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Improving social protection coverage and effectiveness in Malawi

The Government of Malawi launched a review of social protection with the aim of improving coverage and effectiveness of programmes. There were a number of individual programmes, some run by donors, and none of their respective management information systems were capable of sharing data.

An assessment by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and the ILO, which we supported, found that there was no unique identification information for households in the programmes. We recommended that data on all household members captured for social protection should be linked to the country’s National Registration Bureau, responsible for identifying every citizen. We also advised the Government to integrate individual MISs.

Under a contract with the Government of Malawi in 2017, we designed, developed, tested and deployed a Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR), a national platform to enter, store, access and share household data for social protection programmes. We ensured the UBR Taskforce team would have the capacity to continue supporting the system after we handed over to them.

The resulting new, national platform includes a household mobile data collection application used on tablets to address gaps in the household registration of potential beneficiaries – and even an offline web-based form to allow data entry when the internet is not available. This allowed more than 550,000 beneficiaries to be registered in 2017 alone.

The UBR was recognised with an award from the ICT Association of Malawi for the most innovative system for Government. Organisations interested in reaching beneficiaries, including Baobab Health and Concern, have got in touch to look at the data.