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African Journal of Gender, Society & Development ; 12(1):157-157–184, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2314409


The social, economic, and political crises in Zimbabwe have resulted in extreme poverty and the female-headed families are no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated poverty and food insecurity in rural households. This sudden shock was not anticipated, and many governments failed to sustain livelihoods for smallholder farmers who relied solely on farming activities and selling of farm produce. The state has failed to fulfil its basic mandate of social service provision to the most vulnerable sections of society. Consequently, the Basic Agricultural Assistance programme was introduced as a microeconomic stability tool to buffer income risks faced by the poor. The article aimed to discuss the experiences of female-headed households in the Adventist Development and Relief Agency cash transfer Programme in Nganunu Village in Zvishavane. A phenomenological research approach through an exploratory qualitative research design was used to get in-depth insights on the experiences of female-headed households. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data. Content thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Findings indicated that despite health, political and economic crises, the implementation of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency cash transfer was a success in bridging the gap left by the collapse of the social welfare system. The cash transfer programme empowered female-headed households to access agricultural inputs timeously. Female-headed households were capacitated to make decisions and improve food security in and to initiate social cohesion with other beneficiaries. The study recommended inter-sectoral collaborations between state and non-state actors for more effective programmes that cushion female-headed households from poverty.