Author(s): Stella Chipo Takaza
The study investigated the socio-economic strategies used by rural senior citizens for coping with sustainable livelihoods in Zivagwe and Shurugwi districts south west of Zimbabwe. The study is informed by the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach developed by the Department of Foreign International Development, (1999) in the United Kingdom. The main objectives were; to establish the socio-economic activities employed by Rural Senior Citizens for survival and coping strategies for their health and wellbeing; to explore the challenges experienced by rural senior citizens under socio-economic hardships. And finally, determine policy interventions and programmes that could be designed to enhance the wellbeing of rural senior citizens. While quantitative data was collected through questionnaire survey and qualitative data was collected through in-depth interviews and key informant interviews, focus group discussions; transect walks for direct observation and audio-visual methods and the snowballing methods. A minimum of 90 rural senior citizens (45men and 45 women) with ages 60+years and 20 key informants were sampled to represent. The study found that although there are varied humanitarian food aid programmes implemented in the rural communities, rural senior citizens continue to experience difficulties in accessing sustainable socio-economic livelihoods resources for better health and wellbeing. Often, rural senior citizens usually are assumed to have accumulated some savings from Pension and Other Benefits Scheme for old people aged 65years and above who would have contributed during their lifetime. The study is calling on Government and stakeholders to prioritize policies and programmes for senior citizens in the rural areas.