Pauline Maitera (58), from Dehwe Village, Ward 3 is one of thousands of people facing food insecurity in rural Makoni District, Manicaland Province, east of Zimbabwe. She is grateful to ActionAid and World Food Programme (WFP) as she could be one of the beneficiaries of an electronic cash transfer programme, which is targeting people like her.
The cash transfer programme is being implemented by ActionAid with support from WFP. It is running between October 2017 until March 2018, under a Lean Season Assistance (LSA) Programme which is running at a time when vulnerable communities have food challenges owing to food scarcity caused by poor previous farming seasons.
Pauline, a widow, a mother and grandmother, was ranked the most food insecure household in her village of 52 households during a registration exercise for the people to be assisted under the LSA programme in October 2017. A total of 13 979 people from 13 wards in Makoni District are set to be assisted under the programme. The programme will also move to Nyanga District also in Manicaland from January to March 2018.
“I am happy to hear that the current LSA programme has introduced some resilience building in it. I will buy food with the money I am going to get from the LSA programme. The money from the casual jobs which I do in the community will now be used for me to join an income savings and lending scheme instead of buying food. I will no longer be living from hand to mouth if I manage to do some savings for my family,” said Pauline.
“My son who is 17 years stopped going to school at Form 2 level. If my income savings project works, I would want to take him back to school, “added Pauline. She harvested seven 20kg buckets of maize in April 2017. She however said these would not last year up to December 2017.
If confirmed to benefit from the programme, Pauline will receive US$30 from the LSA programme, where each one of her three family members is entitled for US$10 each, making a total of US$30 the family will receive monthly from October 2017 to March 2018.
Over and above providing communities with food aid, ActionAid is introducing complementary livelihoods interventions such as conservation agriculture, small livestock management including disease prevention and control, income savings schemes and community structures strengthening. The community structures to be supported include Asset Management Committees such as dip tank committees which will be trained under the resilience building and sustainability component of the LSA programme.
“The complementary livelihoods interventions seek to build the resilience of communities so that they can withstand future shocks and stresses,” said Toendepi Kamusewu, Acting Country Director for ActionAid Zimbabwe. Toendepi said this during a recent visit to Makoni to see how the registration exercise for the programme was going.
As we harness the use of technology and provide fast emergency responses, the LSA programme in Makoni is introducing the use of a digital technology called SCOPE where the registrations of people to be assisted will be done digitally on mobile phones in the communities. People to be assisted will receive the money through swipe cards called SCOPE where the food will be purchased at identified food retailers which will be conveniently situated within the communities.