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The Basic Needs Basket Surveys

The Centre for Social Concern (CFSC) carries out research into the cost of living for people living in Malawi's medium and high-density urban areas every month. Currently the monthly surveys are done in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba, with data collected from a sample of 7 to 10 markets and retail outlets (in each of the cities), as well as from selected households from each of the sampled areas. The Basic Needs Basket (BNB) includes both essential food and non-food items required for an average family of six to acquire a minimum standard of living each passing month. The BNB will this year extend to selected rural areas.

The urban BNB is published every month in two newspapers and circulated via e-mail to various organizations, including selected government ministries, and individuals. Two radio stations in Mzuzu and Lilongwe are also planning to have radio programmes using the BNB

The BNB is increasingly becoming a useful tool among many Malawian organizations as a reference for reviewing wages and salaries of their employees. The Social Conditions Research programme is working towards strengthening its advocacy work around the BNB by involving a wide section of the Malawian society, including the following:

Government: e.g. BNB as a tool for reviewing certain policies
Parliamentarians: e.g. BNB as a tool for basing their debate in Parliament on the performance of the Malawi economy
Faith Leaders: e.g. BNB to assist in keeping in touch with living conditions of their members
Employers: e.g. BNB to assist in reviewing salaries and conditions of service
Employees: e.g. BNB as an empowerment to the working poor
Households: e.g. BNB to assist in family budgeting
Trade Unions: e.g. BNB as a moral foundation to justify a worker strike.

To see what informationis available on the BNB surveys
please go to the BNB publication page.

For further information concerning the Basic Needs Basket
please write to the following addresses:
Urban BNB to bnb-urban@cfscmalawi.org and
Rural BNB
to bnb-rural@cfscmalawi.org

You can also check for the latest information about CfSC's advocacy on
The High Cost of Living
and the Social Protection Programme.