Evidence shows that direct payments of cash, or cash transfers, help the world’s poorest families meet their basic needs and generate a wide range of benefits, such as increased household productive capacity, improved children’s school attendance and better adolescent mental health. Despite this, cash transfers alone are not a ‘silver bullet’ for all aspects of poverty and wellbeing.
Research by the UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti, along with national and international research partners, governments and UNICEF country offices, shows that integrating cash transfers with other components, like health insurance, livelihood training, or links to sexual and reproductive health services, can generate additional benefits for individuals as well as their households. This combination of cash transfers and complementary programmes is called integrated social protection or cash plus.
UNICEF Innocenti is conducting research on a wide range of cash plus programmes in multiple countries. We combine impact evaluations with process evaluations, to better understand the role and quality of implementation of the specific programme components and design features. Most of the considered cash plus programmes combine cash with interventions for improving access to social services:
- Fee waivers for national health insurance in Ghana.
- Health insurance combined with linkages to social services and behavioural change communication in Ethiopia.
- Water and sanitation combined with nutrition-related services in Burkina Faso.
- Case management for protection and violence combined with nutrition behavioural change communication for mothers of children aged zero to two years in Mozambique.
- Interventions that target adolescents in Tanzania through livelihood and sexual and reproductive health training, mentoring, productive grants, and linkages to health services.