Social welfare is known as an aspect of social protection that looks at the wellbeing of an individual, family or community. Many countries are beginning to recognise the role of social protection in promoting food, security among vulnerable groups and this is a cross cutting discipline that boarders on the provision of goods and services relating to health, education, nutrition, employment, housing, and legal matters, especially to the vulnerable people of a society. In this regard, social welfare is meant to be a public social safety net for citizens who among others include orphans and vulnerable children, the physically challenged children, incapacitated individuals, the old and the sick. These citizens are supposed to benefit from the national welfare system that offers different forms of insurance and assistance programs. However, in Zambian context the national social welfare systems alone cannot meet the needs of the growing number of the elderly hence, the traditional welfare systems in which the extended family seems to play a crucial role in caring for the elderly needs to be strengthened. (Oliver Sitambuli 2015)
Social support schemes were introduced by the Government of the republic of Zambia to its citizens living under extreme poverty, among others include social cash transfer scheme (SCTS) administered through Public welfare assistance scheme. Social cash transfer scheme is meant to improve the wellbeing of the most Vulnerable group of the society and those individual living under extreme poverty.
This research paper is organised into six chapters as per requirement. The introduction is presented in chapter one in which the researcher looked at the aim, objectives, research questions and significance of the study. In this chapter, the researcher also presented the reasons of interest to study the elderly or aged perspectives and experience of social cash transfer (SCTS). In chapter two, the researcher presents the different aspects of social cash transfer for the elderly in Africa, the socio economic impact on the elders enrolled on social cash transfer program and the social strategies in Zambia that help in governing the social cash transfer program. The researcher further looks at the theoretical and conceptual framework of social cash transfer. In Chapter three, the researcher presents the research design, the sampling size and population in relation to the study. In Chapter four, the researcher presents the data finding of the study and analyses the data into Qualitative and Qualitative. In Chapter five the researcher presents the discussion of the findings of the study in alignment with the specific objectives. In chapter six, the researcher presents the conclusions, and also recommendations based on the findings.
Social cash transfers are regular payments of money provided by entities such as government or non-governmental organizations to individuals or households based on economic needs and this is aimed at providing the recipients with social protection and consumption with the focus to eliminate extreme poverty. In particular, they target groups of peole who are excluded from formal employment and hence cannot access formal social systems. The transfers can be universal or explicitly targeted to those identified as the vulnerable people of the community. (Michael & Samson, 2009).
The overall objective of the social cash transfer program is to strengthen the capacities of the beneficiaries and to improve their livelihoods through putting sustainable mechanisms like social cash transfers. Specifically, the social cash transfer program is aimed at promoting immediate relief to the vulnerable persons such as older persons, orphans and vulnerable children and persons with disabilities from extreme poverty. This is achieved through provision of regular and predictable cash transfers to selected beneficiaries and building their capacity and in return eliminating poverty.
1.3 Social Cash Transfer in Zambia
The Government of Zambia implemented the Social Cash Transfer Program under a pilot project in Kalomo in 2003 through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health and it was supported by the German Government and has been scaled up to other districts in a phased manner,the program has made a positive impact on the lives of beneficiaries receiving the cash transfers on a bi-monthly basis.. In 2017, the scheme was introduced in more districts supporting over 590,000 households. (Chola Mukanga 2015)
The objective of the Social Cash Transfer Program is to reduce extreme poverty and its inter-generational transfer. The aim of the program is to realize an improved life of the beneficiaries enrolled on the program. The following are the specific objectives of social cash transfer:
• Income : To supplement household income of the beneficiaries
• Education : To increase the number of children attending primary school education
• Health : To reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity among children
• Food security : To increase the number of households having decent meals per day
• Livelihoods : To increase the number of households owning assets such as livestock
1.4 Problem Statement
In this rapid ageing world, the elderly have become one of the vulnerable and excluded groups in our society. Poverty tend to be growing at a fast rate among the elderly particularly those who have no access to formal social security like pension ( Deither,Pestieau and Ali, 2011).
Older persons who are unable to take advantage of income generating opportunities while the are young and energitic make social cash transfer the only option for survival. Furthermore the elderly persons in society face diverse challenges including diminishing physical ability, age ,discrimination, lack of proper care and financial challenges while other become targets of stereotypes and prejudice. These problems render some of them to become dependent on other for care and stability, other who have suffered a life time of poverty became old with little or no resources while those who have assets may not manage them well due to various constraints like age and lack of knowledge due to changing times, hence increasing the levels of vulnerability (Gondi 2009)
According to statistics, social cash transfer scheme in Zambia has increased to 700,000 beneficiaries. In Zambia the most vulnerable are the elderly, mostly they are left to fend for themselves and usually no proper care is given to them. This prompted the researcher to focus on how the elderly of itezhi tezhi benefit from the social cash transfer and also identify the knowledge gap with regards with the social cash transfer.
1.5 Research Aims
The research is aimed at establishing the impact of social cash transfer on the elderly and to also assess if the social cash transfer program helps in meeting their needs.
1.6 Study Objectives
1.6.1 General Objectives
The objective is aimed at assessing the impact of social cash transfer on the elderly people
enrolled in the social cash transfer program in chibolya compound of itezhi tezhi district.
1.6.2 Specific Objectives
The following specific objectives will help to unbundle or clearly explain the general objective:
1. To ascertain how social cash transfer is accessed by the elderly who are enrolled for the social cash transfer in Itezhi tezhi district
2. To establish the socio-economic effects of Social Cash transfers on the elderly of the community.
3. To identify the challenges faced by the elderly in the community in accessing the social cash transfer
1.7 Research Questions
To achieve the specific objectives; answers to the following questions will help bring out the information that will be relevant to the research:
1. How social cash is transfer fund accessed by the elderly enrolled in the program?
2. To what extent does the program meet the needs of elderly of the community?
3. What are the socio-economic impacts of cash transfer on the elderly in the district
4. What challenges do the elderly face in accessing social cash transfer fund?
1.8 Limitation of study
This study was not able to cover other districts for purpose of comparison due to some constraints, pertaining to mobility, funds and time.
1.9 Significance of study
The study is significant because it helped the researcher to come up with key findings that can be used by the Department of social welfare under the Ministry of Community Development to address the concerns identified by elderly people enrolled on the program. The study findings and conclusion will contribute in gathering knowledge and information concerning the different ways of utilising of cash transfer allocation and the extent to which the program meets the needs of older persons in Zambia. In addition, the study also addressed what the researcher viewed as the knowledge gap on intervention programs designed for the elderly because there is little research existing on impacts of social cash transfer on the elderly in Zambia.