The Government of Malawi's Poverty Alleviation & Food Security Programme

Aurecon was tasked with the implementation of the pilot phase of the Public Works Programme (PWP), funded by the European Union (EU), from 2001 to 2005 in nine Central Region districts of Malawi.

With 85 per cent of the population living in rural areas and depending almost entirely on subsistence agriculture, Aurecon’s challenge was to design a multi-tier programme to encourage, stimulate and sustain rural economies through community involvement.

Aurecon’s approach addressed both immediate and long-term poverty alleviation as well as immediate and long-term food security by enabling the poor both improved access as well as income through labour based roads rehabilitation and maintenance, as well as productive forestry activities and small-scale irrigation schemes. These activities generated immediate economic inputs into the area while also providing food supply benefits for the beneficiary communities.

An evaluation of this pilot programme indicated that the PWP was highly effective and efficient in achieving its set objectives. It was then recommended that a further PWP be implemented. This request was approved and subsequently the Income Generating Public Works Programme (IGPWP), which emanates and builds on the achievements and lessons learned from the previous programme, was funded by the EU and commenced in 2005. The programme is due for completion in June 2011, and is being implemented in 15 of the poorest districts of the country. Once again, Aurecon is playing a pivotal role in design, management, implementation and technical assistance for this programme.

Using a similar multi-tier approach, the impact of the programme was extended and sustainability issues enhanced though the establishment of linkages to income generating activities of other programmes, investment in the capacity building of local structures and the incorporation of cross-cutting issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender and youth.

Using a bottom-up demand driven approach, the needs at grassroots level were addressed with a resultant wide impact. More than 550,000 people benefitted from the two programmes.

In addition, the programme was replicated in the village of Modimola in South Africa and marked the official launch of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in South Africa’s North West Province. It was also featured in an African Development Bank review of development success stories on the continent, “Fast Forward Africa”.

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