About 19 000 households from Binga, Mangwe, Rushinga, Mudzi and Makoni are set to benefit from the Emergency Social Cash Transfer (ESCT) programme that aims to strengthen the resilience of households from food insecurities.

The programme collaborates with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, UNICEF and other partners.

The programme which combines nutrition and child protection services was first launched in August 2020 supporting the two districts of Gutu and Highfields.

In 2022 the programme supported over 113,790 individuals and 25,801 households in the urban localities of the eight districts of Beitbridge, Binga, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Gutu, Highfields, Lupane and Mufakose.

In a statement, Thursday, UNICEF Zimbabwe said under this new phase, the Emergency Social Cash Transfer (ESCT), which the German Government is funding through KfW will provide cash payments to five new districts while providing a further three months of continuity support to its existing urban districts.

The Chief Director of Social Development and Disability Affairs of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Edmos Mtetwa appreciated the collaboration between his Ministry, UNICEF and the implementing partners.

“I urge that the excellent coordination between all stakeholders be maintained across the whole processes from the grassroots level to national level. Through our coordinated effort we need to ensure that we reach the most vulnerable in the communities and minimise exclusion,” said Dr Mtetwa.

The Deputy Representative of Programmes at UNICEF, Zeinab Adam highlighted during the launch event the importance of the programme’s holistic approach.

“Providing support from multiple angles is essential because we know that there are multiple vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and that cash alone cannot do it,” said Adam.

Meanwhile, UNICEF said under this new phase of the support, the programme will also be working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to support selected schools in these districts with a school feeding programme for one school calendar year.

“This will be organised through the School Improvement Grant, an established mechanism that provides direct payments to schools to support them in addressing most basic needs and meet a minimum set of school functionality criteria,” they said.