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Case Study

Innovations in the design and delivery of social transfers: Lessons learned from Malawi

2011 — By Stephen Devereux

In 2005/6 and 2006/7, Concern Worldwide in Malawi designed and delivered two emergency social transfer programmes that were evaluated as innovative and effective, and have advanced thinking on best practice and what is feasible, both in emergency contexts and in the delivery of predictable (nonemergency) social protection. This paper reviews the key innovative features of these interventions – the ‘Food and Cash Transfers’ project (FACT) and the ‘Dowa Emergency Cash Transfers’ project (DECT) – and extracts broader lessons for social protection practice.

This paper does not review the impacts or achievements of FACT and DECT. Both interventions are well documented, and the argument of this paper is that they succeeded because of particular decisions that were taken during the planning stage, concerning the design and delivery of social transfers. The purpose here is to highlight how these choices contributed to the successful outcomes, not to recapitulate or assess the outcomes themselves.


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