Small Zimbabwe cash transfers pay big dividends for rural poor
At 16, Phoebe has more responsibilities than many adults twice her age. While most adolescents are focused on school, friends, and a few chores around the house, Phoebe has much more on her mind. She is a single mother taking care of her two year old baby without family support and a source of income.
Below is her story:
My parents passed away in 2010 following a long illness. Because of their illness they could not pay for my school fees. I then dropped out of school at the age of 9, because we had no money. Since then, I have never returned to school. At the time of registration for the harmonized social cash transfer program (HSCT) I was staying with my grandmother. There were just the two of us, but my grandmother passed away before the program had started.
After my grandmother died, I was alone and because there was no one to look after me I got pregnant. When I was pregnant, the man left me and I do not know where he is. Before the HSCT program, I had problems getting soap and food for myself and my child, so I relied on doing casual labour in people’s fields My closest relatives are in Zambia so there was no one nearby to help me. I got my first payment of US$30 in June 2013 and I used it to hire labour to clear my fields. I also used the balance for food and to buy clothes for myself and my child.
My Case Care Worker comes to visit me, she says that because I am a child looking after a child she can help me. She has encouraged me to try and get a birth certificate for my baby, but this is hard because his father ran away.
I have just received the fifth payment from the HSCT and I recently bought one goat and the rest I used to buy food. The money is enough for my small family. I am grateful for the program as I had no other alternative for survival. With the next payment, I am going to buy another goat to make sure that I have plenty of livestock.