Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Towards a shock-sensitive social protection system in Malawi

Research reports

Written by Rebecca Holmes

Malawi faces recurrent cyclical crises that prevent long-term poverty reduction. The country has a high exposure to climate risks – such as dry spells, drought and flooding. These, combined with high levels of poverty, food insecurity, and vulnerability to seasonal patterns of production and consumption, result in frequent shocks and emergencies.

The emerging social protection sector is having important effects on poverty reduction and food security. However, it is not yet achieving its core goals at scale, including increasing household resilience to future shocks, and building sustainable livelihoods. Alone, social protection cannot address all the factors that create food insecurity and emergencies in Malawi. But its effectiveness could be improved to minimise the negative impact of seasonal exposure and vulnerability to climate-related shocks.

We worked with GIZ Malawi (in collaboration with the Government of Malawi, the World Bank and the World Food Programme (WFP)) to develop options for moving towards a shock-sensitive social protection system in Malawi, embedded within the Malawi National Social Support Programme. The research analysed shock-sensitive social protection policies, institutions, programme design, implementation, systems and financing, drawing on existing concepts and innovative experiences in Malawi as well as international experiences.


Rebecca Holmes, Lucy Scott, Cecilia Costella, Meghan Bailey, Andrew Kruczkiewicz, Richard Poulter, Kay Sharp