Media Centre

Press releases

Feature stories

Photo essays

Reporting guidelines

Media contact


Zimbabwe, September 2015: Exploring the impact of the harmonized cash transfers

© UNICEF 2015/Richard Nyamanhindi
An impact evaluation of the SCT, carried out by UNICEF and the American Institutes for Research, showed that the transfers increases average consumption expenditure for recipient households by $2.74 per month.

28-year old Angela Zimuto is one of the beneficiaries of the Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) programme in Zimbabwe. She lives with her son Munashe and her sister’s son, Never, in Hurungwe in Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe.

It is late afternoon and she is slowly stirring sadza – a dish made from maize flour and water which is the staple food in Zimbabwe – while she recounts how being part of the Harmonized cash transfer programme has changed her life.

“I used to live in dire conditions. I could not afford buying my own food so I used to beg from my neighbours. Now, with the money I receive every month, I am able to buy food and school uniforms for my children and can pay for their school fees.

Munashe wants to become a lawyer and Never a teacher… and now I can help make those dreams into reality.”

Angela says she is also part of a training programme that teaches families how to save and invest money. Thanks to the new skills she learned, she has been buying small livestock which she is breeding and using to improve her family’s nutrition.

Angela is just one of many examples of the positive impacts of cash transfers in the country. Working to reduce poverty levels and its intergenerational transfer, the Government, through the HSCT, targets the labour-constrained and extremely poor households. For a household to become eligible, they must meet certain criteria which include location of residence, proportion of household members of working age that are fit to work and welfare levels.

“I will always be grateful for the support I receive,” says Sylvia Moyo from Kutama Village while she waits in line for the US$50 she receives every two months. “Without the help, I wouldn’t have been able to open my small shop where I sell home-made bread buns, hats and dried vegetables. I would not have hired somebody to work on my farm or sent my grandchildren to school.”

An impact evaluation of the HSCT, carried out by UNICEF and the American Institutes for Research, showed that the transfers increases average consumption expenditure for recipient households by $2.74 per month representing about 55 per cent of median expenditure.

The evaluation also showed that HSCT also impacts the number of different food groups purchased by beneficiary households, a common indicator of diet diversity. In addition, the proportion of recipient households who are now food secure increased (from 2 to 4 per cent).

The programme impacted not only the direct beneficiaries but also the communities they live in. When beneficiaries spend the money locally, the non-beneficiary households that supply goods and services also benefit from the increased cash circulating in the community. For example, for every dollar transferred to beneficiaries, up to an extra 0,20c in income is generated, mostly accruing to non-beneficiaries.

Evidence also shows that there is an important improvement in terms of food security and an increase in the share of households owning livestock such as goats, cows and chickens.

Hopes for a brighter future

Over the next year UNICEF and the Government of Zimbabwe plans to expand its research programme in the country to include an assessment of the longer-term impacts on productive activities and labour allocation of the programme. Combined with the ongoing expansion of the fiscal space dialogue, the programme will strengthen Government capacities to better coordinate between social protection and livelihood interventions. It will also deepen policy makers’ understanding of how to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and prove that cash transfers can help households become more productive.



 Email this article

unite for children