CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu
Cash Plus

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:

Cash Plus

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.

LATEST INNOCENTI PUBLICATIONS

This report provides midline findings from the impact evaluation of a cash plus model targeting youth in households receiving the United Republic of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). Implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF), with technical assistance of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and UNICEF Tanzania, the programme aims to improve livelihood opportunities and facilitate a safe transition to adulthood.

Cash transfers have been successful in reducing food insecurity, increasing consumption, building resiliency against economic shocks, improving productivity and increasing school enrolment. Despite the many successes of cash transfer programmes, they can also fall short of achieving longer-term and second-order impacts related to nutrition, learning and health outcomes. A recent study highlights how so-called ‘Cash Plus’ programmes, which offer additional components or linkages to existing services on top of regular cash payments, may help address such shortcomings.

AUTHOR(S)

Keetie Roelen; Tia Palermo; Leah Prencipe

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.

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.

AUTHOR(S)

Keetie Roelen; Stephen Devereux; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Bruno Martorano; Tia Palermo; Luigi Peter Ragno

This brief documents the impact evaluation design of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 programme which is being piloted in ten districts in two regions and targets about 6,000 households initially.

AUTHOR(S)

Richard de Groot

This methodological brief focuses on the qualitative component of the evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000. Quantitative measures will indicate if LEAP 1000 reduces child poverty, stunting and other measures of well-being, while qualitative research explores in more depth the reasons why and how this may or may not be happening.

AUTHOR(S)

Michelle Mills; Clare Barrington

MORE PUBLICATIONS

Project team

Richard de Groot; Jacobus de Hoop; Maja Gavrilovic; Valeria Groppo; Lusajo Kajula; Essa Chanie Mussa; Frank Otchere; Tia Palermo; Amber Peterman; Leah Prencipe; Dominic Richardson; Nyasha Tirivayi; Elsa Valli; Francesca Viola; Jennifer Waidler


Partner organizations

American Institutes for Research

EDI Global

ELIM Serviços

Frontieri

Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research

Tanzania Commission for AIDS

Tanzania's Social Action Fund

UNICEF Ethiopia Country Office

UNICEF Ghana Country Office

UNICEF Mozambique Country Office

UNICEF Tanzania Country Office

University at Buffalo

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Infographics

Tanzania Theory of Change


Conference and meetings

Transfer Project Workshop 2019

International Conference on Universal Child Grants


Blogs

Mind the gender norm gap: How can a gender norms lens help advance better outcomes for adolescents through social protection?


Commentaries

Social Protection and Adolescence: Evidence, Promise, and Gaps. Policy in Focus on Children and social protection: understanding and responding to children’s needs


Podcasts

Tia Palermo on Cash Transfers, Gender and Impact of Research

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


Journal articles

Impacts of a Cash Plus Intervention on Gender Attitudes Among Tanzanian Adolescents

Enhanced Life Distress Inventory: development and validation in two African countries

Impacts of a social protection program paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Child malnutrition, consumption growth, maternal care and price shocks: new evidence from Northern Ghana

Child marriage and associated outcomes in Northern Ghana: a cross-sectional study


Reports

Ghana LEAP 1000 Programme: Endline Evaluation Report

Ghana LEAP 1000 Programme: Baseline Evaluation Report


Power Point presentation

Child Marriage and Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme

Government Anti-Poverty Programming and Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana

How are Social Protection Programmes Targeting or Inclusive of Adolescence?

Cash Transfers, Violence & Youth

Impacts of a Cash Plus Intervention on Gender Attitudes Among Tanzanian Adolescents

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to Adulthood: Impacts on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Knowledge of Tanzania’s Youth


Videos

Effects of Cash Transfers on Protection and Well-Being Outcomes for Women and Children


What's new

Impacts of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty 1000 programme

The cash plus model: improving adolescent wellbeing with evidence

When cash alone is not enough: the transformative power of cash plus programmes

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


Briefs

Cash Plus: An Adolescent Livelihood, Health and Well-being Intervention as part of Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Net Programme

Mradi wa Afya na Ujasiriamali Kwa Vijana: Hatua za Utekelezaji katika Kuboresha Maisha, Afya na Ustawi wa Vijana kama sehemu ya Mpango Endelevu wa Kunusuru Kaya Maskini

Ujana Salama Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-being and Safe, Healthy Transitions: Baseline findings


Related Innocenti Projects

2016-2021

Child labour

Child labour and education in India and Bangladesh

Child labour and social protection in Africa

Social protection and cash transfers

PROJECTS ARCHIVE