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Once one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, Zimbabwe is now one of the poorest countries in the world. A breakdown in social service delivery, coupled with steep economic decline and the generalized prevalence of HIV/AIDS has resulted in 78 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, 55 per cent below the food poverty line. 25 per cent of all children are orphaned.
To address household poverty as a key driver of child vulnerability in Zimbabwe, the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (NAP II) 2011-2015 and its accompanying pooled funding mechanism (the Child Protection Fund) includes social cash transfers as a major programme component. The first cash transfers will be distributed in early 2012 to approximately 5,000-10,000 households with an eventual target of 55,000 households over the next three years.
The evaluation will assess the impact on HIV risk (sexual activity, condom use, transactional and forced sex, and partner characteristics), child protection (psycho-social status, age at marriage and age at first pregnancy, and physical abuse, particularly violence against women), and human capital (school enrollment, attainment, repetition, labour force participation, and physical health).
In addition, the evaluation will investigate the economic impact of the SCT on both target households and the local community. This will include examining impacts on farm and non-farm economic activity (input use, and crop and livestock production) as well as employment, income, consumption and investment.
The SCT is fully aligned with national priorities and executed by the Government of Zimbabwe. With a major increase in scale looming, evidence that the theory of change is sound or tweaks to the programme delivery would be quite timely and useful.