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Is Cash Transfer a Better Devil than Food Aid? A study of Malawi’s use of cash transfer as a response tool to food insecurity in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014

2014 — By Stern Kita

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami is considered as the first humanitarian situation where cash transfers were used as an alternative to food aid. Since then, cash transfers have been used as a standalone response tool to disasters, or used in combination with food aid. Malawi piloted the use of cash transfer as a response tool to food insecurity between 2005 and 2008. The first national response that used cash to respond to food insecurity at a large scale was carried out in 2012/2013, and then in 2013/2014. The purpose of this study was to assess how effective the use of cash transfers was as a response tool to the humanitarian situation in Malawi. The study was carried out through household interviews, focus group discussions, key informant interviews as well as review of previous evaluations and studies on cash transfers in Malawi and other countries.