Social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi

The research took place in Malawi and Lesotho, examining the ways in which three cash transfer schemes are designed, operate and affect rural lives: Lesotho’s Old Age Pension and Child Grants Programme and Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme. Qualitative research was undertaken in two rural communities, one in the sparsely populated Maluti Mountains of Lesotho and the other in densely populated Thyolo District in southern Malawi. Most households in both communities were sustained through varying combinations of subsistence agriculture, livestock rearing and remittances from migrant workers. In depth interviews were conducted with multiple members of 24 households that were receiving cash transfers, and with 64 young people aged 18-34, some of whom had moved away from the villages over the past decade. Participatory workshops with groups of young people subsequently focused on how cash transfers intervene in household and community dynamics. Research was also undertaken with around 100 individuals involved in the design and implementation of social protection policy in the two countries.