SCTP Cushioning Hunger in Thyolo
Authorities in Thyolo say Social Cash Transfer Programme is cushioning the ultra-poor households from increased hunger in the district.
Speaking to Zodiak Online on Monday after the national launch of the migration from cash to E-payment system in the district, Senior Chief Khwethemule and Thyolo district council Chairperson Cresco Likwezembe said although limited to small figure, the programme is a relief to the hunger stricken households this year.
The two claim a lot of people are facing acute hunger due to erratic rains and lack of access to fertilizer under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) this year.
However, the two spoken highly of the social protection intervention, Social Cash Transfer Programme for cushioning the ultra-poor households from increased hunger in the district.
"I am now very happy now that the system has changed such that my people will no longer cover long distances to access the money.
"On the other hand, this programme is easing hunger to the beneficiaries. We are experiencing hunger here this year because we had a great share of the cyclones and erratic rains. So this programme is enabling them to buy some maize to feed their children so as they go to school without any problem,” he added.
But, Senior Chief Khwethemule lamented that the money for some beneficiaries are facing unexplainable deductions, calling on TNM and Ministry officials to fix the challenge.
Minister responsible for gender, social welfare and community development Patricia Kaliati, apart froma sking TNM to spread across agents and rectify the network challenge, says e-payment system is a right step towards realizing Malawi 2063 aspiration of digital inclusion.
"This is helping us because sometimes when we keep this money, people might be thinking we keep them at the district level. But when we keeping with these banks, we are going to safeguard the moneys people are getting here.
"And the payment of Cash Transfer Programme through the phones, is also helping us in using ICT as we are making sure that we should have all the people knowing what to do in using and digitalizing of things which we have in Malawi," Kaliati said.
TNM Chief Executive Officer Arnold M'bwana says, they have a budget to spread across mobile money agents and improve on network coverage by erecting additional towers.
"As TNM we have a big plan where we are deploying more towers within the district of Thyolo right from this year, we already have got the budget. So that would actually make sure we resolve network issues that have been complained," He assured.
UNICEF which is Chairperson for consortia of Social Cash Transfer Program implementing partners in the country through its Social protection specialist George Juwawo, has expressed satisfaction with the digital system, saying it's promoting accountability.
"We are very excited with the progress that government has actually done in migration from manual Social Cash Transfer Programme to electronic payment system. And we very glad that the pilots that have gone through the years have now culminated into the launch of the E-payment system that will benefit not only this programme, but the wider social protection and humanitarian activities in Malawi," he said.
Currently, around 16, 000 beneficiaries are getting an average of K9, 000 per month in Thyolo.