Gender Implications of Cash Transfers in Malawi

Publication Date: 20/05/2020

The government of Malawi operates a national safety net program targeting the poorest 10% of the population with unconditional cash transfers and the next poorest 15% with conditional cash transfers through a Cash for Work (CfW) program and vouchers for subsidized agricultural inputs. In 2019 the Government, with support from development partners, has started implementation of an ultra-poor graduation program in nine districts which support ultra-poor households with livelihood grants and complementary services. This safety net is designed to quickly scale to more people or to provide more money to existing participants in case of emergencies.
CARE Malawi set out to identify the gendered implications of this cash programming and how participants’ experiences of cash transfers affected gender equality. To do so, CARE used a combination of literature review and primary data collection with stakeholder consultations, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions (FGDs) at national, district, and community levels. Because of the large-scale cash response to Cyclone Idai in 2019—largely operated through international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—the study also compared gendered impacts of the government program and NGO humanitarian response.

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