Journal of Development Studies, December 2019, vol. 55, pp. 107-127.
This study documents the impact of a cash transfer programme – known as the No Lost Generation Programme (NLG) and locally as Min Ila (‘from to’) – on the school participation of displaced Syrian children in Lebanon. An initiative of the government of Lebanon, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP), the programme provided cash for the benefit of children enrolled in afternoon shifts at public primary schools. It was designed to cover the cost of commuting to school and to compensate households for income forgone because children were attending school instead of working. Commuting costs and forgone income are two critical barriers to child school participation. The analysis relies on a geographical regression discontinuity design to identify the impact halfway through the first year of programme operation, the 2016/2017 school year. The analysis finds substantive impacts on school attendance among enrolled children, which increased by 0.5 days to 0.7 days per week, an improvement of about 20 per cent relative to the control group. School enrolment among Syrian children rose rapidly across all Lebanon’s governorates during the period of the evaluation, resulting in supply-side capacity constraints that appear to have dampened positive enrolment impacts.