By BRIAN HATYOKA –
ABOUT 189,000 households in Zambia are expected to benefit from the social cash transfer scheme by the end of this year, acting President Guy Scott has said.
Dr Scott said the scheme, which is aimed at empowering vulnerable people and being managed by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, had already undergone massive scale up this year, as it extended from 19 to 50 districts out of 103 districts.
He said the caseload of beneficiaries increased from 61, 000 households last year to 151, 000 this year.
He said this at Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone yesterday in a speech read for him by Community Development, Mother and Child Health Minister Emerine Kabanshi during the official launch of the community of practice for the social cash transfer in Africa.
Dr Scott said there were a lot of lessons to be learnt from Zambia on how the country successfully managed the social cash transfer scheme.
“In Zambia, results from our impact evaluation show that the social cash transfer has had positive impacts on the livelihoods and welfare of the beneficiaries.
“The poverty gap reduced by 10 percentage points and extreme poverty reduced by 5.4 percentage points,” he said.
Dr Scott said households eating more than one meal per day also increased by 19 per cent.
“In the area of sanitation, it was found that beneficiaries owning latrines increased by 15 percentage points.
“Productivity and assets ownership went up, for instance size of land cultivated increased by 18 percentage points,” he said.
Dr Scott said social protection had gained prominence in the last decade and social cash transfers were considered as one of the most effective tools of social protection.
He however noted that while Africa had made tremendous strides in various areas, poverty eradication remained a daunting but an insurmountable challenge.
Education, Science, Vocation Training and Early Education Deputy Minister Patrick Ngoma said the social cash transfer scheme was uplifting the lives of most people in rural areas across Zambia.