In February 2017, Malaria Consortium was invited to the Alliance for Malaria Prevention’s (AMP) annual partners meeting in Geneva to share lessons learnt from a net distribution pilot project in Mozambique. The pilot implemented a novel payment approach for a large group of community-level workers in 23 districts of Nampula Province, in the northern part of the country.
At the meeting, the AMP acknowledged the efforts and resilience of Malaria Consortium and its partners, Mozambique’s National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and World Vision through a recognition award for the successful 2016 long lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) distribution.
During the pilot, Malaria Consortium found that one of the main challenges was the development of a secure payment mechanism for over 9,000 community-level workers without a bank account. The option of transporting of large amounts of cash poses substantial risks and makes financial control and accountability challenging, so a workable alternative was needed.
Malaria Consortium and partners decided to trial a well-known mobile-money payment platform with proven track records to transfer payments, otherwise done in cash. A third of the community workers provided a mobile phone number and agreed to be paid via mobile money instead of cash. Once they received a message about the money transfer, they could retrieve the amount in cash from the nearest agent, usually located in local tuck shops.
Malaria Consortium managed to pay around 3,000 workers through this platform. This innovative approach generated rich learning and opened new prospects for the use of electronic payments in future LLIN distributions.
The pilot’s findings are currently being fed into the NMCP’s strategy. “The mobile money payment is clearly paving a new way of managing funds for the NMCP in large campaigns,” said Fernando Bambo, Malaria Consortium’s Deputy Project Manager. “Lessons learnt from the Nampula LLIN pilot as a whole are now informing the planning and operational model for the 2017 mass LLIN distribution campaign.”