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Social protection - Improving Lives

Estelle in front of her house with her children

Estelle in front of her house with her children

50 year old Ms. Estelli Hamweene, who lives with her 6 children in a rural village in Monze district, is just one example of a worthy beneficiary of the cash transfer programme.  As Estelli is living with a disability, she qualifies to receive a social cash transfer of K280, equivalent to approximately €26, every two months.  This enables her to send 3 of her children to school, access piped water close to her home, and grow a garden of vegetables to feed her family.  She has also managed to put a new roof on her house with iron sheets and buy 20 goats and 6 chickens – all since she started availing of the cash transfers in 2008. In times of emergency, Estelli is able to sell a goat or chicken to raise money.  Estelli says the cash transfer programme has raised her confidence, she now considers herself to be a valuable member of her community.

What began in 2003 as a small donor-led pilot project in one of Zambia’s rural districts, has now evolved to become a government-owned and funded nationwide programme, which has been shown to reduce the severity of poverty by 11% at household level.

Irish Aid has advocated strongly for greater government ownership and investment in the programme. These efforts have resulted in the development of a social protection policy and the scale-up of the cash-transfer programme countrywide, expanding both coverage and reach from 4 districts and 7,900 beneficiaries, in 2008 to 106 districts and 242,000 beneficiary families in 2016.  Ireland has spent approximately €10 million supporting the government to build the social cash transfer system and document evidence of its impact.

Estelle in her garden with her children

Estelle in her garden with her children

Read more: Irish Aid's work in Zambia