WFP Cash Transfers Improved My Family's Health

Zione Black says WFP's emergency cash transfers have helped her buy the food her family needs. She is one of nearly 2 million vulnerable Malawians who averted hunger with WFP assistance during the 2013/14 hunger season.

Zione Black, a mother of three from Chikabuma village in Dedza district, has noticed the positive effects of cash transfers on her family.

“My children look different now,” she explains. “I’m now able to buy a variety of foods, and my children definitely look much healthier than they were before WFP stepped in.”

Zione was one of 154,000 beneficiaries of WFP cash transfers in Malawi during the 2013/14 lean season. While most people in need of assistance received maize and other food commodities, some received assistance in the form of cash transfers at distributions ran by WFP’s cooperating partners, including World Vision, Emmanuel International, Save the Children, Concern Universal, CADECOM and Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI). This happened in half a dozen districts where there was food available in the markets and where a market assessment deemed cash-based assistance as the most appropriate response.

Cash transfers are of benefit to the local economy and allow individual beneficiaries more say in how they get their food.

Malawians with their WFP food distributionsWFP, alongside the Government of Malawi and other partners, scaled up assistance to reach some 1.9 million Malawians with food and cash transfers in 24 food-insecure districts during the lean season.

The value of the cash transfer is equal to the market price of WFP’s typical food basket which comprises maize, beans, Super Cereal (a fortified blended food) and fortified vegetable oil.

The cash transfers have also had a positive bearing on the education of Zione’s children.

“When we didn’t have enough food, I kept my children home because I couldn’t send them to school on empty stomachs,” explains Zione. “When we had money to buy food, the children could attend school regularly.”

WFP’s 2013/14 emergency cash transfer programme in Malawi was supported by Britain, Norway, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and multilateral funding.

Learn more about WFP's 2013/14 relief response in Malawi here.