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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Protocol: Impact of social protection on gender equality in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A systematic review of reviews
Published: 2021
This is the protocol for a Campbell review. The review aims to systematically collect, appraise, map and synthesise the evidence from systematic reviews on the differential gender impacts of social protection programmes in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries (LMICs). Therefore, it will answer the following questions: (1) What is known from systematic reviews on the gender‐differentiated impacts of social protection programmes in LMICs? (2) What is known from systematic reviews about the factors that determine these gender‐differentiated impacts? (3) What is known from existing systematic reviews about design and implementation features of social protection programmes and their association with gender outcomes?
Government Anti-Poverty Programming and Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Elsa Valli, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

We examine whether a government cash transfer program, paired with a health insurance premium waiver and targeted to pregnant women and mothers of young children in Ghana, reduced intimate partner violence (IPV). The evaluation took place in two northern regions and followed a 24-month longitudinal quasi-experimental design. Findings show significant decreases in the 12-month frequency of emotional, physical and combined IPV (0.09 – 0.12 standard deviations). Analysis of pathways indicate improvements in economic security and women’s empowerment may account for reductions in IPV. Results indicate a promising role for social protection in improving the lives of pregnant women and new mothers.

More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa, Frank Otchere, Paul Sirma

Published: 2021

We present evidence on the overall impacts of state-sponsored cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, using data from three impact evaluations of government programmes. All three programmes were a key component of the poverty reduction strategy of the respective governments at the time of the evaluations. We show effects across nine broad domains including both protection, production and human development, using baseline and follow-up household surveys on treatment and control groups. We relate the pattern of impacts to programme design parameters to further understand the constraints faced by ultra-poor rural households.

All three programmes have strong effects on their primary objective—food security or food consumption, as well as on secondary objectives that include livelihood strengthening and children’s well-being. The largest and most consistent impacts occur in Malawi, where transfer values are in line with international best practice and payments were made regularly during the study period. All programmes show a positive income multiplier, with the multiplier largest in Malawi at 2.94.

The overall results across three national programmes add to the growing evidence from Africa that government unconditional cash transfers have important positive effects on households, that these effects are not limited to just food security, and that programme design features influence the pattern and size of impacts.

Linking poverty-targeted social protection and Community Based Health Insurance in Ethiopia: Enrolment, linkages, and gaps

AUTHOR(S)
Essa Chanie Mussa, Frank Otchere, Vincenzo Vinci, Abduljelil Reshad, Tia Palermo

Published: 2021

Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) has received increasing attention in low and middle-income countries as a pathway toward universal health coverage. In 2011, the government of Ethiopia piloted CBHI and subsequently integrated CBHI with its flagship social protection programme, the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). We examined enrolment decisions by PSNP households, including, understanding of the programme, reasons for non-coverage, and factors associated with enrolment.

Current CBHI enrolment is higher among public works (PW) households (70.1 %) than Permanent Direct Support (PDS) clients (50.3 %). The most common reason for not enrolling in both PW and PDS households is cost. Results further show that the following characteristics are positively associated with CBHI enrolment: the number of children and working-age adults in the household, older household head, female household head, married household head, having been food insecure in the previous 12 months, heads having experienced illness in the past month, and increasing household wealth status.

While demographic factors are important in households’ decisions to enrol in CBHI, various mechanisms could be used to increase enrolment among vulnerable households such as PDS clients. In this regard, while better communication about CBHI could increase enrolment for some households, other poor and vulnerable households will need fee waivers to induce enrolment.

Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement: Introduction to a Special Issue

AUTHOR(S)
Tilman Brück, Jose Cuesta, Jacobus de Hoop, Ugo Gentilini, Amber Peterman

Published: 2019
Effective social protection is increasingly as essential to supporting affected populations in situations of protracted instability and displacement. Despite the growing use of social protection in these settings, there is comparatively little rigorous research on what works, for whom, and why. This special issue contributes by adding seven high-quality studies that raise substantially our understanding of the role of social protection in fragile contexts and in settings of forced displacement and migration. Together, these studies fill knowledge gaps, help support informed decision-making by policy-makers and practitioners, and demonstrate that impact evaluation and the analysis of social protection in challenging humanitarian settings are possible. The studies provide evidence that design choices in implementation, such as which population to target, choice of transfer modality or which messages are delivered with programmes, can make a substantial difference in the realisation of positive benefits among vulnerable populations. Furthermore, the findings of the studies underline the relevance of tailoring programme components to populations, which may benefit more or less from traditional programme implementation models.
School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

AUTHOR(S)
Elisabetta Aurino, Jean-Pierre Tranchant, Amadou Sekou Diallo, Aulo Gelli

Published: 2019
This study relies on a unique precrisis baseline and five-year follow-up to investigate the effects of emergency school feeding and generalised food distribution (GFD) on children’s schooling during conflict in Mali. It estimates programme impact on child enrolment, absenteeism, and attainment by using a difference in differences weighted estimator. School feeding led to increases in enrolment by 10 percentage points and to around an additional half-year of completed schooling. Attendance among boys in households receiving GFD, however, declined by about 20 per cent relative to the comparison group. Disaggregating by conflict intensity showed that receipt of any food assistance led to a rise in enrolment mostly in high-intensity conflict areas and that the negative effects of GFD on attendance were also concentrated in the most affected areas. School feeding mostly raised attainment among children in areas not in the immediate vicinity of conflict. Programme receipt triggered adjustments in child labour. School feeding led to lower participation and time spent in work among girls, while GFD raised children’s labour, particularly among boys. The educational implications of food assistance should be considered in planning humanitarian responses to bridge the gap between emergency assistance and development by promoting children’s education.
Assets for Alimentation? The Nutritional Impact of Assets-based Programming in Niger

AUTHOR(S)
Tilman Brück, Oscar Mauricio Diaz Botìa, Neil T. N. Ferguson

Published: 2019
A recent strand of aid programming aims to develop household assets by removing the stresses associated with meeting basic nutritional needs. In this study, the authors posit that such nutrition-sensitive programmes can reduce malnourishment by encouraging further investment in diet. To test this hypothesis, they analyse the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), in Niger, a conflict-affected, low-income country with entrenched food insecurity. Under the PRRO, a household falls into one of three groups at end line: receiving no assistance, receiving nutrition-specific assistance, or receiving nutrition-specific assistance and nutrition-sensitive food for assets-based programming. If provided alone, food aid has no nutritional impact relative to receiving no assistance. However, the study observes pronounced positive effects if food aid is paired with assets-based programming. The authors conclude, first, that certain forms of food aid function well in complex, insecure environments; second, that assets-based programmes deliver positive nutritional spillovers; and, third, that there are theoretical grounds to believe that assets-based nutrition-sensitive programmes interact positively with nutrition-specific programming.
Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach

AUTHOR(S)
Nandini Krishnan, Sergio Olivieri, Racha Ramadan

Published: 2019
Through three decades of conflict, food rations delivered through the public distribution system (PDS) have remained the largest safety net among Iraq’s population. Reforming the PDS continues to be politically challenging, notwithstanding the system’s import dependence, economic distortions, and unsustainable fiscal burden. The oil price decline of mid-2014 and recent efforts to rebuild and recover have put PDS reform back on the agenda. The government needs to find an effective way to deliver broad benefits from a narrow economic base reliant on oil. The study described here adopts a mixed demand approach to analysing household consumption patterns for the purpose of assessing plausible reform scenarios and estimating the direction and scale of the associated welfare costs and transfers. It finds that household consumption of PDS items is relatively inelastic to changes in price, particularly among the poor. The results suggest that any one-shot reform will have sizeable adverse welfare impacts and will need to be preceded by a well-targeted compensation mechanism. To keep welfare constant, subsidy removal in urban areas, for example, would require the poorest and richest households to be compensated for, respectively, 74 per cent and nearly 40 per cent of their PDS expenditures.
No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Mitchell Morey, David Seidenfeld

Published: 2019
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.
How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger

AUTHOR(S)
Pascale Schnitzer

Published: 2019
The methods used to identify the beneficiaries of programmes aiming to address persistent poverty and shocks are subject to frequent policy debates. Relying on panel data from Niger, this report simulates the performance of various targeting methods that are widely used by development and humanitarian actors. The methods include proxy-means testing (PMT), household economy analysis (HEA), geographical targeting, and combined methods. Results show that PMT performs more effectively in identifying persistently poor households, while HEA shows superior performance in identifying transiently food insecure households. Geographical targeting is particularly efficient in responding to food crises, which tend to be largely covariate. Combinations of geographical, PMT, and HEA approaches may be used as part of an efficient and scalable adaptive social protection system. Results motivate the consolidation of data across programmes, which can support the application of alternative targeting methods tailored to programme-specific objectives.
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