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Government to uplift 15,000 ultra-poor households

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The government has said it targets to graduate 15,000 ultra-poor households in nine districts in the next three years.

Chief Director in the Ministry of Finance, Peter Simbani, disclosed this in Salima on Tuesday during an ultra-poor graduation learning forum organised by the Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (Farmse).

Statistics indicate that Malawi’s ultra-poverty rate stood at 20.1 percent in 2016 down from 24.5 percent in 2011.

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Simbani said government is committed to reducing the poverty levels in the country through various interventions such as social cash transfer, mindset change, promotion of small businesses and asset transfer.

“As you are aware, implementation of social support in Malawi is guided by the Malawi National Support Programme (MNSPII) which is anchored in the National Social Support Policy. Unlike the first MNSSP (2012-2016) which focused on implementation of individual programmes, MNSSPII adopts a pillar approach.

“One of the pillars of the MNSSPII is resilient livelihoods. This pillar aims at promoting resilient livelihood through tailored packages based on individual, household and community needs via graduation pathways, inter-programme linkages and facilitating access to, and ultilisation of basic needs,” Simbani said.

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He noted that MNSSP graduation is being implemented as an additional layer of interventions on beneficiaries of consumption support programmes that aim to build human capital and provide material support to households for them to move out of poverty into sustainable life.

Simbani was, however, quick to note that government is aware of the fact that much as there is potential for graduation among the ultra-poor, not all of them are candidates for graduation.

Farmse Programme Coordinator, Dixon Ngwende, said achievement of food security and capacity of the people to access basic needs would be some of the indicators of graduating from ultra-poverty.

In its December 2019 Malawi Economic Monitor, the World Bank says despite some recent gains in reducing ultra-poverty the moderate poverty rate remains high and the number of poor has increased.

“While the ultra-poverty rate fell from 24.5 percent in 2011 to 20.1 percent in 2016, over the same time period, the moderate poverty rate increased from 50.7 percent to 51.5 percent.

“With population growth higher than the pace of poverty reduction, the number of people living below the poverty line increased over this period from 7.1 to 8.4 million,” reads the economic monitor.

Farmse is a seven-year development programme financed by the Malawi government, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad), and the private sector, running from 2018 to 2025.

The programme works to support the graduation of poor Malawians along the poverty spectrum from ultra-poor to a productive pathway on a sustainable basis.

The programme also supports household economic development through access to financial services that are appropriate to each socio-economic level of poverty including ultra-poor, poor but food secure, vulnerable to poverty, and resilient to poverty.

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