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Knowledge for children in Africa catalogues research on poverty and livelihoods

Consolidates 2019 evidence on the situation of children in Africa


UNICEF's 2019 Knowledge for Children in Africa Catalogue consolidates evidence on the situation for children in Africa, including UNICEF Innocenti Research in Mozambique and Tanzania.

(2 December 2019) Each year, UNICEF and its partners in Africa generate a wealth of evidence about the situation of children. The 2019 edition of the Knowledge for Children in Africa Publications Catalogue features 107 reports and studies on the situation of children, young people and women in Africa. These publications represent the collective knowledge produced by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices across Africa and highlight the evidence essential to informing the development, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of children’s rights across the continent.

The 2019 publications catalogue features 107 of the most important reports and studies that UNICEF and its partners have generated on the situation of children and young people across Africa. Download the full catalogue.

Key themes this year include:

• Child Poverty

• Child Protection

• Child-Sensitive Social Protection

• Education and Early Childhood Development

• Financing for Development: Public Finance for Children

• HIV and AIDS

• Humanitarian Action, Resilience and Peacebuilding

• Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

• Nutrition

• Situation Analysis and Socioeconomic Development

• Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

In Africa, the current demographic revolution will see the under-18 population increase by two thirds, reaching almost 1 billion by 2050. These figures underscore an urgent need for strong evidence to inform the implementation of social policies and budgets for children.

Covering a wide range of topics including child poverty; education and early childhood development; and social protection among others, the publication captures some of the most advanced work to support efforts by children and young people to realize their rights to survival, development and protection.

UNICEF Innocenti has contributed extensively to evidence generation efforts in Africa. The catalogue’s first report features research done in collaboration with UNICEF Mozambique and UNICEF Innocenti using multidimensional child poverty MODA analysis to complement child-Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) methodology to better understand the characteristics and magnitude of child poverty across multiple dimensions in the country.

UNICEF Mozambique was one of the first countries that applied Multidimensional poverty analysis at the UNICEF country-office level.  The 2010 Child Poverty in Mozambique report used child-focused approach developed by the University if Bristol (Gordon et al),  to present multiple deprivations of children in the country and highlight the importance of going beyond income measurement. For the 2019 report, UNICEF Mozambique worked with the government and partners, including UNU-WIDER, to include a strong child focus in the underlying process of measuring SDG target 1.2.

The report is already having an impact in Mozambique. “We have already used the report and its findings in various policy platforms –  from SDG and social protection discussions with partners to building policy advocacy agenda with political parties in the run of 2019 elections,” said Zlata Bruckauf, Research and Evaluation Specialist at UNICEF Mozambique and former researcher at UNICEF Innocenti. “Early next year we will use the report to contextualize the UN independent committee observations on CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child) reports in Mozambique, stimulate discussion on the inclusion of multidimensional poverty measure in the next National Five Year Plan, and promote further use of the findings for planning at the national and sub-national levels to end child poverty in all dimensions,” she added.

The catalogue also included UNICEF Innocenti-led research in Tanzania studying the effectiveness of a ‘Cash Plus’ – social protection programme. The ‘Cash Plus’ pilot, also known as “Ujana Salama” meaning “Safe Youth” in Swahili, is being implemented within the Tanzanian Government’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN), with technical assistance from UNICEF Tanzania and the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS). The pilot jointly addresses livelihoods skills and education on HIV, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender equity and facilitates linkages to youth-friendly SRH services.

"The world is currently experiencing its largest ever adolescent population, a cohort that will face both serious challenges and opportunities in adulthood. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand what combinations of support and investments in this population can lead to positive transitions to adulthood, for a better future for themselves and their own children," Tia Palermo, a former UNICEF Innocenti researcher who has worked extensively on building this research programme, commented. 

The 'Cash Plus' study is groundbreaking in that it reports the first-ever findings from a 'cash-plus' intervention targeted to adolescents implemented by an African government. Using a cluster randomized-control trial (RCT) and mixed method data collection on over 2,000 adolescents and youth followed over three waves, in combination with detailed information collected from households, communities, and area health facilities, the study also meets high academic standards for impact evaluation. This midline findings recognize that youth need a combination of social, health and financial assets to safely transition to adulthood. Read the brief on the midline report.



Discover more research from UNICEF in Africa: Download the full catalogue.

Related Articles

The CASH Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Wellbeing with Evidence
Article Article

The CASH Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Wellbeing with Evidence

(20 December 2018)  In Tanzania a new model of social protection is using research and evidence to improve outcomes for adolescent wellbeing. The results of this programme, called 'Cash Plus', are now documented in a new film produced by UNICEF Innocenti. Told largely through the voices of young people, the 10 minute documentary reveals the crucial role of research and evaluation in improving effectiveness of Tanzania's national Productive Social Safety Net cash transfer social protection programme.The new film is a rare example of a compelling visual narrative on the role of evidence generation in the development process.  "Far too often the complexity of the community development process is lost when internatioanl organizations seek to make short films about their interventions," said Dale Rutstein, Chief of Communication at UNICEF Innocenti. "The role of research and evaluation is the least likely component of the process to be captured in such films." The film examines the gaps discovered in the first phase of Tanzania's Productive Social Saftey cash transfer programme: household incomes and productive activity increased, but risks and challenges for adolescents, especially exposure to HIV, were unaffected. Evaluation evidence led to the development of the Cash Plus approach which linked critical services and sectors for adolescents to the households receiving transfers."The Cash Plus Model: Improving Adolescent Well-being with Evidence" could not have been produced without the generous support of the UNICEF Tanzania Country Office, the Tanzania Social Action Fund and the numerous adolescents and community training facilitators in the Rungwe District of Mbeya Province, Tanzania.
‘Cash plus’ interventions have potential for greater impact than cash alone
Article Article

‘Cash plus’ interventions have potential for greater impact than cash alone

(5 September 2017) New Innocenti Working Paper: “How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors”, sets out to evaluate what factors contribute to more successful ‘cash plus’ programme outcomes.  The paper asserts that while cash transfers alone have contributed to numerous positive impacts in reducing poverty and promoting well-being, the provision of cash alone falls short in achieving long-term positive impacts on nutrition, learning, and morbidity. ‘Cash plus’ programmes aim to rectify this impact gap by complementing cash transfers with additional inputs, services, and linkages to other services in order to more effectively achieve successful outcomes and ensure long-term sustainability. The new working paper is a collaboration between the Centre for Social protection, Institute for Development Studies, the Transfer Project, the University of Ghana and UNICEF.‘Cash plus’ programming evolved from the theory that while cash transfers can be effective alone in the most ideal circumstances, the effect of cash transfers can be constrained by behavioural mediators, such as financial security, or broader moderators, such as quality or availability of health services.  Cash transfers alone, for example, may not prompt effective behavioural change to ensure successful outcomes for better nutrition, education, or health – these moderators may need their own additional inputs in the form of infrastructure support to improve the quality and availability of services to recipients.  Complementing cash transfers with programmes to improve access and quality of services aims to address these gaps to augment the effects of income.  Complementary inputs for ‘cash plus’ can include the provision of information, such as educational training or nutrition seminars for new mothers on best practices for feeding their children, as well as the provision of support, such as psycho-social counselling, and the facilitation of access to services, such as health insurance, or strengthening the quality of existing services and linkages.[Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design]The study aimed to identify criteria for successful ‘cash plus’ initiatives as well as challenges in development and delivery of such programmes, specifically targeting the health, nutrition, and education sectors.  The study reviewed the emerging evidence assessing the impact of ‘cash plus’ versus stand-alone cash and examined case studies in three countries:Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme in Ghana,Chile Solidario scheme in Chile,Integrated Nutrition Social Cash Transfer (IN-SCT) pilot project in EthiopiaTia Palermo, social policy specialist at UNICEF Innocenti and co-author of the working paper, discussed how ‘cash plus’ programming in Ghana augmented existing transfers to include vulnerable mothers and children. “Innocenti is leading a study evaluating the LEAP programme extension studying pregnant and nursing mothers in Ghana. What we found is that these programs were not reaching households with young children since the previous program targeted the mostly vulnerable elderly population. In order to reach these households, the ‘cash plus’ programme, which included cash transfers ‘plus’ free access to healthcare, was extended to pregnant women and mothers of children under one year old in order to achieve greater impact on child stunting in the first 1000 days,” she said. “This is particularly a problem in Ghana.” One aim of the LEAP ‘cash plus’ programme was to improve basic household consumption and nutrition and access to health care services. A need for complementary health insurance was identified after evidence of LEAP beneficiaries using their cash transfers to pay for high health insurance premiums, and often the cash transfers weren’t enough to cover that. The ‘cash plus’ intervention supplemented the cash benefit with free access to health insurance in Ghana. Previously, this wasn’t something impoverished mothers had access to in Ghana.  The three case studies identified key factors that were likely to contribute to more effective ‘cash plus’ programmes:Policy-level factors: including the importance of political champions in advocating for cash plus programmes and the establishment of formal agreements;Programme-level factors: including the need for awareness and engagement on behalf of all parties involved, such as the availability of a skilled workforce and better resources;Supply-side-level factors: including greater investment in availability and quality of services;Fit-for-purpose interventions: meaning additional components should appropriately match their intended purpose and also take into account local considerations.The paper concludes that the assessment of the three case studies indicates that effective implementation of ‘cash plus’ components has contributed to more successful programme outcomes. Where cash alone fails to address non-financial and structural barriers, ‘cash plus’ has the potential to contribute to greater, more sustainable impacts, overall. Through ‘cash plus’ programmes, the most vulnerable households living in poverty can be targeted beyond financial limitations.While ‘cash plus’ proves to be a promising intervention for social protection, more innovative monitoring and evaluation is called for, especially to understand the impact of the many variations of ‘cash plus’ programming as well as identifying ways to examine the impacts of additional components in isolation from the cash benefit, as well as to gain more insight into how greater impacts can be achieved.Download the working paper here. For more information on cash transfer programmes and ‘cash plus’ studies, please visit our webpage on Social Protection & Cash Transfers and follow our partner project: Transfer Project. Follow @UNICEFInnocenti and @TransferProjct on Twitter for real-time updates on cash transfer social protection programmes.  


Tanzania Youth Study of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Evaluation: Endline Report
Publication Publication

Tanzania Youth Study of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Evaluation: Endline Report

This report provides endline findings from an 18-month (2015-2017), mixed methods study to provide evidence on the effects that the Government of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net has had on youth well-being and the transition to adulthood. The study was led by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in collaboration with REPOA. Results of this evaluation can help assess what other measures or interventions are necessary to improve adolescent and youth well-being and how these can complement and provide synergies with the government’s institutionalized social protection strategy.
A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report
Publication Publication

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Baseline Report

This report presents the evaluation design and baseline findings from a 24-month, mixed methods study to provide evidence on the potential for an additional plus component targeted to youth that is layered on top of the Government of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net to improve future economic opportunities for youth and facilitate their safe transitions to adulthood. This pilot study is based on the recognition that cash alone is rarely sufficient to mitigate all risks and vulnerabilities youth face or to overcome structural barriers to education, delayed marriage and pregnancy, and other safe transitions. The model the intervention follows was informed by a workshop held in Tanzania in February 2016 with government, researchers and development partners.
How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
Publication Publication

How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors

The broad-ranging benefits of cash transfers are now widely recognized. However, the evidence base highlights that they often fall short in achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning outcomes and morbidity. In recognition of these limitations, several ‘cash plus’ initiatives have been introduced, whereby cash transfers are combined with one or more types of complementary support. This paper aims to identify key factors for successful implementation of these increasingly popular ‘cash plus’ programmes, based on (i) a review of the emerging evidence base of ‘cash plus’ interventions and (ii) an examination of three case studies, namely, Chile Solidario in Chile, IN-SCT in Ethiopia and LEAP in Ghana. The analysis was guided by a conceptual framework proposing a menu of ‘cash plus’ components. The assessment of three case studies indicated that effective implementation of ‘cash plus’ components has indeed contributed to greater impacts of the respective programmes. Such initiatives have thereby addressed some of the non-financial and structural barriers that poor people face and have reinforced the positive effects of cash transfer programmes. In design of such programmes, further attention should be paid to the constraints faced by the most vulnerable and how such constraints can be overcome. We conclude with recommendations regarding the provision of complementary support and cross-sectoral linkages based on lessons learned from the case studies. More research is still needed on the impact of the many variations of ‘cash plus’ programming, including evidence on the comparative roles of individual ‘plus’ components, as well as the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour pathways which influence these impacts.


'Cash Plus' for adolescents in Tanzania: How it started, where it's going, and why research matters