The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS), with support from the Danish Red Cross, British Red Cross and Finnish Red Cross, is rolling out a $530 000 cash transfer programme to assist disadvantaged villagers in Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West provinces.
By Style Reporter
The four-month intervention programme running from December 2018 to March 2019 is covering Binga district and Kariba rural district in Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West provinces respectively.
The programme follows the latest food insecurity survey, which highlights that 55% of the population is in the emergency phase of food insecurity.
According to ZRCS secretary-general Maxwell Phiri, the intervention programme is targeting 4 942 individuals in Binga and 6 309 in Kariba, among whom 98% are women and children.
“Women and children always bear the brunt of food insecurity and the ongoing intervention has got 98% of the beneficiaries being women and children,” Phiri said.
The cash transfer programme is availing an average of $42 cash per household in identified wards that are facing severe food insecurity.
One of the beneficiaries, Mapenzi Mkombwa (24) a mother of three, said the programme was making their lives more bearable.
“I am a mother of three and I live with my husband who is jobless. The situation was really dire for us. We didn’t harvest much and we had since ran out of food and relying on menial jobs for survival,” she said.
“With the money from the Red Cross, I am going to buy maize meal, cooking oil, sugar and soap plus any other necessities. They have given us some hope.”
Binga district administrator Lydia Ndeti said the ZRCS intervention would go a long way in alleviating human suffering in the area.
“Most of the villagers had become vulnerable because whatever little harvests they made had run out and the Red Cross intervention programme is just what the doctor has ordered,” she said.
“Even more important, is that this cash transfer programme is in United States dollar denominations,” she said.
While some basic commodities had become scarce in some parts of the country, they are largely available in outlying areas and other specific shops where they are charged in US dollars.
Phiri said beyond emergency interventions, ZRCS was focusing on developmental aspects and ensuring that the ongoing food insecurity would not recur.
“Availing food at a time the villagers are now engaged in land cultivation following the recent onset of the farming season means they will have energy to till the land, hence better harvests in the event of good rains,” he said.