How evidence-use helped address ultra-poverty in Malawi

2020-01-27 connect evidence-informed decision-making impact evaluation learns publication

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme aims to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations, which are constrained from participating in the labour force because of age (too old or young), chronic illnesses or disabilities. The evidence generated from a 3ie-supported impact evaluation informed four changes in the programme design, including its eventual scale-up across all districts in Malawi. The evidence helped dispel several myths associated with unconditional cash transfers and reduce scepticism among several stakeholders.

The brief highlights the importance of fully considering the political economy context in evaluation design. It also examines a range of contributory factors for evidence use. Evaluation champions who can influence change are important. Researchers, their networks, their credibility with decision makers, their ability to translate evidence for different audiences and their commitment to engage in organised ways were also important.