Paidamoyo Chipunza Health Reporter
AT least 300 000 economically disadvantaged families will receive monthly grants of between US$10 and US$25 from the Government, starting next month.
The grants will help beneficiaries to meet food and healthcare requirements.
Government has already mobilised US$45 million to cover the next three years.
Social services director in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Sydney Mhishi, said the families were identified under a pilot project which ran from November 10 last year in the poorest districts of the country.
He said 60 percent of the households are headed by children and the elderly.
There are over one million orphans in Zimbabwe and only 527 000 have registered access to external support.
Traditional family and community mechanisms to support orphans have been under financial strain, resulting in more children facing difficulties in accessing healthcare, education and other basic amenities.
Under the cash transfer programme, Mr Mhishi said the amount received by a household will depend on the number of people.
He said once a household benefits from the programme, it will automatically access other social services support programmes in the country.
These include free education under the Basic Education Assistance Module, access to health services, farming inputs and food distribution schemes.
"Beneficiaries will be reviewed every five years to see if their situation has changed," Mr Mhishi said.
He was speaking at a workshop on older persons organised by HelpAge Zimbabwe in Harare last week.
"Government has introduced a harmonised cash transfer system for poorest families, which will start running full swing in February," Mr Mhishi said.
Apart from the elderly and child-headed families, households with large numbers of dependents and those with chronically-ill or persons living with disabilities will benefit.
The cash transfer system is being run under the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children phase II.
It will run until 2015 and is being implemented with support from the Child Protection Fund.
Zimbabwe has introduced a number of safety nets to cushion the poor in the past few years.
Such programmes include food-for-work in which people carry out community projects then receive food packages.