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Malawi, December 2015: Cash transfers change lives of HIV+ female headed households in Mangochi

© UNICEF Malawi/2015
Patuma with her daughter outside their house.

MANGOCHI, Malawi, December 2015 – 37 year old Patuma Deula from Chapola Village, Traditional Authority Chimwala in Mangochi, is one of the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfers Programme (SCTP), also known as Mtukula Pakhomo. Patuma’s husband died in 2000 leaving her with two children. She also another daughter, 3 year old Rashida Modesta Soka, from a subsequent relationship. However, Rashida’s father abandoned them after her birth.

Patuma was enrolled in the Social Cash Transfer Programme in October 2014. She receives MK5,700 (about US$10) per month. “I think I was considered for the programme because I am HIV+ and I was very sick and poor at the time the Mtukula Pakhomo was being introduced in my village,” she says.

After the death of her husband, Patuma’s first born daughter, Sophie, went to stay with her grandfather in Dedza in order to get support to complete her primary education. Unfortunately, this did not last long. Her grandfather could not continue the support after he lost his job and Sophie returned to her mother in Mangochi.

© UNICEF Malawi/2015
Patuma drawing water from a borehole in her village.

While back in her village, Sophie received assistance from the Muslim Association of Malawi to complete her primary and secondary education. She is now being supported by her aunt to further her education. Patuma’s son Brian is in Standard 7 at Mpale Primary School while the youngest daughter Rashida has been enrolled at a CBCC this year.

Patuma highly commends the SCTP. “The Programme has improved my health status,” Patuma says. “I use the cash I receive to buy food, fish and cooking oil so that I eat nutritious food all the time as required of us HIV+ people. I also use the money I receive from Mtukula Pakhomo to pay for transport to the hospital to collect my ARVs,” she says. Patuma is very healthy now. Last month she received MK22,800 which was arrears for 4 months (July – October). With this money, she bought two bags of maize – a priority as she did not harvest enough in 2014 after poor and devastating rains. “Had it not been for this programme, I could not have afforded to buy these two bags of maize which are selling at MK8500.00 each,” she explains.

Apart from using the money to buy food, she also used the money to put up a fence around her house, and to buy a school uniform and learning materials for Brian. She bought chickens and fertilizer for her maize garden, which is on a piece of land that she owns. “My health and life has improved greatly. I am able to work in my garden. I participate in community work and I take care of my children.”

The Social Cash Transfer Programme (local name Mtukula Pakhomo) is a Government of Malawi programme led by the Ministry of Gender, Children, Social Welfare and Disability. The programme is receiving financial and technical support from the German Government, European Commission, Irish Aid, Government of the Netherlands, USAID, the World Bank (through Local Development Fund) and UNICEF.



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