International migration and poverty alleviation: Understanding how remittances help in alleviating poverty in Zimbabwean households. A case study of Epworth, Zimbabwe.
Hove, Tsitsi T.
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Over the past years, Zimbabwe has witnessed enormous amounts of economic challenges which have forced many to migrate out of the country in search of better living conditions and employment. The money and goods sent by migrant workers to their families have become very important in alleviating poverty in Zimbabwean households. However, there are a few studies that have been conducted at a household level to explore the role of remittances in alleviating poverty in Zimbabwe. This research examines the role that remittances play in alleviating poverty at a household level in Zimbabwe by using a case study of Epworth remittance-receiving households in Zimbabwe. The main objective of this research is to explore how the remittances sent to the poor households increase their income level and human capital in order to reduce their poverty level. The research mainly focuses on the New Economics of Labour Migration Theory (NELM) to understand the meaning of international migration and its link to remittances. A qualitative research method was used to provide experiences of the households who receive remittances. The information was collected through one on one interviews which were conducted in Epworth to 14 participants who received remittances and one focus group discussion with 6 participants. The study found out that majority of households in Epworth that receive remittances depend solely on the money sent to them by their loved ones, which help them meet their basic needs such as food, clothes and proper sanitation. The qualitative data analysis also showed that the remittances sent to the families increase human capital through the payment of school and hospital fees. However, the participants that were interviewed highlighted that they faced challenges of accessing cash remittances, especially through formal channels. It was established that the majority of households prefer using informal channels to receive their cash because of the presence of long queues at the banks and shortage of hard cash. Policymakers in Zimbabwe need to come up with strategies that will allow easy access to remittances and also encourage migrants to use formal channels which are safe and accountable.