19 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Scheme to Benefit More Poor Families

More vulnerable families will be added to the list of beneficiaries for the on-going Government cash handouts programme. United Nations Children's Fund child protection specialist Ms Elayn Sammons said the beneficiaries for the programme's second phase would be identified starting next month.

She was addressing journalists attending a week-long workshop on developing the capacity of the media in reporting children and women issues in Nyanga on Monday.

Ms Sammons said the selected beneficiaries would start receiving the cash handouts in January next year.

"The design for the cash transfer makes reference to the current food basket offered by World Food Programme (WFP) to vulnerable households as well as the payment offered by the Public Works scheme currently run by Government," she said.

Ms Sammons said the majority of the beneficiaries from the first phase were children who accounted for 64 percent.

Orphans accounted for 27 percent, 12 percent were female adults, six percent were male adults, 19 percent were the elderly and another 19 percent were the disabled or chronically ill.

The beneficiaries were selected from Mangwe (Matabeleland South), Umguza (Matabeleland North) Mzilikazi (Bulawayo), Epworth (Harare), Makoni (Manicaland), Rushinga (Mashonaland Central), Goromonzi (Mashonaland East), Kariba (Mashonaland West), Chivi (Masvingo) and Zvishavane (Midlands).

The vulnerable families live below the poverty datum line and face major challenges meeting their basic needs.

This kind of a family often has one meal a day, or sometimes no meal at all and is unable to purchase non-food items such as soap and clothing.

Labour constraint families, those with no one in the age group of 18-60 years who is fit and healthy enough to work or when the head of the house has to care for four or more people, would also benefit.

At least 18 637 households are already benefiting from the first phase of the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer Programme (HSCT) being run in the 10 selected districts.

The households receive an average of US$21,50 every month, but the amount varies with the size of the family.

The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Services under the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2011-2015) phase 11 in partnership with the UNICEF.

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