COVID-19 Urban Cash Intervention: Malawi's cash transfer programme
As a response to the current pandemic, Malawi has set an emergency welfare support programme aiming at delivering cash for a three to four months period to vulnerable households. The International Labour Organization and the World Food Programme have designed a mechanism to select which neighbourhoods most needed support. The mechanism was created based on data analysis, consultations with local councils and satellite data to identify "poverty hot spot." Beneficiaries can contact a call centre to find out if they are eligible.
This mechanism could present risks of exclusion for those who fall between the cracks of data collection, especially considering the little transparency behind the mechanism designed by the ILO and WFP. The e-payment format also implies people presumably have to carry a mobile phone tied to their identity, which raises further concerns for beneficiaries' right to privacy.