Zambia (Discontinued on 9 Dec 2020)

Situation Report

Sector Status

Social Protection/ Multisectoral Cash

people targeted
households received cash transfers


  • Estimated 4.1 million people nationally are affected directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in terms of the socio-economic and cultural impacts and the Government of Zambia responses to COVID-19.

  • An estimated 1.2 million people in urban and per-urban settlements are extremely poor and vulnerable with poor access to health, alternative learning options for their children, limited income-earning opportunities and overall low access to key services.

  • A total of 700,000 people (150,000 households) are targeted under the Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) in 18 worst affected districts.


  • Sector partners are implementing cash transfers, targeting existing social cash transfer households and additional beneficiary households on a temporary basis. The response involves a vertical expansion (increase in the amounts paid to existing social cash transfer households) as well as a horizontal expansion (inclusion of additional beneficiaries). The programme also involves supporting those beneficiary households to access additional services in public health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, GBV and disability.

  • Sector partners delivered ECT payments to 18,021 households in nine districts. Beneficiary households receive a registered phone and a sim card enabling mobile payments (400 Zambian Kwacha a month for six months paid in two instalments of 1,200 Kwacha).

  • The Social Protection ECT response is closely coordinated with the Food Security sector who are also implementing a cash response in five additional urban districts.


  • Government of Zambia counterparts and lead on the ECT programme are at times overwhelmed with competing priorities of implementing the regular social cash transfer programme being funded by the World Bank as well as the social protection systems strengthening the work that is required, which slows down the implementation rate.

  • Available funding is inadequate to meet the needs of the 4.1 million people. The partners are only able to reach about 700,000 people with the current resources.