UNICEF Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and GOAL Zimbabwe is rolling out the Emergency Social Cash Transfer Program (ESCT) to reduce food insecurity, improve dietary diversity, and maternal and child health outcomes of vulnerable households, whose situation has further deteriorated as a result of COVID-19.
The programme is primarily focused on households headed by the elderly (65 years and above), those with pregnant women or with children under the age of 2 years, persons living with disability and child headed households.
Households deemed to be well-off will be excluded despite the category they fall in. Importantly the programme, is flexible to ensure that highly vulnerable households who may not fall under the above-mentioned categories are also considered.
“Cash transfers are a very important way to protect the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe particularly during these emergency circumstances exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative.
“We hope that for the thousands of households who will receive the payments, the cash can go a long way to providing basic and sustained food supplies and increase the nutritional intake for these families,” she said.
The beneficiaries of the programme will be supported through a combination of monthly cash transfers and complimentary nutrition and child protection services, for a period of 12 months.
“This is a social protection response to the emerging vulnerabilities in the urban context. Assistance has been largely towards rural communities and recent studies including the Urban Vulnerability Assessment are pointing towards an increae in both prevalence and incidence of urban poverty,” said the Hon. L Matuke, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in his opening remarks at the launch event in Gutu.
“We are grateful for the partnership between Government and its development partners in the delivery of social protection to its vulnerable citizens,” he said.
The programme initially aims to reach over 8,000 households (more than 34,000 individuals) and at present targets Gutu-Mupandawana in Masvingo province and Highfields in Harare province. The first payment in Gutu commences in November 2020 and in December 2020 for Highfields.
The programme is funded through the generous support of the Government of Germany (KfW) and the Government of Sweden (SIDA).