Chapter 14: Case Study 4. Dowa Emergency Cash Transfer, Malawi
OVERVIEW The DECT was an innovative project that provided monthly cash transfers to beneﬁciary households, banded according to the size of the household and adjusted monthly in line with the price of maize. The international NGO Concern Worldwide linked up with a commercial bank, the Opportunity International Bank Malawi, to trial the delivery of cash transfers through smartcards, utilizing mobile ATMs to visit rural areas at predetermined times and places. As extra security, a ﬁngerprint reader was incorporated into the card issuing process, so that future cash draw-downs would be against a ﬁngerprint as well as the smartcard. The DECT was designed to address a localized, seasonal food deﬁcit identiﬁed in the northern part of Dowa District in Malawi in the lean season of 2006–07. The DECT ran from December 2006 to April 2007, a ﬁve-month duration leading up to the harvest period of the next season’s crop. Project beneﬁciaries numbered 10 161 households in total, although some of these did not receive the ﬁrst monthly payment (8 384 households received payments in December 2006). The baseline amount of the transfer varied from MK370 (US$2.64) per month for a one-person household to a maximum of MK3700 (US$26.40) for a household of ten or more. However, transfer amounts were adjusted downwards as maize prices fell during the season, reﬂecting the release of stored supplies on to the market ahead of the 2007 maize harvest. An additional innovation of DECT was to provide the...
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