beneficiaries to invest the funds in businesses that will sustain their families for a long period.
“It’s high time we start increasing the funds we are earning, so that after graduating, we should be independent,” added Nkwalula.
Bwanali Jusa of Kapasule village in the same district says he has managed to construct a three bedroom house, and bought a bicycle through the social cash transfer programme locally known as ‘Mtukula Pakhomo.’
He says the programme has relieved his overdependence on support from community members as it has bailed him from the jaws of poverty.
District Social cash transfer officer for Balaka Mphatso Chisepa has echoed the appreciation on the performance of the programme in the district, saying it targets to uplift the lives of the impoverished to become self-reliant.
While acknowledging that funds being provided to beneficiaries as minimal, she has advised the beneficiaries to join Village Savings loans groups, which they recommend as the best way to accumulate more through their weekly savings among others.
“We understand the challenges raised and the recommendations made but the whole essence of this programme is to give a start-up capital on the journey of poverty to improved livelihood, this is why we have more registered VSL groups in the district which are currently flourishing,” noted Chisepa.
Meanwhile, a local organisation, Find Your Feet has partnered with the village saving loan groups to implement a USD 360 strengthening resilience of poor household project in Balaka and Ntcheu district with over six thousand beneficiaries to enhance their residence to climatic shocks which affect their efforts to save the fund they earn from social cash transfers.