OVER 2000 Social Cash Transfer (SCT) beneficiaries in Kalomo district of Southern province have been engaged in income generating activities (IGAs) to discourage them from being dependent on financial handouts from government.

The Strengthening of Cash transfers for Access to finance Livelihood and Entrepreneurship (SCALE) project which is run by Care International and funded by the European Union (EU) has seen the formation of 128 village saving groups that benefit from the government sponsored SCT K140.00 bi-monthly payments to vulnerable and incapacitated households in the district.

This came to light when an EU team with Care International officials paid a courtesy call on Kalomo district commissioner, Cosmas Chiiba on Friday to monitor the progress of the project which started in 2013 and has attracted 2,490 members so far out of the 3,128 SCT beneficiaries in Kalomo.

EU delegate to Zambia and to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), programme manager, Njira Bweupe said the objective of the project was to promote effective graduation of SCT beneficiaries from government dependency.

She observed that engaging SCT beneficiaries in small income generating activities such as poultry and gardening from the little financial support they are getting from the social cash transfer scheme would make them self-sustaining households for their livelihood.

And, Mr. Chiiba said government alone cannot realize a full capacity service delivery to its citizens without the support of collaborating partners whom he said were doing a commendable job in various sectors to improve the welfare and livelihood of people in communities.

SCALE project manager, Alfred Chibinga in an interview said the concept is yielding positive results as SCT beneficiaries are now appreciating the village saving groups initiative.

The project is being implemented in Kazungula and Kalomo in Southern province, Katete in Eastern, and Kaputa in Northern province.

The social cash transfer scheme was piloted in Kalomo in 2004 and has since been scaled up in 50 districts country-wide with a target of reaching 242,000 beneficiaries by the end of this year.

It is a social protection mechanism and an intervention for reducing poverty among vulnerable and incapacitated households in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1.3 which calls on countries to implement appropriate measures to overcome financial barriers to fulfill basic needs of people in communities.

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