Irish Aid Praised by Ntcheu District Council

2023-06-19 11:13:51

By Pauline Kaude

Ntcheu District Council has commended Irish Aid for improving people's lives in the rural communities with the continued support in sponsoring the Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP) in the district.

Ntcheu District Labour Officer Efford Geza who represented the District Commissioner made the remarks on Friday during a pay parade routine monitoring visit at Chipusile Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mpando in the district.

Geza said there had been some delay in payments but have since been resolved and payments have commenced.

"We have commenced payments for SCTP beneficiaries on Monday across all the Traditional Areas. We will be paying a total of 14, 295 beneficiaries, and we are paying them 7 months arrears (November 2022 to May 2023)," said Geza.

He said what has delayed the exercise is the fact that after the expiry of the contract with the service provider (FDH Bank), procurement processes and negotiations between the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare and the identified service provider (FDH Bank) took so much time in order to incorporate clauses that lean towards moving away from van payment modality to community agency banking, but the contract has finally been signed.

Social Protection Advisor at the Irish Embassy Phina Rocha said SCTP is one of the priority programs at the Embassy.

She said it is evident that the program is helping the poor people after hearing testimonies from the beneficiaries.

"There is a lot of improvements in people's lives and it is our wish that transfers are regular so that people can plan their lives," said Rocha.

UNICEF Social Protection Specialist George Juwawo said he was impressed with the type of beneficiaries which included the elderly and vulnerable people among others and also how the beneficiaries are using their money such as sending children to school, building houses and buying livestock and other uses.

He observed that the program is capturing the people it is intended to support and hailed the payment process which he described as innovative method of payment.

"It is a good step towards development, we have seen people who had nothing to do with banks using MasterCards now, beneficiaries will be free to go to any FDH Bank Auto Teller Machines and withdraw or deposit money.

One of the beneficiaries Robert Wallace thanked Irish Aid for positively changing his family's life especially his son's life.

"I have managed to educate my son from primary school from standard 6 to 8 up to now at Robert Blake Secondary School where he is in Form One, said Wallace and disclosed that his son has now been enrolled on a bursary scheme.

He further expressed confidence that his son will continue doing well in school and go to the University.