Programme Specific Report: Public Works Programmes in Malawi

Extracts from the Full Report: Assessment of Social Protection Programmes and Costing of Policy Options

This report will discuss Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPWP) programmes, which are defined as “programmes that involve the regular payment of money (or in some cases, in-kind benefits) by government or non-governmental organisations to individuals in exchange for work, with the objective of decreasing chronic or shock-induced poverty, providing social protection, addressing social risk or reducing economic vulnerability”. There are four main PWP in Malawi and while their implementation differs in detail they share common approaches in terms of targeting and objectives. PWP aim at transferring income to the non-labour constraint poor by providing limited employment opportunities, often in remote areas where there are few jobs. In many cases, public works programme operate on a seasonal basis as a safety net during non-farming season, where there are few income generating activities available for the large majority of Malawians working in small-scale agriculture. PWP tend to focus on construction activities that are considered to support economic growth, regional development and increase resilience of local communities through for instance forestry and irrigation programmes. Many regions in Malawi are difficult to access due to lack of infrastructure and often the poorest districts, such as Chitipa and Nsanje, are the most remote. PWP therefore work to improve the access of remote communities to regional centres in order to facilitate trade and regional development.