Karonga — Ministry of Gender, Disability and Social Welfare has warned traditional leaders against demanding money from Social Cash Transfer beneficiaries, saying they risk being prosecuted.
The ministry's Chief Social Welfare Officer, Chifundo Nanchukwa, sounded the warning Tuesday in Karonga when she announced the introduction of the programme, also known as 'Mtukula Pakhomo' in the district.
Nanchukwa said there are reports that some traditional leaders in some districts such as Thyolo, Phalombe, Mangochi and Mulanje demand K500 from every beneficiary.
"This is uncalled for. If anyone is found doing that, the law will take its course. We are urging the beneficiaries to report such leaders to their Traditional Authorities (TAs) or to the District Commissioners so that they can be dealt with," she said.
Social Cash Transfer is a Malawi Government poverty reduction intervention programme which targets 10 per cent of the poorest households in the country.
In Karonga, the programme is expected to start this month (March, 2018) and about 8, 024 people selected from all five TAs are expected to benefit from the programme.
Nanchukwa said the programme targets ultra-poor and labour constrained households in order to reduce poverty and hunger and improve health, nutrition, protection and wellbeing of vulnerable children.
She then called on the beneficiaries from Karonga to make use of the opportunity in improving their living standards.
"We have seen many people being transformed through this programme. Many people have got different livestock such as goats, pigs, chickens and some have even built houses with iron sheets," she said.
Karonga District Council chairperson, Councilor Harry Mwanyembe, hailed government for introducing the programme in the district.
He said the programme will reduce poverty levels, especially this year when many people face hunger due to dry spell and fall armyworms which have affected maize and other crops.
Malawi Government in conjunction with some partners introduced the Social Cash Transfer Programme in Mchinji District in 2006 on pilot phase and it has now spread to 20 districts across the country.
Currently, the programme is reaching out to 319, 000 households country wide.