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United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland provide MWK6.6bn for Lean Season Food Insecurity Response

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UK and Ireland funds cash-based safety net to meet the urgent needs of the chronically poor and to build resilience.

The UK Aid and Irish Aid are providing £6.8m (circa $9m or 6.6bn MWK) that will ensure the World Food Programme and a Save the Children-led NGO consortium can provide cash transfers to meet the food needs of over 500,000 vulnerable Malawians. The Vice President, together with UN and NGO implementing partners, will launch this support in Nsanje today, Wednesday 20th December.

This new package of development assistance from the UK and Ireland will help hundreds of thousands of the poorest people with cash transfers to buy food and other essentials during the difficult pre-harvest lean season, and is in support of the Government of Malawi’s forthcoming National Resilience Strategy.

In line with Government data and plans, DFID and Irish Aid are targeting the most vulnerable districts: Nsanje, Balaka, Chikwawa and Mwanza (the worst affected four Districts) plus Machinga, Blantyre, Mulanje, Phalombe and Neno. This leaves a number of other districts seeking support from others.

Jen Marshall, Head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi said: “This year is a better year for food availability in Malawi, providing the chance for Government and Development Partners to do things differently.

“This cash-only safety net programme provides cost efficient, flexible, immediate assistance. But now is the time to plan how Malawi’s long term social protection programmes can better respond to high levels of vulnerability. And importantly, these cash transfers are being provided alongside a further scale up of UK Aid funded resilience-building interventions that aim to reduce communities’ and the country’s dependence on short-term responses.

“We all agree that Malawi urgently needs to break the cycle of annual emergency response and find long term solutions, including expanded long term safety nets, more resilient livelihoods, and more predictable markets for maize and other crops.”