Estimated 7.6 million people nationally are affected directly and indirectly by the COVID-19, especially in terms of the socio-economic and cultural impacts and the Government’s responses to COVID-19.
An estimated 1.2 million people in urban and per-urban settlements are extremely poor and vulnerable with poor access to health, alternative learning options for their children, limited income-earning opportunities and overall low access to key services.
A COVID-19 Emergency Cash Transfer Programme document has been finalized in collaboration with the UN, donors and Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS). The programme document has now been incorporated into the existing UN Joint Programme on Social Protection (UNJPSP) under the shock-responsive social protection outcome.
Bilateral discussions with donors (Sweden, DFID, Ireland, KfW and EU) are being formalized and preparatory work (payment delivery mechanism, grievance and redress mechanisms and agreements with mobile network operators) is underway with transfer payments to beneficiaries expected to begin in August 2020.
Cross-sectoral coordination with the food security sector—where a cash-based food security transfer is also being planned—has taken place to ensure consistency in transfer values, targeting approaches, communication and coordination for the avoidance of confusion among beneficiaries.
Linkages between the emergency cash transfers and nutrition, WASH, health, disability and child protection have also been established and incorporated in the overall COVID-19 social protection response.
The vertical and horizontal targeting protocols have been finalized and the ECT programme was officially launched by the Government on the 28 July.
There is still an unmet need of 400,000 people who are extremely vulnerable in urban and peri-urban areas. Current funding from commitments and pledges will still not meet the full 1,200,000 people extremely vulnerable.
Government fiscal resources for social protection has also been stagnant, with only ZMK 20 million (approximately $1,101,313) released from treasury to the MCDSS for the social protection response.
Funding commitments have taken longer than expected as contribution negotiations are still on-going with donor partners.
Intra and inter-sectoral coordination has been challenging at times due to different approaches, targeting methods and transfer values .
Capacity at district level to respond quickly to additional beneficiaries that are currently not registered on the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme is inadequate, creating possible time delays.