Tanzania’s cash scheme lifts rural women out of poverty

As part of a broader strategy to empower rural women, the Tanzanian government has injected Tanzanian shillings 130 billion (56.4 million US dollars) to be rolled out as conditional cash transfers to lift extremely poor families from poverty.

According to the Minister of State, Public Service Management and Good Governance Mohamed Mchengerwa, the government is committed to helping extremely poor families benefit from the initiative.

“I would like to see these funds spent in accordance with the intended purposes to help poor citizens,” Mchengerwa told a rally in northern Sengerema district.

Funding is seeking to improve consumption and livelihoods while increasing children’s primary school enrolment and completion, let alone improving access to health care, according to the government.

Despite attaining impressive economic growth figures, poverty is widespread in rural Tanzania where 30 million people live.

Across Africa, evidence shows cash transfer programs are effective tools to increase the quality and quantity of consumption of poor households, improve education, health, and nutritional outcomes.

Based on the lessons learned from the successful implementation of a pilot project, the government has since 2010 scaled up the program to reach 1.1 million extremely poor households (6 million people) in 10,000 villages.

A recent assessment conducted by the World Bank suggests the initiative, run by the Tanzania Social Action Trust Fund (TASAF) which aims to increase income, food consumption and strengthen people’s ability to cope with shocks, has lifted families from poverty and contributed to improved access to health, consumption of food and education services.