Original Research

Cash transfers and early childhood care and education in Zimbabwe: A critical inquiry to discourse, theory and practice

Hilton Nyamukapa
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 6, No 2 | a455 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v6i2.455 | © 2016 Hilton Nyamukapa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 May 2016 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Hilton Nyamukapa, LEAD Development Group and Development Advisor, Child Welfare and Protection Services, Zimbabwe


Cash transfer based social protection can potentially contribute positively upon targeted beneficiaries on a variety of developmental aspects. This study explored the pilot and scaled-up phases of the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer program to determine impacts towards improving under-eight children’s access to food, education, and health services. Stories of significant change were gathered in retrospect from purposively sampled caregivers and children beneficiaries. Based on thematic and guided analysis, it emerged that the programmes’ theoretical and practical approaches renders the interventions less effective as impact assessment is narrowed to the early childhood cohort. This is furthered by relatively insufficient size of grants disbursed per household and commodity supply-side challenges. Consequently, a review to theoretical and practical tenets of the cash transfer approach becomes imminent in the Zimbabwean context. Targeting criteria needs refinement and supplemented with policy and multi-faceted public investment to address underlying limitations to impact on young children. 


Cash Transfer; Early Childhood Care and Education; Early Childhood Development; Child Care; Child Poverty


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