Mawazo arrived in Malawi in 2017 after fleeing insecurity in DRC. “My husband works informally in a cloth shop. The sales at his boss shop have gone down since the beginning of the pandemic and his salary has been reduced by half. I rarely go out of the camp to find piecework because the school is closed and I need to stay with my children“
For many years, WFP has provided food assistance to meet urgent food and nutrition needs of refugees and asylum seekers residing in Dzaleka Camp. Since February 2020, WFP gradually shifted its assistance modality from in-kind to cash transfers. This switch allows households to purchase the food that they prefer and boost local markets. In addition to existing covid-19 measures in place since March 2020, wearing a mask is now mandatory in the cash distributions.
Mawazo is going to the market right after getting cash and buying fish, tomato, and green veggies for her family. “When we were getting maize from WFP, I was selling some to buy charcoal and other foods. Now that I get cash, I can buy what I want from the local sellers.
Musago Mirida is a mother of 3 and a refugee in Malawi. “We depend on the food assistance and I work in people’s field to have some money to buy clothes for my children. she said. “I am divorced and my son had to stop school to work and bring some money home”.
ATM cards distribution started in the camp initially targeting 100 households for a 6 months pilot. The pilot will provide learning before expanding to the wider refugee population. The distribution of cards also included financial literacy training on savings, budgeting and how to use the cards at the Auto-Teller Machines (ATM) provided by the bank.
Although Malawi has hosted refugees for over two decades, the number of refugees has been recorded to have more than doubled since 2013. Thanks to our main donors (USAID and the European Union), WFP has been distributing cash and food to the refugees living within the Dzaleka camp in Malawi who rely on this assistance for their survival. These needs have been increasing in recent weeks due to the covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent limited access to livelihood activities for most of the refugees.