Social protection for people in extreme poverty

Project description

Title: Social protection for people in extreme poverty
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Malawi
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development (MFEPD)
Overall term: 2015 to 2018


The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy recognises the importance of social protection as a key element in successful poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. In 2013, the Malawi Government adopted the National Social Support Policy (NSSP). This provides an overarching framework for social protection, and currently includes five key programmes: social cash transfers; public works; school meals; village savings and loans; microfinance.

The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development (MFEPD) is responsible for coordinating the NSSP. Harmonising the five sub-programmes should encourage a holistic approach. In practice, however, implementation of the NSSP remains fragmented as different stakeholders start their own projects with different priorities, approaches and goals. These projects are then insufficiently coordinated with each other. The ministry lacks the necessary human and technical resources adequately to fulfil its coordinating role.


The sub-programmes of the National Social Support Policy (NSSP) are coherently coordinated, under the guidance of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.


The GIZ project supports the strategic development of the social protection sector in Malawi, and it encourages the harmonisation of the operational procedures. To this end, it is assisting with the process of updating the National Social Support Programme document, and is supporting the development of coherent strategies, both for capacity development and for communication beteween the sub-programmes. It is also exploring the possibility to create a unified financing mechanism for the sector.

The efforts to harmonise operational procedures focus on the development of a single system applicable to all the sub-programmes. This identifies households in need, and draws on a database of such households. Furthermore, the project supports the development of best practice manuals for at least two of the sub-programmes, and is assisting with the introduction of a common monitoring system.

The project is working to strengthen the management and coordination capacities of the Malawian public administration at national and district levels, and it supports the actual implementation of harmonised approaches in two districts. At the same time it carries out activities to build capacities in the Malawian Microfinance Network, and to strengthen a business advisory organisation that focuses on the poor.