Introducing cash transfers as a form of social protection for orphans and (other) vulnerable children in Zimbabwe :lessons from other African countries.
Manyika, Lin Mary.
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Zimbabwe made commitments- global, regional and national- towards the fulfilment of the right to social protection for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) by ratifying international conventions and other regional instruments. Whilst such commitments are commendable, Zimbabwe has faced challenges in translating such commitments into actual deliverables. Currently, child protection mechanisms for OVC in Zimbabwe include, amongst others, Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), through which tuition fees, levy and examination fees assistance is provided to vulnerable children. The other social protection mechanisms are the food aid programme, public works programmes and the National Strategy on Children in Difficult Circumstances. An evaluation of the current social protection mechanisms for OVC in Zimbabwe, among other things, reported inadequate intervention of the current mechanisms so as to adequately provide for OVC. This may call for new innovative social protection mechanisms, like cash transfers, to replace some of the current mechanisms so as to adequately provide for OVC. Social cash transfers are receiving increasing recognition as a means of dealing with the of OVC problem worldwide, and more recently in Africa. There are a number of African countries that have introduced social cash transfers for children within their jurisdictions. Notable examples are South Africa, Zambia and Malawi. Social cash transfers have a positive impact on the education, health and nutrition of OVC. Social cash transfers do not involve large sums of money, thus they may be a desirable option for the social protection of OVC and their households in low income countries like Zimbabwe.