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Men ditch families as poverty bites

by Staff reporter
24 Oct 2023 at 06:00hrs | Views
A growing number of men are reportedly deserting their families due to escalating poverty levels. This information came to light during a media excursion in Lupane and Binga districts of Matebeleland North province. The tour aimed to evaluate the impact of an Emergency Social Cash Transfer (ESCT) program, designed to assist vulnerable families across the country.

Approximately 25,000 vulnerable families have benefited from the ESCT program, which was financially supported by the German government through the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau Development Bank. The program's primary goals were to enhance dietary diversity and improve the nutritional status of children.

The program, implemented in eight urban areas across the country, provided vulnerable families with monthly cash transfers of US$12 per person, up to a maximum of four individuals per household. This financial support aimed to alleviate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numerous female beneficiaries, interviewed by NewsDay, revealed that they had been abandoned by their unemployed spouses, leaving them with the responsibility of providing for their families.

According to the most recent statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the unemployment rate has risen from 19% to 21% in the third quarter of this year.

For example, Rumbidzai Muvengwa (32) of King Lobengula residential suburb in Lupane shared her experience, stating that the cash transfers rescued her from the burden of supporting her five children after her husband departed last year. She expressed uncertainty about her husband's whereabouts.

Georgina Siamwana (49) of Intale Fishing Camp in Binga also described her situation, highlighting that she had never received support from her estranged husband. She currently cares for her adult children and her daughter's child, whose father is not providing support.

Unicef Zimbabwe's social policy manager, Andrew Kardan, noted that some households had utilized the funds for income-generating initiatives, such as supporting their children's education and paying for medical expenses. He commended households that saved some of their benefits to start livelihood projects, stating that with additional support and capacity-building initiatives, these households could improve their resilience.

Joseph Tirivavi, the deputy director of the Public Service Ministry's family and social protection, explained that the ESCT program was established to assist vulnerable households that had lost their sources of income during the pandemic. It specifically targeted households experiencing food insecurity, as well as households lacking able-bodied individuals aged 19 to 59 to provide for the family.

Source - newsday