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Journal Articles

UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on Early Pregnancy and Marriage of Adolescent Girls

Sudhanshu Handa, Amber Peterman, C. Huang, C. Halpern, A. Pettifor, H. Thirumurthy

Published: 2015
There is promising evidence that poverty-targeted cash transfer programs can have positive impacts on adolescent transitions to adulthood in resource poor settings, however existing research is typically from small scale programs in diverse geographic and cultural settings. We provide estimates of the impact of a national unconditional cash transfer program, the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, on pregnancy and early marriage among females aged 12 to 24, four years after program initiation. The evaluation was designed as a clustered randomized controlled trial and ran from 2007 to 2011, capitalizing on the existence of a control group, which was delayed entry to the program due to budget constraints. Findings indicate that, among 1549 females included in the study, while the program reduced the likelihood of pregnancy by five percentage points, there was no significant impact on likelihood of early marriage. Program impacts on pregnancy appear to work through increasing the enrollment of young women in school, financial stability of the household and delayed age at first sex. The Kenyan program is similar in design to most other major national cash transfer programs in Eastern and Southern Africa, suggesting a degree of generalizability of the results reported here. Although the objective of the program is primarily poverty alleviation, it appears to have an important impact on facilitating the successful transition of adolescent girls into adulthood.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 36-45 | Tags: cash transfers, orphans
Make the promise true: A monitoring and evaluation framework for measuring quality in child protection service delivery in Zimbabwe

E. Sammon, Michelle Godwin, L. Rumble, A. Nolan, A. B. Matsika, N. Mayanga

Published: 2015
Promising Quality: making sure that we deliver excellent services for children, (UNICEF 2012a), is an innovative monitoring and evaluation framework of original and standardised measures developed in Zimbabwe to support child protection providers to deliver quality services for children within a multi-agency child protection system. It is intended to meet the demands of governments, donors and other stakeholders for information on the effectiveness and efficiency of development programming but importantly is a practice which ensures downward accountability to children. It can also be utilised to track programme performance, and in broad terms, value for money in child protection service delivery. Further, Promising Quality has important implications for the creation and strengthening of different types of social capital between children, organisations and government. Promising Quality is constructed to encourage children’s full and meaningful participation in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process; it poses three questions and uses four specifically designed instruments to find out if an organization is delivering what children need where and when they need it. In so doing, gaps in the functioning of a comprehensive child protection system are highlighted such that improvements in programming, policy advocacy and investment can be made. This paper argues that Promising Quality - its inception and continuing evolution - is a core component of a rights-based, participatory national child protection system in developing contexts and beyond because of its ability to track gains in efficiency as well as child protection outcomes.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 623-640 | Tags: child protection, quality assurance
Is graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

S. Diadone, L. Pellerano, Sudhanshu Handa, B. Davis

Published: 2015

To most people, graduation means leaving a school or university after completing a programme of study, once the learner has acquired a set of skills that is expected to equip them for a higher-income future livelihood.

In the development discourse, graduation means leaving a social protection programme after reaching a wellbeing threshold, once the participant has acquired a set of resources that is expected to equip them for a higher-income future livelihood. While poverty reduction is not a new idea, programming for graduation is a relatively new concept

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 93-102 | Tags: schooling, social safety nets
The outcomes of the crisis for pensioners and children

Jonathan Bradshaw, Yekaterina Chzhen

Published: 2015

When the final review is written on the impact of the global financial crisis that began in 2007 it will conclude that the main beneficiaries were pensioners and the main victims have been children. That final review is still some way off: economic growth is still tentative; most European Union countries are mired in deficit; austerity (or in the words preferred by the European Commission “fiscal consolidation”) rules. We are not the first to point to this phenomenon.

A study of the short-term impact of the Great Recession (up to 2011) on household incomes by Jenkins et al (2013) using six country case studies (Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the UK and the USA) found greater increases or slower declines in poverty among children than among the elderly. Hills et al. (2014) analysed the distributional impact of tax and benefit reforms over the period 2001-2011 in seven diverse EU countries: (Hills et al., 2014). The study showed that, on the whole, policy changes tended to be more favourable to pensioners than children.

But it is worth pointing out that very little attention has been paid to this evident unfairness. Analysts of social policy seem reluctant to trade the interest of children against the interest of pensioners. After all, they might argue, both groups are vulnerable and may take the view that more important than horizontal equity is vertical equity – inequality has also been increasing. Even NGOs with interests in children and child poverty seem reluctant to draw the contrast. An honourable exception was the UNICEF (2014) Innocenti Report Card 12 which compared changes in the under 18 and 65-plus anchored poverty rates 2008-2012 and found that the difference in difference had moved in favour of pensioners in every country of the EU except Poland, Switzerland and Germany. We shall repeat and update that analysis. It is particularly surprising that the European Commission has not paid more attention to this trend given its emphasis on social investment. Protecting pensioners more than children seems the reverse of what one might expect from a social investment strategy, especially given the proven costs of child poverty (Hirsch 2014).

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