Credits Personal protective gear were given to staff in all cash distribution sites - Credit WFP/Badre Bahaji
Published on January 3, 2021

Update: Social Protection for the SDGs in Malawi

Malawi’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection focuses on supporting the Government in its efforts to adapt the national social protection system to meet emergency food needs and reduce the vulnerability of those most at risk of food insecurity by 2022, while strengthening the system for all vulnerable households across the lifecycle. The JP aims to advance an innovative Shock-Sensitive Social Protection prototype with reinforced financial structures, and transform existing policies into legal frameworks so as to give rise to a more robust, comprehensive and sustainable social protection system that leaves no one behind.


The JP has been very active over the first six months. An After-Action Review was conducted with the Government on the use of social protection systems within the 2019/20 Lean Season Response in order to address heightened food insecurity. The JP supported the Government in reviewing the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) to drive the development of a medium-term strategic plan for the SCTP, expand its coverage and adequacy, and improve its financial sustainability. A strategy was developed with the Government to update the national social registry more often, thereby improving the accuracy and timeliness of targeting for interventions. The JP also supported such Government knowledge management activities as exploring options for targeted skills development and compiling best practices for food and nutrition programming.


The Malawian JP afforded an opportunity to repurpose up to 20% of its overall funding to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable. To date, the JP has worked with the Government in developing a national response to the pandemic, and revised its workplan accordingly. Technical assistance has been provided for the design of an emergency urban cash transfer programme and its grievance and redress mechanisms so as to increase transparency and accountability for affected populations. Communications plans have also been revised to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines. Thus, despite a new operational context that could not have been foreseen, the JP in Malawi has made excellent progress during the first semester.