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Zimbabwe’s Harmonised Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) Programme

Year Programme Began:2011
Implementing Ministry:Ministry of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare
Target Group:Food poor and labour constrained
Conditions:None
Approximate Reach (as of 2015):55,000 households (as of 2015)

Zimbabwe’s National Harmonized Social Cash Transfer programme (HSCT) is an unconditional cash transfer program targeted to ultra-poor households who are labor constrained. The programme was introduced in 2011 by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (MPSLSW). Objectives are to enable beneficiary households to increase their consumption to a level above the food poverty line, to reduce the number of ultra-poor households and to help beneficiaries avoid risky coping strategies such as child labour and early marriage. The HSCT Programme is positioned to become Zimbabwe’s primary social protection program and will eventually cover the whole country. UNICEF Zimbabwe contracted the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and its partners the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and the Centre of Applied Social Sciences (CASS) to conduct the evaluation of the HSCT.

The Department of Social Services is responsible for the administration and management of the program. The MPSLSW is rolling out the programme in four phases. Phase 1 was from 2011 – 2012, when the program was rolled out in ten districts and the first transfer was provided in February 2012. In 2013 (Phase 2), 10 new districts were added to the program, and the rollout of Phase 2 began in three districts – Binga, Mwenezi, and Mudzi. Eligible households receive bi-monthly cash payments that range from US$10 to US$25 per month based on household size. The HSCT is jointly funded by the Government of Zimbabwe and Development Partners, through the multi-donor aligned Child Protection Fund; technical assistance is provided by UNICEF. To qualify for the Program, households must be food poor (living below the food poverty line) and must be labor constrained.

Type Title Theme(s) Year Citation
Journal Article More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being; Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2021

Handa, S., Otchere, F., Sirma, P. and (2021), More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Dev Policy Rev. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12576

Brief Zimbabwe's cash transfer programme: The challenges of a promising programme Programme Evaluation and Design 2017

UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office. (2017).Zimbabwe’s cash transfer programme: The challenges of a promising programme.Nairobi, Kenya.

Journal Article The effect of cash transfers and household vulnerability on food security in Zimbabwe Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2018

Bhalla G, Hnda S, Angeles G and Seidenfeld D. (2018). The effect of cash transfers and household vulnerability on food security in Zimbabwe. Food Policy (74): 82-99.

Book Chapter Zimbabwe: Using Evidence to Overcome Political and Economic Challenges to Starting a National Unconditional Cash Transfer Programme. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa 2016 Seidenfeld D, Dumba L, Handa S, Muwoni L, Reeves H and Sammon E. (2016). Zimbabwe: Using Evidence to Overcome Political and Economic Challenges to Starting a National Unconditional Cash Transfer Programme. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Working and Position Paper The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Bhalla G, Handa S, Angeles G and Seidenfeld D. (2016). The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe, Innocenti Working Papers no. 2016-22, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence.

Brief Zimbabwe's Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme improves food security and reduces reliance on food gifts Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2018

Bhalla G. (2018). Zimbabwe’s Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme improves food security and reduces reliance on food gifts. Innocenti Research Brief 2018-18. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence, Italy.

Brief Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2016 Cook S, Neijhoft N, Palermo T and Peterman A. (2016). Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief Measuring Health and Well-being of Young People in the Transfer Project Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

Palermo T. (2015). Measuring Health and Well-being of Young People in the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-03. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Social Protection Programmes Contribute to HIV Prevention Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

EPRI/ UNICEF. (2015). Social Protection Programmes Contribute to HIV Prevention.

Brief The state of evidence on social cash transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017. Innocenti Research Brief 2017-21. UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence, Italy 2017 Mills M, Spektor G and Terzini M. (2017). The state of evidence on social cash transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017. Innocenti Research Brief 2017-21. UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence, Italy.
Brief Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers. Transfer Project Research Brief 2017-02 Education and Child Labour 2017

Peterman A, Yablonski J and Daidone S. (2017). Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers. Transfer Project Research Brief 2017-02. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Journal Article Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298 2018 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T, Yablonski J on behalf of the Transfer Project (2018). Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298.
Journal Article The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2017

Fisher E, Attah R, Barca V, O’Brien C, Brook S, Holland J, Kardan A, Pavanello S and Pozarny P. (2017). The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries. World Development, 99: 299-319.

Working and Position Paper Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2017 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T and Yablonski J. (2017). Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief The impact of cash transfers on food security Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Hjelm L. (2016). The impact of cash transfers on food security. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2014

Davis B and Handa S. (2014). The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity. Transfer Project Research Brief. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2013

Plavgo I, de Milliano M and Handa S. (2013).The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Transfer Project Research Brief 2013-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief Programme Evaluation and Design 2012 Davis B, Gaarder M, Handa S and Yablonski J. (2012). Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief.
Journal Article Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2016

Attah R, Barca V, Kardan K, MacAuslan I, Merttens F andPellerano L. (2016). Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Journal of Development Studies, 52(8).

Brief Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05 Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2016

Palermo, T.(2016). Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2015

Davis B and Handa S. (2015). How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-09. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Journal Article Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2018

Kilburn K, Prencipe L, Hjelm L, Peterman A, Handa S and Palermo T. (2018). Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households. BMC Psychiatry, 18(201).

Harmonised Social Cash Transfer Programme, Baseline 2013

Harmonised Social Cash Transfer Programme, Endline 2017

Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT)

Data Collection
    Years: 2013-2016
    Sample Size: 3,000 households
    Location: Treatment Districts: Binga, Mwenzi, and Mudzi; Comparison Districts: UMP, Chiredzi, and Hwange
Evaluation Design: District-matched case-control
Key Partners/Implementers:

UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

UNICEF Zimbabwe

AIR – American Institutes of Research

UNC-CH – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

Ruzivo Trust

University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences

PtoP – FAO Protection to Production project

Funders:

3ie – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

DfID – Department for International Development

EU – European Union

FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

SDC – Swiss Development Cooperation

Sida – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

UNICEF

Reports

HSCT Impact Evaluation Baseline Report (2013)

HSCT 12 Month Report (2014)

HSCT Process Evaluation Report (2014)

Zimbabwe's HSCT Endline Impact Evaluation Report (2018)