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Malawian Minister of Population Planning and Social Welfare, Mary Clara Makungwa, praised the efforts of FDH Bank in delivering electronic payment and social cash transfer services throughout Malawi’s Ntcheu District.

The social cash transfer programme known as ‘Mtukula Pakhoma’ is targeted at underserved communities and labour-constrained households, offering locals monthly financial support to improve their livelihoods.

Minister Makungwa commended FDH Bank for enabling financially challenged customers in remote regions to access banking services. The minister announced that it was the government’s intention to roll out the programme across the entire country.

FDH Bank, which is a subsidiary of FDH Financial Holdings, was established by prominent Malawian entrepreneur Dr Thomson Mpinganjira. Learn more about this leading Malawian financial services provider by watching the attached video.

Lorraine Lusinje, spokesperson for FDH Financial Holdings, confirmed that the bank recently entered into a four-year contract with the government of Malawi, pledging to provide e-payment services to more than 15,000 beneficiaries each month via 93 pay-points across Ntcheu. Ms Lusinje said that more than 13,000 customers had so far opened and registered accounts across Ntcheu District, adding that FDH Bank will work with the government to extend the service across the rest of Malawi.

Gift Kambadya, Principal Social Welfare Officer for Ntcheu District, said that the scheme is achieving its primary objective, improving the livelihoods of the ultra-poor. He explained that most beneficiaries use the money to buy poultry or livestock, selling them on to earn a little more money.

Zigele Innocent, a beneficiary from Ben Tchauya Village in Traditional Authority Njolomole, explained that she was poor and sometimes had to go without food. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional challenges to impoverished communities. Discover more about the impact of COVID-19 in Malawi by viewing the attached PDF.

Malawi is home to over 18 million citizens. According to figures published by UNICEF, over 50% of Malawians live below the poverty line, with 25% living in extreme poverty. Many children are born into poverty, with inadequate support to keep them in school and meet their day-to-day needs.

COVID-19 has presented additional challenges to vulnerable Malawian families. Social distancing measures implemented to curb transmission of the virus have impacted livelihoods throughout the country.

School closures resulted in those children reliant on school meal programmes missing one of their major meals every day. The pandemic has also exerted huge additional pressures on parents struggling to provide for their families.

UNICEF has praised the Mtukula Pakhomo programme, which has offered a vital lifeline to poverty-stricken families in Malawi’s central-western district of Ntcheu. The Social Cash Transfer Programme provides unconditional transfers for Malawi’s poorest families, providing up to MK7,000 each month to cover their basic needs.

In May 2020, the programme provided families with three-months’ worth of payments to help those living in poverty cope with the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Mathando Sauzande supports her family by selling mandasi, a type of fried doughnut. The mother of six was relieved to receive an MK26,400 transfer under the scheme to provide for her family for the next three months. For many scheme beneficiaries, such payments not only provide funds for food, but also enable recipients to buy the items needed to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Ms Sauzande explained to UNICEF that she would use the funds to buy essential household supplies, including soap to protect herself and her family. She said that she would also be able to buy school uniforms for her children and invest in a goat.

FDH Bank is committed to supporting Malawians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. View the attached infographic to learn about the bank’s COVID-19 cushioning measures, easing the financial pressures caused by the pandemic for FDH Bank customers.