Social Protection in Africa
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Social Protection in Africa

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

The purpose of this book is to make accessible to a broad audience the ideas, principles and practicalities of establishing effective social protection in Africa. It focuses on the major shift in strategy for tackling hunger and vulnerability, from emergency responses mainly in the form of food transfers to predictable cash transfers to the chronically poorest social groups. The diverse case studies in this book provide a unique and timely exploration of the effective, and less effective, ways that social transfers are delivered to the chronically poor and vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Chapter 13: Case Study 3. Public Works Programmes, Malawi

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White


OVERVIEW Public works programmes (PWPs) in Malawi go back at least to 1995, when the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) was created. MASAF is an ongoing programme, now in its third phase, which has attracted funding in the form of soft loans or grants to the tune of about US$250 million since it started (up to 2007). Nor is MASAF the only PWP sponsoring agency in Malawi, other large programmes in recent years having been funded by the EU through the Government of Malawi (GoM/EU), and by the Government of Malawi itself in the form of a Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MTPW) scheme. Over the years, many small scale PWP schemes operating for short durations in limited geographical areas have also been implemented by NGOs. Table C3.1 provides a list of large scale PWPs that have run in Malawi in the 2000s, as well as some details of their mode of operation. The big PWP schemes such as those run by MASAF have been countrywide. They aim to underpin the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable by providing employment during critical months of the year. Typical design features include using a low wage or food ration as a self-targeting mechanism, work on a public infrastructure project (mostly road construction or repair), work norms based on task rates, short duration of employment, and wide geographical coverage (except for smaller, NGO run projects). To give just one example, the MASAF CCT scheme (MASAF-CCT) that ran from September to November...

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