Child Poverty in Zimbabwe: A Growing Crisis

Child poverty in Zimbabwe is a growing crisis that is affecting millions of children in the country. According to UNICEF, more than half of Zimbabwe’s population lives in poverty, and the majority of those affected are children. This is a devastating reality for the country’s future, as these children are not receiving the basic necessities they need to survive and thrive.

Understanding the Causes of Child Poverty in Zimbabwe

• Lack of access to basic services such as healthcare, education, and clean water
• High levels of unemployment
• Inadequate government support
• Poor infrastructure
• Inequality and discrimination
• Climate change

Q: What are the effects of child poverty in Zimbabwe?

A: The effects of child poverty in Zimbabwe are far-reaching and devastating. Children are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, lack of access to education, and poor health. They are also more likely to be exposed to violence, exploitation, and abuse.

Q: What can be done to address child poverty in Zimbabwe?

A: To address child poverty in Zimbabwe, it is important to focus on improving access to basic services such as healthcare, education, and clean water. It is also important to create jobs and provide economic opportunities for families. Additionally, the government must provide adequate support to those in need and invest in infrastructure.


Child poverty in Zimbabwe is a growing crisis that is affecting millions of children in the country. To address this issue, it is important to focus on improving access to basic services, creating jobs and economic opportunities, and providing adequate government support. It is also important to recognize the effects of inequality and discrimination, as well as the impact of climate change. With the right policies and investments, it is possible to reduce child poverty in Zimbabwe and create a brighter future for the country’s children.

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there is more to poverty than meet the eye.

Poverty is caused by factors such as corruption, high unemployment rates, underperforming banking system, lack of foreign investment, natural disasters, underperforming industries, poor infrastructure, climatic changes among several other factors.

People living in poverty have limited access to basic needs such as food, shelter, water and healthcare.

Individuals, Business and Non-profit organisations can assist to eradicate poverty by helping people living in poverty through donations and volunteering for programs and organisations that support those in need.

Many people have misconceptions about poverty, and this had led to stereotypical perceptions about poverty were many view people in poverty as people who do not like to work, who do not have direction and are very lazy.

This write up will explain the main causes and classification of poverty so that the reader can have a true appreciation of poverty and thereby take necessary measures within reach to fight poverty so that we have a better World.

Cyclic poverty, collective poverty, concentrated collective poverty and case poverty are the classes of poverty that will be discussed in this script.

Cyclic Poverty

This is poverty that may be widespread throughout a population but the occurrence is of limited duration. In non-industrial societies, this sort of inability to provide for one’s basic needs rests mainly upon temporary food shortages caused by natural phenomenon such as cyclones, earthquakes and drought or poor agricultural planning.

Prices can rise because of scarcities of food which will bring widespread, albeit temporary misery. In industrialised societies, the chief cyclical cause of poverty is fluctuations in the business cycle, with mass unemployment during periods of depression or serious recession.

Governments in almost all advanced industrial societies have adopted economic policies that attempt to limit the ill effects of economic fluctuations. These governments play an active role in poverty alleviation by increasing spending as a way of stimulating the economy.

Part of the spending comes in the form of direct assistance to the unemployed, either through unemployment compensation, welfare and other subsidies or by employment on public works projects.

Even though business depressions affect all segments of society, the impact is most severe on people of the lowest socio-economic strata because they have fewer marginal resources than those of high economic strata who have more marginal resources.

Collective Poverty

This differs to cyclical poverty which is temporary, collective or widespread poverty involves a relatively permanent insufficiency of means to secure basic needs. This condition may be so general as to describe the average level of life in a society or it may be concentrated in relatively large groups in an otherwise prosperous society.

Collective poverty maybe transmitted from generation, parents passing their poverty on to their children. Collective poverty is relatively general and lasting in parts of Asia, the Middle East, most of Africa and parts of South America and Central America. Life for the majority of the population in these regions is at minimal level.

Life in those societies is characterised by low life expectancy, high levels of infant mortality and poor health. Nutritional deficiencies cause disease seldom seen by doctors in the highly developed countries.

Collective poverty is normally related to economic underdevelopment. Expansion of the Gross National Product (GNP) through improved agriculture and industrialisation as well as population limitation that is both population control and induced economic development can be remedies to collective poverty.

An increase of the GNP does not necessarily lead to an improved standard of living for the population. In many developing countries, the population grows faster than the economy with no net reduction in poverty as a result. Several developing nations are also charaterised by long standing system of unequal distribution of wealth.

The tendency for a large portion of any increase to be siphoned off by the elites and persons who are already wealthy, while others claim the increases in GNP will always trickle down to the part of the population living at the subsistence level.

Concentrated Collective Poverty.

In several industrialised, relatively affluent countries, particular demographic groups are vulnerable to long-term poverty. In city ghettos, in regions bypassed or abandoned by industry and in areas where agriculture or industry is inefficient and cannot complete profitably there are found victims of concentrated collective poverty.

These people like those afflicted with generalised poverty have higher mortality rates, poor health, low educational levels and low almost low of everything when compared with the more affluent segments of society.

The chief economic traits of such people are unemployment and underemployment, unskilled occupations and job instability. Efforts of amelioration focus on ways to bring the deprived groups into the mainstream of economic life by attracting new industry, promoting small business, introducing improved agricultural methods, and raising the level of the skills of the employable members of the society.

Case Poverty

It is similar to collective poverty in relative permanence but different from it in terms of distribution. Case poverty refers to the inability of an individual or family to secure basic needs even in social surroundings of general prosperity.

This inability is generally related to the lack of some basic attribute that would permit the individual to maintain oneself. Taking for example blindness, physically or emotionally disabled or chronically ill; physical and mental handicaps are usually regarded sympathetically as being beyond the control of the people who suffer from them. These people are examples of case poverty.

Efforts to ameliorate poverty due to physical causes focus on education, sheltered employment and if needed economic maintenance.

Conclusively, it can be reiterated that poverty issues should be dealt on case by case since causes of poverty differ in circumstances.

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poverty now criminalised in Zimbabwe

I have tried to use the journalistic writing approach, the 4Ws and H but I failed to convey and portray the message with clarity and precision as it warrants. The inverted pyramid and the feature, again failed me. Is it a new approach of writing that I am trying to implement, or is it for this script alone? Surely, time we answer everything.

Reading The Sunday Mail’s online version of 19 March 2023, I came across a well written story by Veronica Gwaze titled, “Illegal!… Vending in Town with kids an offence… Day Care Centre set to be established.”

The story speak truth on how children who sell or accompany their parents to their vending stalls are being abused by such acts.

Provisions of the Children’s Act was quoted as well as informed voice of an officer from the Social Welfare Department who added to clarify the psychological abuse the children suffer by accompanying elders to vending sites.

The newspaper reported that the Government of Zimbabwe is working on a Child Justice Bill to buttress the protection of minors in the country. This follows a gap in the Children’s Act which is not watertight and difficult to enforce especially on the provision of arresting parents taking their children to vending sites.

The Government can be applauded for making provisions to protect the rights of the children, but it should be holistic in approach. A child’s wellbeing is directly impacted by the environment at home. If the government employ its resources in earnest to eradicate poverty, then petty issues as of child abuse by being involved in vending will correct itself.

Children surely should not be accompanying parents to work but this can be expected in a country such as ours, where more than 95% of the population is unemployed and depends on informal business like vending for survival.

7,7 million Zimbabweans are struggling with food insecurity including 3,8 million children. 24% of children suffer from stunting due to malnutrition. 72% of Zimbabwean people live in poverty.

The statistics above shows how poverty is a national enigma and there is little or no media visibility about the scourge serve for instances where poor people are the villains or reduced to statistics without a voice.

More than half of Zimbabweans had been reduced to informal traders by the economy with the majority being vendors. Competition in business is rife as everyone is selling something, resultantly the profits are so minimal. Most of the people are surviving on or less than US $1 a day.

With such magnitude of poverty, the vendors can hardly save for the next day. To cut on the expenditure of hiring helpers to look after their children at home since they cannot afford to send them to school, the vendors end up carrying the children to work fully aware of some of the dangers thereof but without an option.

There is increased poverty of the grassroots people while there is accumulation of immense wealth by bureaucrats and the ruling elite. This is caused by corruption.

The elites through and the media have often times cast aspersions on poverty as being caused by the poor people being lazzy and the poor people being poor because they hate to work.

It is of significance to understand the behaviour of the poor so to be informed as to what cause poverty so that corrective measures be taken to eradicate it. There are generally three models that have been posited to explain the behaviour of the poor, that are Choice, Class and Culture.


The supporters of Choice model argue that poverty stems from a rationally consistent and purposive weighing of the benefits and costs of an activity, in this case being poor compared to its alternative which is being rich. This model point out that people consciously choose to behave consistently based on available information regarding a range of alternatives.

People weigh the relative value of each alternative then choose the one with the highest advantage. The aspect of Choice is crucial in its application to poverty and work effort as it is primarily governed by tastes and preferences.

To say that more than 70% of Zimbabweans are poor because of wrong choices they make is purely blatant lie. There are very few jobs and the 2017 (UN) report says that more than 95% are unemployed and this is not choice but the default settings in the country. Zimbabweans are limited in choice of going to one kind of work than the other as there are literally no jobs serve for few mainly in government institutions.


The Class Culture model argues that culture is the primary influence of behaviour. Scholars posits that each economic class has its own culture with its subsequent norms and values that influence behaviour and shape that ability to learn.

It is virtually impossible for a child born in a poverty class to break that circle and vent into another economic class. The poor will remain poor since it is difficult to break the vicious circle of poverty. The Government as an external force should disrupt the circle of poverty which is hereditary by introducing conducive environment and culture for prosperity rather than introducing punitive laws that continue to foster the class culture of poverty.


Definitions of events, problems and situations make up the components of an individual’s self-concept and continually inform his or her behaviour.

As an example, if people continually experience failure or fear of failure in an activity they may cease to be successful.

if a person observes repeated failure in people similar to oneself, then the person suffers reduced effort to achieve a specific goal.

Several times, the central bank of the country has devaluated savings in bank of the citizens through several legislation and many people were rendered poor not because of their making but through making of the Government.

The Expectancy rate of poverty in Zimbabwe is so high chiefly through the distrust of government policies, climatic change and socio-political environment which is generally anti-poor. The general populace had already given up on escaping from poverty through recurrence of situation that perpetuates their poverty.

Before criminalising poverty, it is of paramount importance to understand the background and behaviour of those living poorly. With that in mind, pragmatic measures should be taken that deal with the root cause of the problem.

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