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Social protection and cash transfers

Social protection and cash transfers

 

Social protection has significant positive impacts for poor and vulnerable children and their families. Cash transfers – regular, predictable payments of cash - are an important social protection modality. Research shows that cash transfers promote economic empowerment, while decreasing poverty and food insecurity. Our research goes beyond this to find out if and how cash transfers can be used more effectively to impact other aspects of people’s lives. Innocenti’s work on cash transfers forms part of an inter-agency research and learning initiative called the Transfer Project.

A collaboration between UNICEF, FAO, University of North Carolina, and UNICEF country offices, the Transfer Project provides rigorous evidence on the impact of large-scale, typically unconditional national cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa and countries in the Middle East. The project provides technical assistance in the design, implementation and analysis of Government programs in over a dozen countries, including Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique and Malawi. The Transfer Project disseminates results to national and international stakeholders and holds a bi-annual workshop to promote cross-country learning and capacity building.

The Transfer Project is a thought leader on cash transfers in Africa, with over a decade’s research. Findings indicate that cash transfers can:

  • increase household productive capacity and resilience;
  • create household and local economy spill overs;
  • increase school enrollment and attendance;
  • improve mental health and life satisfaction;
  • delay sexual debut and reduce intimate partner violence, among others.

However, numerous evidence gaps exist, including on promising ‘cash-plus’ designs, on long-term impacts and if impacts are transferable to fragile and humanitarian settings. While establishing effective social protection in the context of protracted instability and displaced populations is more complex, it is also increasingly viewed as an essential mechanism to bridge the humanitarian-developmental divide. Our project Social Protection in Humanitarian Settings is contributing to investigate what works, and why in those contexts.

Publications

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood Round 3 Report
Publication Publication

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood Round 3 Report

“Ujana Salama” (‘Safe Youth’ in Swahili) is a cash plus programme targeting adolescents 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 ‘plus’ component includes in-person training, mentoring, grants and health services. The impact evaluation studies the differential impact of the integrated programme (cash plus intervention targeting adolescents) with respect to the PSSN only. It is a mixed methods study, including baseline (2017), Round 2 (2018), Round 3 (2019) and Round 4 (2021) surveys. This report provides findings from the Round 3 survey, which was conducted one year after the training, three months after the mentorship period, and one to two months after grant disbursement. The previous report (Round 2) is available here.
Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings
Publication Publication

Ujana Salama: Cash Plus Model on Youth Well-Being and Safe, Healthy Transitions – Midline Findings

This brief 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. The 'plus' component included training on livelihoods and sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-HIV, mentoring and productive grants, as well as linkages to youth-friendly health services. The impact evaluation is a longitudinal, mixed methods study. The midline analysis was conducted immediately after training (before mentoring, disbursement of productive grants and health facility strengthening).
The Difference a Dollar a Day Can Make: Lessons from UNICEF Jordan's Hajati cash transfer programme
Publication Publication

The Difference a Dollar a Day Can Make: Lessons from UNICEF Jordan's Hajati cash transfer programme

What difference does a dollar a day make? For the poorest households in Jordan, many of whom escaped conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF Jordan’s Hajati humanitarian cash transfer programme helps them keep their children in school, fed and clothed – all for less than one dollar per day. In fact, cash transfers have the potential to touch on myriad of child and household well-being outcomes beyond food security and schooling.
How Do Cash Transfers Affect Child Work and Schooling? Surprising evidence from Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia
Publication Publication

How Do Cash Transfers Affect Child Work and Schooling? Surprising evidence from Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Midline Report
Publication Publication

A Cash Plus Model for Safe Transitions to a Healthy and Productive Adulthood: Midline Report

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 and Child Nutrition in Zambia
Publication Publication

Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition in Zambia

We examine the effect of the Zambia Child Grant Programme – an unconditional cash transfer (CT) targeted to rural families with children under age five – on height-for-age four years after programme initiation. The CT scheme had large positive effects on several nutritional inputs including food expenditure and meal frequency. However, there was no effect on height-for-age. Production function estimates indicate that food carries little weight in the production of child height. Health knowledge of mothers and health infrastructure in the study sites are also very poor. These factors plus the harsh disease environment are too onerous to be overcome by the increases in food intake generated by the CT. In such settings, a stand-alone CT, even when it has large positive effects on food security, is unlikely to have an impact on long-term chronic malnutrition unless accompanied by complementary interventions.
Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2019
Publication Publication

Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2019

Celebrating ten years of building evidence for action on cash transfers in Africa, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) organized the seventh regional Transfer Project workshop on “Social Protection, Cash Transfers and Long-Term Poverty Reduction” in Arusha, Tanzania from 2 to 4 April 2019. Over 130 social protection experts and stakeholders from 20 African countries attended, including government officials, UNICEF and FAO staff, academics, NGOs and other development partners.
2018 Results Report
Publication Publication

2018 Results Report

In 2018, significant gains were made in generating evidence to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged children, build organizational capacity to conduct and use quality, ethical research on children, and set a foundation as an important convening centre for expert consultation on next-generation ideas on children. 2018 marks the first year the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti is reporting on the progress of research under the new UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2021). This plan is the first to clearly delineate the role of research and evidence as one of the eight priority change strategies for children. This report therefore is an account of the first year of work to generate critical evidence to inform programmes, policies and advocacy for children and young people around the world
Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia
Publication Publication

Exploring the potential of cash transfers to delay early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia

There is increasing interest in the potential of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood among vulnerable youth in low-income settings. However, little evidence exists that analyses these linkages from at-scale government-run programmes. This brief summarizes the impacts of two government-run large-scale unconditional cash transfers on outcomes of early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia after approximately three years. Results indicate limited impacts on safe transitions for both males and females. However, the programmes were successful in reducing poverty and improving schooling outcomes—two main pathways for safe transitions as reported in the literature. Research implications include the need to study transitions over longer time periods, including tracking of youth as they transition out of study households. If reducing early marriage and pregnancy is among policy makers’ primary priorities, then dedicated programming via cash plus or services specifically targeted at addressing the needs of adolescents and youth should be considered.
Can social assistance (with a child lens) help in reducing urban poverty in Ghana? Evidence, challenges and the way forward
Publication Publication

Can social assistance (with a child lens) help in reducing urban poverty in Ghana? Evidence, challenges and the way forward

Experience with urban social assistance programmes is still limited. Many of the existing urban programmes are extensions or duplicates of rural programmes, but urban-sensitive social protection needs to reflect the distinct vulnerabilities of the urban poor. Furthermore, applying a child lens requires identifying and addressing the specific risks and multiple deprivations that are experienced by half of urban children in developing countries. As a result, designing social assistance for urban contexts faces challenges such as accurately targeting the poor (given the spatial geography of urban poverty) and setting appropriate payment levels (given the high and variable costs of urban living). Geographic targeting (e.g. informal settlements), proxy means testing (if urban-sensitive) and categorical targeting (e.g. street children) are popular mechanisms in urban areas, but community-based targeting is often inappropriate (because of urban social fragmentation) while self-targeting can be unethical (e.g. where wages below market rates are paid in public works projects) and might contradict rights-based approaches. These are relevant challenges to address when designing urban social protection programmes. We apply these reflections to Ghana. The country is a relevant case study because it is growing and urbanizing rapidly. But as the result of urbanization, urban poverty and deprivations are rising even though national poverty rates have halved. Anti-poverty policies and social protection interventions remain biased towards the rural poor. The ‘urbanization of poverty’ in Ghana has created problems such as overcrowded housing, limited access to sanitation, and outbreaks of communicable diseases. This paper provides guidance on the critical questions to ask to design in Ghana a successful urban social protection programme with a child lens.
Political Connections No Longer Determine Targeting of Social Protection: A successful case study from Ethiopia
Publication Publication

Political Connections No Longer Determine Targeting of Social Protection: A successful case study from Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of donor funds for development and emergency interventions. As such, its targeting of social protection has received substantial attention. In particular, concerns have been raised that political connections could play a role in determining the selection of beneficiaries. With the introduction in 2005 of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), Ethiopia implemented various policies aimed at increasing transparency in the targeting of social protection. This case study compares targeting before and during the implementation of PSNP, and shows improvements in targeting for both public works and emergency aid in relation to the dimensions of poverty, food security and political connections. Most notably, political connections are no longer found to determine the receipt of benefits during the implementation of PSNP.
Targeting of Social Protection in 11 Ethiopian villages
Publication Publication

Targeting of Social Protection in 11 Ethiopian villages

Social protection in Ethiopia is primarily allocated through community-based targeting. The few studies that have analysed the efficacy of aid targeting in Ethiopia have revealed targeting biases in regard to demography, geography and political affiliations. With the introduction in Ethiopia in 2005 of the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), a major social protection programme, various administrative guidelines were introduced (and subsequently periodically revised) with the aim of improving targeting. This paper uses data from the last two rounds of the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey to investigate whether PSNP implementation resulted in changes in both targeting determinants and amount received for public works (a component of PSNP) and emergency aid between 2004 and 2009 in 11 rural villages. In general, public works appear to have been allocated on the basis of observable poverty-related characteristics, and emergency aid according to household demographics. In addition, the results suggest that, for both public works and emergency aid beneficiaries, political connections were significant in determining the receipt of aid in 2004 but that this was no longer the case by 2009, indicating an improvement in the channeling of social protection to its intended target groups. However, a household’s experience of recent shocks was found to bear no relationship to receipt of support, which suggests that a more flexible and shock-responsive implementation could improve targeting for transitory needs.
Evidence on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement
Publication Publication

Evidence on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement

Rigorous research in humanitarian settings is possible when researchers and programmers work together, particularly in the early stages when responses to humanitarian challenges are designed. Six new rigorous research studies from five countries: Ecuador, Mali, Niger, Lebanon and Yemen illustrate this point.
‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
Publication Publication

‘Cash Plus’: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors

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.
Comparing the Productive Effects of Cash and Food Transfers in a Crisis Setting: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Yemen
Publication Publication

Comparing the Productive Effects of Cash and Food Transfers in a Crisis Setting: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Yemen

The productive impacts of transfer programmes have received increased attention. However, little is known about such effects in emergency and crisis settings. Even less is known about whether transfer type – a food basket or a cash grant – influences the productive potential of such transfers. Theory suggests that, while cash transfers can relieve liquidity constraints associated with investments, subsidized food provision, by acting as a form of insurance, may prevent households from retreating to conservative income-generating strategies during volatile periods. Using a randomized field experiment in Yemen, we contrast the effects of transfer modality. The results demonstrate a modest productive impact of both modalities and suggest a role for both liquidity and price risk channels. Cash transfer recipients invested relatively more in activities with higher liquidity requirements (livestock), while food recipients incorporated higher-return crops into their agricultural portfolios.
Economic Transfers and Social Cohesion in a Refugee-hosting Setting
Publication Publication

Economic Transfers and Social Cohesion in a Refugee-hosting Setting

There is increasing interest in understanding if social protection has the ability to foster social cohesion, particularly between refugees and host communities. Using an experimental evaluation of transfers, including cash, food and food vouchers to Colombian refugees and poor Ecuadorians in urban and peri-urban areas we examine if transfers resulted in changes in social cohesion measures. The evaluation was a cluster-randomized control trial examining a short-term programme implemented over six months by the World Food Programme. We examine six aggregate dimensions of social cohesion, derived from 33 individual indicators, in addition to an overall index of social cohesion. Overall results suggest that the programme contributed to integration of Colombians in the hosting community through increases in personal agency, attitudes accepting diversity, confidence in institutions, and social participation. However, while having no impact for the Ecuadorian population. There were no negative impacts of the programme on indicators or domains analysed. Although we are not able to specifically identify mechanisms, we hypothesize that these impacts are driven by joint targeting, messaging around social inclusion and through interaction between nationalities at mandated monthly nutrition trainings.
How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger
Publication Publication

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

The methods used to identify beneficiaries of programmes aiming to address persistent poverty and shocks are subject to frequent policy debates. Relying on panel data from Niger, this paper analyses the performance of different targeting methods that are widely used by development and humanitarian actors and explores how they can be applied as part of an adaptive social protection (ASP) system. The methods include proxy-means testing (PMT), household economy analysis (HEA), geographical targeting, and combined methods. Results show that PMT performs better in identifying persistently poor households, while HEA performs better in identifying transiently food insecure households. Geographical targeting is particularly efficient in responding to food crises, which tend to be largely covariate in nature. Combinations of geographical, PMT, and HEA approaches may be used as part of an efficient and scalable ASP system. Results motivate the consolidation of data across programmes, which can support the application of alternative targeting methods tailored to programme-specific objectives.
No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon
Publication Publication

No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

This paper documents the impact of a cash transfer programme – an initiative of the Government of Lebanon, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), widely 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. The programme provides cash to children who are enrolled in the afternoon shift of a public primary school. It was designed to cover the cost of commuting to school and to compensate households for income forgone if children attend school instead of working, two critical barriers to child school participation. We rely on a geographical regression discontinuity design comparing children living in two pilot governorates with children in two neighbouring governorates to identify the impact of the programme halfway in the first year of operation (the 2016/17 school year). We find limited programme effects on school enrolment, but 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 over the control group. School enrolment among Syrian children rose rapidly across all of Lebanon’s governorates during the period of the evaluation, resulting in supply side capacity constraints that appear to have dampened positive impacts on enrolment.
Zimbabwe's Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme Improves Food Security and Reduces Reliance on Food Gifts
Publication Publication

Zimbabwe's Harmonized Cash Transfer Programme Improves Food Security and Reduces Reliance on Food Gifts

In 2016, approximately 815 million people were chronically undernourished globally. In recent years, food security has worsened in some parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. In Zimbabwe, latest estimates show that about 45% of the total population are undernourished1. To address the challenge of growing food insecurity, effective social protection programmes must be implemented and scaled-up. Cash transfers are one such programme, the primary objectives of which often include poverty alleviation and food insecurity reduction. This research study utilized longitudinal data collected for the impact evaluation of Zimbabwe’s Harmonized Social Cash Transfer Programme (HSCT), an unconditional cash transfer that targets ultra- poor, labour-constrained households. It accomplishes two things: It provides evidence on the relative merits of using an aggregate consumption expenditure measure versus a food security scale, to assess household vulnerability and food insecurity; and it contributes to a growing literature on the effects of state-sponsored unconditional cash transfers in Africa on household behaviour and food security.
The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief
Publication Publication

The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi. A Policy Brief

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme Increases Household Resiliency
Publication Publication

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme Increases Household Resiliency

Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts
Publication Publication

Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme: A comprehensive summary of impacts

The Transformative Impacts of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from two government programmes in Zambia
Publication Publication

The Transformative Impacts of Unconditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from two government programmes in Zambia

Unconditional cash transfers are on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, with recent estimates indicating a doubling of programmes between 2010 and 2014. This brief provides an overview of the comprehensive impacts across eight domains of two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Zambian Government: The Child Grant Programme (CGP) and the Multiple Category Targeting Programme (MCP). Although the primary objective of these programmes is poverty mitigation rather than economic empowerment, we document protective and productive outcomes in order to assess whether these programmes generate transformative effects and have the potential to offer a sustained pathway out of poverty for poor households.
How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors
Publication Publication

How to Make ‘Cash Plus’ Work: Linking Cash Transfers to Services and Sectors

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.
The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017
Publication Publication

The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa: Transfer Project Workshop Brief 2017

The annual workshop of the Transfer Project, “The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa” focused on new challenges arising from moving from fragmented programmes to integrated social protection systems, combining cash transfers with complementary (also referred to as ‘plus’) interventions, as well as the assessment of social protection in emergency contexts.
Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers
Publication Publication

Myth-busting? How research is refuting common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers

Six common perceptions associated with cash transfers are investigated using data from eight rigorous evaluations of government unconditional cash transfer programmes across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The evidence refutes each claim. Used in policy debates, these perceptions undermine well-being improvements and poverty reduction, in Africa and globally.
Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa
Publication Publication

Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa

In this paper we summarize evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. Specifically, we investigate if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation), and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. We present evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions – insofar as they are utilized in policy debates – undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programmes can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.
The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
Publication Publication

The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe

We study the impact of the Zimbabwe Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) on household food security after 12 months of implementation. The programme has had a strong impact on a well-known food security scale – the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) – but muted impacts on food consumption expenditure. However aggregate food consumption hides dynamic activity taking place within the household where the cash is used to obtain more food from the market and rely less on food received as gifts.
Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia
Publication Publication

Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia

In sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region in the world, the number of cash transfer programmes has doubled in the last five years and reaches close to 50 million people. What is the impact of these programmes, and do they offer a sustained pathway out of ultra-poverty? In this paper we examine these questions using experimental data from two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Government of Zambia. We find far-reaching effects of these two programmes, not just on their primary objective, food security and consumption, but also on a range of productive and economic outcomes. After three years, we observe that household spending is 59 per cent larger than the value of the transfer received, implying a sizeable multiplier effect. These multipliers work through increased non-farm business activity and agricultural production.
Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design
Publication Publication

Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design

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.
Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation
Publication Publication

Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation

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.
Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable
Publication Publication

Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable

This Brief summarizes the proceedings of the Know Violence Roundtable examining the evidence on the role of social protection in reducing childhood violence hosted by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, 12-13 May, 2016.
Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Publication Publication

Cash Transfers and Gender: A closer look at the Zambian Child Grant Programme

In 2010, the Zambian Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health began implementation of the Child Grant Programme with the goals of reducing extreme poverty and breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. The impact of the grant was explored across a range of outcomes for women over the medium term (two to four years). One of the difficult aspects of assessing this evidence is the myriad of indicators used to measure ‘empowerment’. For example, researchers have used indicators ranging from women’s intra-household decision-making to social networks, land or asset ownership, and interpret all these as ‘empowerment’, making it difficult to draw conclusions. The analysis is complemented with qualitative data to understand the meaning women and men place on empowerment in the rural communities. Although more evidence is needed to understand how cash transfers can empower women in Africa, women’s savings and participation in small businesses were seen to have increased, giving them more autonomy over cash and improving their financial standing.
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Publication Publication

Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme

The paper investigates the assumption that giving cash as part of social safety nets targeted to women will lead to their empowerment. There is a perception that both conditional and unconditional cash transfers will lead to changes in intra-household power dynamics, but the evidence to support this to date is mixed. This evaluation of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme uses mixed methods to examine the four-year impact on women’s household decision-making, empowerment and overall household dynamics.
Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia
Publication Publication

Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia

Findings show that the CGP enabled poor women to save more cash and that the impact is larger for women who had lower decision-making power at baseline. The results support the proposition that cash transfers have the potential for long-term sustainable improvements in women’s financial position and household well-being by promoting savings and facilitating productive investments among low-income rural households.
Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Publication Publication

Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Approximately half of all mental health disorders begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. Among adolescents, depression is one of the leading contributors to morbidity, while suicide and interpersonal violence are among the leading causes of mortality.
The Impact of Cash Transfers on Food Security
Publication Publication

The Impact of Cash Transfers on Food Security

Vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan African countries often face high levels of food insecurity which disproportionately affect households living in poverty and children are particularly at risk. This review of eight social cash transfer programme evaluations has shown that cash transfers have an impact on several different dimensions of food security.
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfers in Africa Do Not Increase Fertility: Issue Brief
Publication Publication

Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfers in Africa Do Not Increase Fertility: Issue Brief

A common perception surrounding the design and implementation of social cash transfers is that those targeted to families with young children will incentivize families to have more children. To date, however, research on unconditional cash transfer programmes in Africa (including Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia) have demonstrated no impacts of cash transfer programmes on increased fertility.
The Zambian Government Unconditional Social CashTransfer Programme Does Not Increase Fertility
Publication Publication

The Zambian Government Unconditional Social CashTransfer Programme Does Not Increase Fertility

This is the first study from sub-Saharan Africa examining the relation between cash transfers and fertility using a large-sample social experiment design and reporting fertility histories of individual women. The findings are important because they provide strong evidence that a social protection programme targeted to families with young children does not create the unintended effect of increased fertility.
Prevention, Protection, and Production: Evidence from the Zambian Child Grant Programme
Publication Publication

Prevention, Protection, and Production: Evidence from the Zambian Child Grant Programme

Unlike conditional cash transfers, unconditional transfers have the potential to impact all beneficiary household members across a range of productive and social domains. After two years, research shows that the Zambian Child Grant Programme has led to strong positive impacts in investment and diversification of income-generating activities, food security, and asset accumulation.
Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes
Publication Publication

Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes

This Brief summarizes findings from the impact evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme on schooling outcomes overall and for various subgroups: by sex, age group and cognitive ability.The findings underscore the importance of going beyond average treatment effects to analyse impacts by subgroup in order to unpack the programme effect
Social cash transfers, early pregnancy and marriage in the Kenyan national cash transfer programme
Publication Publication

Social cash transfers, early pregnancy and marriage in the Kenyan national cash transfer programme

According to the 2008-2009 Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey, almost a third of the women of reproductive age were married before they reached their 18th birthday, and more than 75 per cent had their first child by age 24. The role of poverty in influencing adolescent fertility has been well documented and social cash transfers (SCTs) have been recommended as a successful reduction strategy. This Research Brief examines a study comparing two groups who had and had not received unconditional cash transfers. The authors identify four factors through which such cash amounts affect adolescent well-being: increased investment in girls’ education; delay in girls’ sexual debut; improved mental health and increased aspirations for girls; and increased household economic stability.
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility
Publication Publication

Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility

Among policymakers, a common perception surrounding the effects of cash transfer programmes, particularly unconditional programmes targeted to families with children, is that they will induce increased fertility. Yet results from an evaluation of the Zambian Child Grant Programme indicate there are no programme impacts on overall fertility. In addition, among young women under 25 years and among women who have access to family planning, fertility actually decreased and use of modern contraceptives increased.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know
Publication Publication

Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of cash transfer programmes on the immediate and underlying determinants of child nutrition, including the most recent evidence from impact evaluations across sub-Saharan Africa. The paper finds that the evidence to date on the immediate determinants of child nutrition is mixed with respect to whether cash transfers can positively impact growth-related outcomes among children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Publication Publication

Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme

Many of the coping strategies the rural poor use to cope with failed harvests and other negative income shocks, such as reducing food consumption, selling off productive assets, and pulling children out of school, can mire households in poverty traps – the self-reinforcing conditions that cause poverty to persist. This study investigates whether cash transfers enable households facing weather and other negative shocks to avoid coping strategies that lead to poverty traps.
The Impact of Zambia’s Unconditional Child Grant on Schooling and Work: Results from a large-scale social experiment
Publication Publication

The Impact of Zambia’s Unconditional Child Grant on Schooling and Work: Results from a large-scale social experiment

This paper reports the impact on child schooling and work of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer programme targeted to households with children aged under 3 years in three districts of the country. The impacts reported here lead to the conclusion that unconditional cash transfers in Africa have significant positive impacts on children’s human capital.
Are Cash Transfers a Silver Bullet? Evidence from the Zambian Child Grant
Publication Publication

Are Cash Transfers a Silver Bullet? Evidence from the Zambian Child Grant

Evidence based on independent studies from different programmes across the world demonstrates that cash transfers can have an impact on a wide range of development domains. But does this evidence mean that cash transfers are the silver bullet or best solution to alleviating poverty?
Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme
Publication Publication

Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme

The risk and time preferences of individuals as well as their subjective expectations regarding the future are likely to play an important role in choice behaviour. A large-scale survey in Kenya shows that cash transfers alone do not appear to impact time discounting or risk aversion, but they do have an important impact on subjective well-being measures and on future perceptions of quality of life.
Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia
Publication Publication

Making the Investment Case for Social Protection: Methodological challenges with lessons learnt from a recent study in Cambodia

The focus in this paper is on non-contributory social transfers which are considered to be the main social protection instruments targeted specifically at poor and vulnerable households, and which are financed from general government revenues.
Social Transfers and Child Protection
Publication Publication

Social Transfers and Child Protection

The study identifies and evaluates three possible channels through which social transfers can influence child protection outcomes: direct effects observed where the objectives of social transfers are explicit chid protection outcomes; indirect effects where the impact of social transfers on poverty and exclusion leads to improved child protection outcomes; and potential synergies in implementation of social transfers and child protection. A revised version of this report was published in the Children and Youth Services Review
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature
Publication Publication

The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature

Based on an extensive analysis of the existing evidence on the impact of social protection programmes in the developing world, this paper aims to assess what are the channels that have to be taken into account to understand how the benefits of social protection could be maximized with specific regard to the different dimensions of children’s well-being (economics and livelihood, education, health, nutrition).
Innovative Features in Conditional Cash Transfers: An impact evaluation of Chile Solidario on households and children
Publication Publication

Innovative Features in Conditional Cash Transfers: An impact evaluation of Chile Solidario on households and children

The Chile Solidario programme is an avant garde conditional cash transfer (CCT) in the Latin American context, introducing innovative features aimed at addressing specifically the multidimensional nature of poverty. At the household level we find that the programme has a significant impact on lifting families out of extreme poverty and that it does not have disincentive effects on labour market participation.
Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia
Publication Publication

Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia

Home based work has a dual and contradictory character: on the one hand, as a source of income diversification for poor workers and the emergence of micro-enterprises, yet on the other, it is a source of exploitation of vulnerable workers as firms attempt to contain costs. This paper examines the social protection needs of women workers in this sector, and also argues for public action to promote such work as a possible new labour intensive growth strategy in these and other developing countries.

Journal Articles

Cash Transfers, Early Marriage, and Fertility in Malawi and Zambia
Journal Article Journal Article

Cash Transfers, Early Marriage, and Fertility in Malawi and Zambia

More evidence on the relationship between cash transfers and child height
Journal Article Journal Article

More evidence on the relationship between cash transfers and child height

We examine the effect of the Zambia Child Grant Programme – an unconditional cash transfer (CT) targeted to rural households with children under age five – on height-for-age up to four years after programme initiation. The CT scheme had large positive effects on nutritional inputs like food expenditure and meal frequency, but no impact on child height-for-age. Production function estimates indicate that food carries little weight in the production of child height in the study sample. In settings with poor health infrastructure and harsh disease environments, a stand-alone CT is unlikely to address long-term chronic malnutrition unless accompanied by complementary interventions.
Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health care? Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales program
Journal Article Journal Article

Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health care? Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales program

There is growing evidence on positive human capital impacts of large, poverty‐focused cash transfer programs. However, evidence is inconclusive on whether cash transfer programs affect maternal health outcomes, and if so, through which pathways. We use a regression discontinuity design with an implicit threshold to evaluate the impact of Comunidades Solidarias Rurales in El Salvador on four maternal health service utilization outcomes: (a) prenatal care; (b) skilled attendance at birth; (c) birth in health facilities; and (d) postnatal care. We find robust impacts on outcomes at the time of birth but not on prenatal and postnatal care. In addition to income effects, supply‐side health service improvements and gains in women's agency may have played a role in realizing these gains. With growing inequalities in maternal health outcomes globally, results contribute to an understanding of how financial incentives can address health systems and financial barriers that prevent poor women from seeking and receiving care at critical periods for both maternal and infant health.
Beyond internal validity: Towards a broader understanding of credibility in development policy research
Journal Article Journal Article

Beyond internal validity: Towards a broader understanding of credibility in development policy research

We provide evidence from the Transfer Project to show that methodological design is only one factor in determining credibility in the eyes of policymakers. Policymakers understand concerns around internal validity, but also value collaborative research engagement, which builds trust, allows co-creation of research questions, informs operations throughout the evaluation period and leverages national research expertise. Further, the mere act of engaging in a large-scale, transparent impact evaluation, across quasi- and experimental designs can change the culture of decision-making within an agency, leading to better policy choices in the long run. We advocate for a more inclusive approach to policy research that begins with identifying the most relevant research question and fitting the methods to the question rather than vice-versa. We challenge the field to engage more closely with policymakers to identify their evidence needs in order to prioritize the end objective of improving the lives of the poor—regardless of methodological design choices.
Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: the Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection
Journal Article Journal Article

Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: the Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection

Social protection has the potential to provide a key interface between states and citizens. We consider how the institutional framing and design of social protection can be adapted from top-down forms of provision to forms that stimulate vulnerable citizens to make rights-based claims and demand accountability for their entitlements. A conceptual framework is developed that illustrates three channels through which citizenship can be engaged through social accountability mechanisms and in the context of social protection provision. Drawing on case studies, we highlight the different contexts in which the design and delivery of social protection can open up spaces for different forms of citizenship engagement and expression. Through opening up institutional spaces where citizens can engage with the state, and each other, we conclude that social protection is uniquely placed to build the economic, social and political capabilities of citizens.
Impact evaluation of a social protection programme paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme
Journal Article Journal Article

Impact evaluation of a social protection programme paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

While impacts on NHIS enrolment were significant, gaps remain to maximise the potential of integrated programming. NHIS and LEAP could be better streamlined to ensure poor households fully benefit from both services, in a further step towards integrated social protection.
Perspectives of adolescent and young adults on poverty-related stressors: a qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania
Journal Article Journal Article

Perspectives of adolescent and young adults on poverty-related stressors: a qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania

Although participants were asked to provide general reflections about stress in their community, the salience of poverty-related stressors was ubiquitously reflected in respondents’ responses. Poverty-related stressors affect development, well-being and gender-based violence. Future research should focus on interventions to alleviate poverty-related stress to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Understanding the Relationships Between HIV and Child Marriage: Conclusions From an Expert Consultation
Journal Article Journal Article

Understanding the Relationships Between HIV and Child Marriage: Conclusions From an Expert Consultation

Stimulated by careful reviews of the literature undertaken by the World Health Organization and Girls Not Brides, in November 2018, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Girls Not Brides convened experts from academia, civil society, and bilateral and multilateral institutions for a consultation that aimed to better understand what is and what is not known about this relationship, as well as to identify priorities for policies and programs. This article summarizes some key conclusions and recommendations from that convening.
Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia
Journal Article Journal Article

Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia

Cash transfer programs are rapidly becoming a key component of the social safety net of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary aim of these programs is to help households improve their food security and to smooth consumption during periods of economic duress. However, beneficiary households have also been shown to use these programs to expand their microentrepreneurial activities. Cluster-randomized trials carried out during the rollout of large-scale programs in Malawi and Zambia show that children may increase their work in the household enterprise through such programs. Both programs increased forms of work that may be detrimental to children, such as activities that expose children to hazards in Malawi and excessive working hours in Zambia. However, both programs also induced positive changes in other child well-being domains, such as school attendance and material well-being, leading to a mixed and inconclusive picture of the implications of these programs for children.
No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon
Journal Article Journal Article

No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

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.
Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach
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Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach

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.
How to Target Households in Adaptive Social Protection Systems? Evidence from Humanitarian and Development Approaches in Niger
Journal Article Journal Article

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

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.
Assets for Alimentation? The Nutritional Impact of Assets-based Programming in Niger
Journal Article Journal Article

Assets for Alimentation? The Nutritional Impact of Assets-based Programming in Niger

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.
Comparing the Productive Effects of Cash and Food Transfers in a Crisis Setting: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment in Yemen
Journal Article Journal Article

Comparing the Productive Effects of Cash and Food Transfers in a Crisis Setting: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment in Yemen

The productive impacts of transfer programmes have been receiving increased attention. However, little is known about such effects in emergency and crisis settings. Even less is known about whether transfer type – a food basket or a cash grant – influences the productive potential of such transfers. Theory suggests that cash transfers can relieve liquidity constraints associated with investments, but subsidised food provision, by acting as a form of insurance, may prevent households from retreating to conservative income-generating strategies during volatile periods. This report contrasts the effects of transfer modality during a randomised field experiment in Yemen. The results demonstrate a modest productive impact of both modalities and suggest a role for liquidity and price risk channels. Cash transfer recipients invested relatively more in activities with higher liquidity requirements (livestock), while food recipients incorporated higher-return crops into their agricultural portfolios.
School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali
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School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

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

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

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.
Government of Malawi's unconditional cash transfer improves youth mental health
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Government of Malawi's unconditional cash transfer improves youth mental health

We explore the impacts of Malawi's national unconditional cash transfer program targeting ultra-poor households on youth mental health. Experimental findings show that the program significantly improved mental health outcomes. Among girls in particular, the program reduces indications of depression by about 15 percentage points. We investigate the contribution of different possible pathways to the overall program impact, including education, health, consumption, caregiver's stress levels and life satisfaction, perceived social support, and participation in hard and unpleasant work. The pathways explain from 46 to 65 percent of the program impact, advancing our understanding of how economic interventions can affect mental health of youth in resource-poor settings. The findings underline that unconditional cash grants, which are used on an increasingly large scale as part of national social protection systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, have the potential to improve youth mental wellbeing and thus may help break the vicious cycle of poverty and poor mental health.
Exploring Impacts of Community-Based Legal Aid on Intrahousehold Gender Relations in Tanzania
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Exploring Impacts of Community-Based Legal Aid on Intrahousehold Gender Relations in Tanzania

Community-based legal aid (CBLA) has been promoted as a promising intervention to reach rural marginalized populations who face barriers to accessing formal legal services and is increasingly implemented with the specific goal of protecting women's rights. This study evaluates the impact of a twelve-month CBLA program in northwestern Tanzania on intrahousehold gender relations using a clustered-randomized control trial across 139 villages. Among 1,219 women, the study finds those in treatment villages are more likely to refer others to paralegals for a variety of domestic issues; however, there are no measureable impacts on aggregate knowledge of marital law, intrahousehold decision making, or reported experience of twelve-month intimate partner violence. These overall results are robust to a number of other sensitivity analyses, including accounting for spillovers, attrition bounds, and modeling choices. While these results indicate limited potential for intrahousehold and gender-progressive change, program duration and intensity likely affected measurable positive impacts.
Risk Factors for Childhood Violence and Polyvictimization: A Cross-Country Analysis from Three Regions
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Risk Factors for Childhood Violence and Polyvictimization: A Cross-Country Analysis from Three Regions

Understanding risk factors is important to ending childhood violence and meeting Sustainable Development Goal 16.2. To date, no study has examined patterns of risk factors across countries comprehensively for different types of childhood violence, and there is a dearth of evidence of polyvictimization in lower- and middle-income settings. We analyse risk factors of childhood emotional (EV), physical (PV), sexual violence (SV) and polyvictimization for children aged 13–17 from nationally-representative Violence Against Children Surveys across six countries. We examine risk factors at the community-, household-, and individual- levels for each violence type, stratified by gender using multivariable logistic regression models. Across countries, school enrolment increased violence risk among females and males (three countries), but was protective against violence among females (one country), and among males (three countries). Among females, increasing age was associated with increased risk of SV (five countries) and polyvictimization (three countries); among males this relationship was less salient. Non-residence with a biological father emerged as a risk factor for SV among girls. Few or inconsistent associations were found with other factors, including number of household members, wealth, and urban residence. These results underscore on the one hand, the need for country-specific research on risk factors to inform prevention strategies, as well as increased investment in data collection to provide a more complete and robust basis for evidence generation. High levels of polyvictimization highlight overlapping vulnerabilities children face, and may provide insights for policymakers and practitioners in designing strategies to protect children at greatest risk of abuse.
Who perpetrates violence against children? A systematic analysis of age- and sex-specific data
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Who perpetrates violence against children? A systematic analysis of age- and sex-specific data

The epidemiology of violence against children is likely to differ substantially by sex and age of the victim and the perpetrator. Thus far, investment in effective prevention strategies has been hindered by lack of clarity in the burden of childhood violence across these dimensions. We produced the first age-specific and sex-specific prevalence estimates by perpetrator type for physical, sexual and emotional violence against children globally.Design We used random effects meta-regression to estimate prevalence. Estimates were adjusted for relevant quality covariates, variation in definitions of violence and weighted by region-specific, age-specific and sex-specific population data to ensure estimates reflect country population structures.Data sources Secondary data from 600 population or school-based representative datasets and 43 publications obtained via systematic literature review, representing 13 830 estimates from 171 countries.Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Estimates for recent violence against children aged 0–19 were included.Results The most common perpetrators of physical and emotional violence for both boys and girls across a range of ages are household members, with prevalence often surpassing 50%, followed by student peers. Children reported experiencing more emotional than physical violence from both household members and students. The most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls aged 15–19 years are intimate partners; however, few data on other perpetrators of sexual violence against children are systematically collected internationally. Few age-specific and sex-specific data are available on violence perpetration by schoolteachers; however, existing data indicate high prevalence of physical violence from teachers towards students. Data from other authority figures, strangers, siblings and other adults are limited, as are data on neglect of children.Conclusions Without further investment in data generation on violence exposure from multiple perpetrators for boys and girls of all ages, progress towards Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 16 may be slow. Despite data gaps, evidence shows violence from household members, peers in school and for girls, from intimate partners, should be prioritised for prevention.
Mythbusting: confronting six common perceptions about cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa
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Mythbusting: confronting six common perceptions about cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa

This paper summarizes evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa under the Transfer Project. Specifically, it investigates if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation); and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. The paper presents evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions—insofar as they are utilized in policy debates—undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programs can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. It concludes by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.
Income transfers, early marriage and fertility in Malawi and Zambia
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Income transfers, early marriage and fertility in Malawi and Zambia

There is increasing interest in the ability of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood in low‐income settings; however, evidence from scaled‐up government programming demonstrating this potential is scarce. Using two experimental evaluations of unconditional cash transfers targeted to ultra‐poor and labor‐constrained households over approximately three years in Malawi and Zambia, we examine whether cash transfers delayed early marriage and pregnancy among youth aged 14 to 21 years at baseline. Although we find strong impacts on poverty and schooling, two main pathways hypothesized in the literature, we find limited impacts on safe transition outcomes for both males and females. In addition, despite hypotheses that social norms may constrain potential impacts of cash transfer programs, we show suggestive evidence that pre‐program variation in social norms across communities does not significantly affect program impact. We conclude with policy implications and suggestions for future research.
Context and Measurement: An analysis of the relationship between intrahoushold decision making and autonomy
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Context and Measurement: An analysis of the relationship between intrahoushold decision making and autonomy

Using data from two culturally distinct locales, Bangladesh and Ghana, we investigate whether men and women who report sole decision making in a particular domain experience stronger (or weaker) feelings of autonomous motivation—measured using the Relative Autonomy Index (RAI)—compared to those who report joint decision making. Used primarily in psychology, the RAI measures the extent to which an individual’s actions are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, where higher scores indicate greater autonomy. On aggregate, we find differences between men and women, and across countries, in the significance of association between the individual’s level of participation in decision-making and autonomy. In addition, we find heterogeneity in the strength of this association, depending on the domain (e.g., productive versus personal decisions) and whether partners agree on who normally makes decisions. These findings imply that details related to context and measurement matter for understanding individual decision-making power. We argue that all research using information on decision-making should include a careful analysis of men’s and women’s perceptions of decision making within the household, which may be useful for calibrating indicators to suit specific contexts.
A mixed-method review of Intimate partner violence and cash transfers in low- and middle-income countries
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A mixed-method review of Intimate partner violence and cash transfers in low- and middle-income countries

There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV). However, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed-method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Fourteen quantitative and eight qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and five, respectively, demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: (a) economic security and emotional well-being, (b) intra-household conflict, and (c) women's empowerment. The economic security and well-being pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioral responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts. Intimate partner violence. Domestic violence. Cash transfers. Women's empowerment
Still a leap of faith: Microfinance for prevention of violence against women and girls in low- and middle-income settings
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Still a leap of faith: Microfinance for prevention of violence against women and girls in low- and middle-income settings

Economic strengthening interventions, including microfinance initiatives have been proposed as promising strategies to reduce interpersonal violence in low-income and middle-income settings. Despite these recommendations, there is little rigorous empirical evidence that microfinance alone or synergistically with gender norms or equity training can reduce violence against children or intimate partner violence.We call for further investments in evidence generation around economic strengthening before scaling-up potentially ineffective interventions
Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households
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Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households

BackgroundYouth mental health has emerged as a pressing global issue. However, to advance research gaps in low-income settings, we need valid measures of common mental health disorders. Using primary data collected in five countries (Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), this study aims to assess the psychometric properties of the commonly used 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D 10) scale among poor, disadvantaged youth populations in sub-Saharan African (SSA).MethodsYouth samples from each country (sample sizes ranging from 651 to 2098) come from large household surveys with youth modules, collected for impact evaluations of cash transfer programs targeted to poor families. For each sample, we assessed internal consistency (alpha), conducted factor analysis, and then examined construct validity and measurement invariance. We performed both exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine and confirm the structure of the CES-D 10 for each country and then used multigroup CFA to assess measurement invariance across gender and age. Multivariate analyses were conducted to assess construct validity via test of the relationship between CES-D 10 and background characteristics.ResultsResults show the CES-D 10 had strong psychometric properties and was a reliable measure of depressive symptoms among disadvantaged youth in SSA. Across countries, there was high internal consistency (Cronbach alphas = 0.70–0.76) and the traditional two-factor solution showed good model fit. Full measurement invariance of the CES-D 10 was supported across gender. Consistent with previous literature on risk factors for depressive symptoms, the CES-D 10 was associated with increasing age, and female gender and being out of school in some locations.ConclusionsResults from this study support broad use of the CES-D 10 among poor youth populations in SSA. Between one-third and two-thirds of our samples demonstrated depressive symptoms as classified by recommended cut-offs for the CES-D 10, indicating a high burden of mental illness in disadvantaged youth populations. This tool can be used in future efforts to study prevalence and dynamics of depressive symptoms in this population, as well as effectiveness of policies and interventions to improve the mental health of youth in SSA.
List randomization for soliciting experience of intimate partner violence: Application to the evaluation of Zambia's unconditional child grant program
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List randomization for soliciting experience of intimate partner violence: Application to the evaluation of Zambia's unconditional child grant program

Social scientists have increasingly invested in understanding how to improve data quality and measurement of sensitive topics in household surveys. We utilize the technique of list randomization to collect measures of physical intimate partner violence in an experimental impact evaluation of the Government of Zambia's Child Grant Program. The Child Grant Program is an unconditional cash transfer, which targeted female caregivers of children under the age of 5 in rural areas to receive the equivalent of US $24 as a bimonthly stipend. The implementation results show that the list randomization methodology functioned as planned, with approximately 15% of the sample identifying 12-month prevalence of physical intimate partner violence. According to this measure, after 4 years, the program had no measurable effect on partner violence. List randomization is a promising approach to incorporate sensitive measures into multitopic evaluations; however, more research is needed to improve upon methodology for application to measurement of violence.
Is graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa
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Is graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

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
Is there catch-up growth? Evidence from three continents
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Is there catch-up growth? Evidence from three continents

The ability to correct deficiencies in early childhood malnutrition, what is known as catch-up growth, has widespread consequences for economic and social development. While clinical evidence of catch-up has been observed, less clear is the ability to correct for chronic malnutrition found in impoverished environments in the absence of extensive and focused interventions. This paper investigates whether nutritional status at early age affects nutritional status a few years later among children, using panel data from China, South Africa and Nicaragua. The key research question is the extent to which state dependence in linear growth exists among young children, and what family and community level factors mediate state dependency. The answer to this question is crucial for public policy due to the long-term economic consequences of poor childhood nutrition. Results show strong but not perfect persistence in nutritional status across all countries, indicating that catch-up growth is possible though unobserved household behaviours tend to worsen the possibility of catch-up growth. Public policy that can influence these behaviours, especially when children are under 24 months old, can significantly alter nutrition outcomes in South Africa and Nicaragua.
Age and Intimate Partner Violence: An analysis of global trends among women experiencing victimization in 30 developing countries
Journal Article Journal Article

Age and Intimate Partner Violence: An analysis of global trends among women experiencing victimization in 30 developing countries

PurposeYoung women are at elevated risk of violence victimization, yet generalizable evidence on age at which abuse first occurs is lacking. This analysis provides new descriptive evidence on age and duration into partnership of women's first intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization.MethodsData come from ever married women ages of 15–49 years in nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys in 30 countries collected from 2005 to 2014 in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Descriptive analysis is performed.ResultsApproximately 29.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 28.8, 29.3) of women reported any physical or sexual IPV. Among ever married women who first experienced violence post-union, abuse began, on average, 3.5 years (95% CI 3.4, 3.5), after union formation. Approximately 38.5% (95% CI 37.9, 39.0) and 67.5% (95% CI 67.0, 68.1) of those ever experiencing abuse did so within 1 year and 3 years, respectively, of union formation. Regionally, average years into union of abuse initiation showed little variation and average age at first abuse among once married women is 22.1 years.ConclusionsResults imply that primary prevention for IPV must take place on average before first union before age 19 years, to capture the most relevant and at risk target population. Resources allocated toward risk factors in childhood and adolescence may be most effective in combating initiation of IPV globally. Despite this finding, there remains a lack of evidence on effective interventions for primary prevention of abuse during women's early years in developing settings.
Effects of a Large-scale Unconditional Cash Transfer Program on Mental Health Outcomes of Young People in Kenya: A cluster randomized trial
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Effects of a Large-scale Unconditional Cash Transfer Program on Mental Health Outcomes of Young People in Kenya: A cluster randomized trial

PurposeThis study investigates the causal effect of Kenya's unconditional cash transfer program on mental health outcomes of young people.MethodsSelected locations in Kenya were randomly assigned to receive unconditional cash transfers in the first phase of Kenya's Cash Transfer Program for orphans and Vulnerable Children. In intervention locations, low-income households and those with orphans and vulnerable childrens began receiving monthly cash transfers of $20 in 2007. In 2011, 4 years after program onset, data were collected on the psychosocial status for youth aged 15–24 years from households in intervention and control locations (N = 1960). The primary outcome variable was an indicator of depressive symptoms using the 10-question Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Secondary outcomes include an indicator for hopefulness and physical health measures. Logistic regression models that adjusted for individual and household characteristics were used to determine the effect of the cash transfer program.ResultsThe cash transfer reduced the odds of depressive symptoms by 24 percent among young persons living in households that received cash transfers. Further analysis by gender and age revealed that the effects were only significant for young men and were larger among men aged 20–24 years and orphans.ConclusionsThis study provides evidence that poverty-targeted unconditional cash transfer programs, can improve the mental health of young people in low-income countries.
Income Transfers and Maternal Health: Evidence from a National Randomized Social Cash Transfer Program in Zambia
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Income Transfers and Maternal Health: Evidence from a National Randomized Social Cash Transfer Program in Zambia

There is promising recent evidence that poverty-targeted social cash transfers have potential to improve maternal health outcomes; however, questions remain surrounding design features responsible for impacts. In addition, virtually no evidence exists from the African region. This study explores the impact of Zambia's Child Grant Program on a range of maternal health utilization outcomes using a randomized design and difference-in-differences multivariate regression from data collected over 24 months from 2010 to 2012. Results indicate that while there are no measurable program impacts among the main sample, there are heterogeneous impacts on skilled attendance at birth among a sample of women residing in households having better access to maternal health services. The latter result is particularly interesting because of the overall low level of health care availability in program areas suggesting that dedicated program design or matching supply-side interventions may be necessary to leverage unconditional cash transfers in similar settings to impact maternal health.
The Relationship between Parental Presence and Child Sexual Violence: Evidence from thirteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa
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The Relationship between Parental Presence and Child Sexual Violence: Evidence from thirteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa

There are compelling reasons to believe that orphans – many millions due to the AIDS epidemic – are more likely to be sexually victimized during childhood. Few studies have empirically investigated sexual violence disparities, and those that do suffer from methodological limitations and limited geographic scope. We used nationally representative data on female adolescents (15–17 years) from 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We built multilevel logistic models to test for an association between the dependent variables (orphanhood and parental absence) and sexual violence, both within countries and pooled across all countries. Approximately 10% of adolescent girls reported past experiences of sexual violence; a third of those victimized were 14 years or younger at the time of their first forced encounter. Paternal orphaning (OR 1.36, p ≤ 0.01), double orphaning (OR 1.47, p ≤ 0.05), and paternal absence (OR 1.28; p ≤ 0.05) were significantly associated with experiencing sexual violence in pooled analyses. Fewer findings reached significance within individual countries. Our findings suggest that the lack of a father in the home (due to death or absence) places girls at heightened risk for childhood sexual abuse; further research identifying pathways of vulnerability and resilience specific to this population is needed. Our findings also indicate that abuse often starts at an early age; thus promising programs should be adapted for younger age groups and rigorously tested.
Equity and Achievement in Access to Contraceptives in East Africa between 2000 and 2010
Journal Article Journal Article

Equity and Achievement in Access to Contraceptives in East Africa between 2000 and 2010

ObjectiveTo examine trends in equity in contraceptive use, and in contraceptive-prevalence rates in six East African countries.MethodsIn this repeated cross-sectional study, Demographic and Health Surveys Program data from women aged 15–49 years in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda between 2000 and 2010 were analyzed. Individuals were ranked according to wealth quintile, stratified urban/rural populations, and calculated concentration index–a statistic integrating information from all wealth quintiles to analyze disparities.ResultsEquity and contraceptive-prevalence rates increased in most country regions over the study period. Notably, in rural Rwanda, contraceptive-prevalence rates increased from 3.9 to 44.0, and urban Kenya became the most equitable country region, with a concentration index of 0.02. The Pearson correlation coefficient between improvements in concentration index and contraceptive-prevalence rates was 0.52 (P = 0.011).ConclusionThe results indicate that countries seeking to increase contraceptive use should prioritize equity in access to services and contraceptives.
The Effect of Cash, Vouchers and Food Transfers on Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Northern Ecuador
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The Effect of Cash, Vouchers and Food Transfers on Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Northern Ecuador

Using a randomized experiment in Ecuador, this study provides evidence on whether cash, vouchers, and food transfers targeted to women and intended to reduce poverty and food insecurity also affected intimate partner violence. Results indicate that transfers reduce controlling behaviors and physical and/or sexual violence by 6 to 7 percentage points. Impacts do not vary by transfer modality, which provides evidence that transfers not only have the potential to decrease violence in the short-term, but also that cash is just as effective as in-kind transfers.
The Social and Economic Impacts of Zambia's Child Grant Program
Journal Article Journal Article

The Social and Economic Impacts of Zambia's Child Grant Program

Accumulated evidence from dozens of cash transfer (CT) programs across the world suggests that there are few interventions that can match the range of impacts and cost-effectiveness of a small, predictable monetary transfer to poor families in developing countries. However, individual published impact assessments typically focus on only one program and one outcome. This article presents two-year impacts of the Zambian Government's Child Grant, an unconditional CT to families with children under age 5, across a wide range of domains including consumption, productive activity, and women and children's outcomes, making this one of the first studies to assess both protective and productive impacts of a national unconditional CT program. We show strong impacts on consumption, food security, savings, and productive activity. However, impacts in areas such as child nutritional status and schooling depend on initial conditions of the household, suggesting that cash alone is not enough to solve all constraints faced by these poor, rural households. Nevertheless, the apparent transformative effects of this program suggest that unconditional transfers in very poor settings can contribute to both protection and development outcomes.
The Way to a Man’s Heart is through his Stomach?: A mixed methods study on the causal mechanisms through which cash and in-kind food transfers decreased intimate partner violence
Journal Article Journal Article

The Way to a Man’s Heart is through his Stomach?: A mixed methods study on the causal mechanisms through which cash and in-kind food transfers decreased intimate partner violence

BackgroundIntimate partner violence (IPV) is highly prevalent and has detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of women across the world. Despite emerging evidence on the impacts of cash transfers on intimate partner violence, the pathways through which reductions in violence occur remain under-explored. A randomised controlled trial of a cash and in-kind food transfer programme on the northern border of Ecuador showed that transfers reduced physical or sexual violence by 30 %. This mixed methods study aimed to understand the pathways that led to this reduction.MethodsWe conducted a mixed methods study that combined secondary analysis from a randomised controlled trial relating to the impact of a transfer programme on IPV with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with male and female beneficiaries. A sequential analysis strategy was followed, whereby qualitative results guided the choice of variables for the quantitative analysis and qualitative insights were used to help interpret the quantitative findings.ResultsWe found qualitative and quantitative evidence that the intervention led to reductions in IPV through three pathways operating at the couple, household and individual level: i) reduced day-to-day conflict and stress in the couple; ii) improved household well-being and happiness; and iii) increased women’s decision making, self-confidence and freedom of movement. We found little evidence that any type of IPV increased as a result of the transfers.DiscussionWhile cash and in-kind transfers can be important programmatic tools for decreasing IPV, the positive effects observed in this study seem to depend on circumstances that may not exist in all settings or programmes, such as the inclusion of a training component. Moreover, the programme built upon rather than challenged traditional gender roles by targeting women as transfer beneficiaries and framing the intervention under the umbrella of food security and nutrition – domains traditionally ascribed to women.ConclusionsTransfers destined for food consumption combined with nutrition training reduced IPV among marginalised households in northern Ecuador. Evidence suggests that these reductions were realised by decreasing stress and conflict, improving household well-being, and enhancing women’s decision making, self-confidence and freedom of movement.
Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental evidence from East and Southern Africa
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Does Keeping Adolescent Girls in School Protect against Sexual Violence? Quasi-experimental evidence from East and Southern Africa

PurposeWe examine the relationship between educational attainment in adolescence on young women's lifetime experience of sexual violence in Malawi and Uganda.MethodsExposure to Universal Primary Education policies in the mid-1990s serves as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of schooling on women's subsequent experience of sexual violence using an instrumented regression discontinuity design and Demographic and Health Survey data.ResultsWe find a one-year increase in grade attainment leads to a nine-percentage point reduction (p < .05) in the probability of ever experiencing sexual violence in a sample of 1,028 Ugandan women (aged 18–29 years), an estimate which is considerably larger than observational estimates. We find no effect of grade attainment on ever experiencing sexual violence among a sample of 4,413 Malawian women (aged 19–31 years). In addition, we find no relationship between grade attainment and 12-month sexual violence in either country. Analysis of pathways indicates increased grade attainment increases literacy and experience of premarital sex in Malawi and reduces the probability of ever being married in both countries.ConclusionsKeeping girls in school results in a number of benefits for young women; however, protects against lifetime experience of sexual violence only in Uganda. It is possible that overall higher grade attainment, particularly at secondary school levels is driving this effect in Uganda. More research on this relationship is needed, as well as on effective interventions, particularly those which can be taken to scale related to enhancing the quality and quantity of education.
Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: Pathways and Impacts
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Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: Pathways and Impacts

Childhood malnutrition remains a significant global problem, with an estimated 162 million children under the age of five suffering from stunted growth. This article examines the extent to which cash transfer programmes can improve child nutrition. It adopts a framework that captures and explains the pathways and determinants of child nutrition. The framework is then used to organize and discuss relevant evidence from the impact evaluation literature, focusing on impact pathways and new and emerging findings from sub-Saharan Africa to identify critical elements that determine child nutrition outcomes as well as knowledge gaps requiring further research, such as children's dietary diversity, caregiver behaviours and stress.
Investments in children’s health and the Kenyan cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children: evidence from an unconditional cash transfer scheme
Journal Article Journal Article

Investments in children’s health and the Kenyan cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children: evidence from an unconditional cash transfer scheme

Child mortality is one of the most pressing global health and policy issues in the developing world. The leading drivers of death—pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria—are preventable and treatable. However, these illnesses are exacerbated by a lack of accessible nutrition, water, basic and preventive health services, and sanitary living conditions—all factors which are more likely to disproportionately impact the poor. We examine whether Kenya’s largest social protection impacts children’s incidence of upper respiratory illness. The Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children was designed to support orphans affected by HIV/AIDS and has covered over 240,000 households as of 2014. Using longitudinal, cluster-randomized program data from 2007 to 2009, we run a generalized linear latent and mixed method estimation model on a sample of children 0–7 years and under-5 years of age. We find that the program is associated with a decrease in illness in children 0–7 years of age (P < 0.05), but found no effects on a stratified sample of under-5 children. Furthermore, no impacts on health care seeking in the event of illness were detected. This study is one of few examining children’s health using data from a large scale unconditional cash transfer program. With the widespread adoption of over 123 cash transfer programs across sub-Saharan Africa, these findings suggest social cash transfer programs are capable of promoting the multidimensional well-being for the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries
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Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries

As many as one billion children experience violence every year, and household- and community-level poverty are among the risk factors for child protection violations. Social safety nets (SSNs) are a main policy tool to address poverty and vulnerability, and there is substantial evidence demonstrating positive effects on children’s health and human capital. This paper reviews evidence and develops a framework to understand linkages between non-contributory SSNs and the experience of childhood emotional, physical and sexual violence in low- and middle-income countries. We catalogue 14 rigorous impact evaluations, 11 of which are completed, analysing 57 unique impacts on diverse violence indicators. Among these impacts, approximately one in five represent statistically significant protective effects on childhood violence. Promising evidence relates to sexual violence among female adolescents in Africa, while there is less clear evidence of significant impacts in other parts of the developing world, and on young child measures, including violent discipline. Further, few studies are set up to meaningfully unpack mechanisms between SSNs and childhood violence; however, those most commonly hypothesized operate at the household level (through increases in economic security and reductions in poverty-related stress), the interpersonal level (improved parental behaviours, caregiving practices, improved psychosocial well-being) and at the child-level (protective education and decreases in problem or risky behaviours). It is important to emphasize that traditional SSNs are never designed with violence prevention as primary objectives, and thus should not be considered as standalone interventions to reduce risks for childhood violence. However, SSNs, particularly within integrated protection systems, appear to have potential to reduce violence risk. Linkages between SSNs and childhood violence are understudied, and investments should be made to close this evidence gap.
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program
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Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program

The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programs in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programs at scale in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged zero to five. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered-randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners stratified on marital status and program participation. Our study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole or joint decisions (across five out of nine domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases in the number of decision domains a woman is involved in, on average by 0.34 (or a 6% increase over a baseline mean of 5.3). Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer increased financial empowerment as they were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. We highlight methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision making as the primary indicator to measure empowerment. Results show potential for unconditional cash transfer programs to improve the financial and intrahousehold status of female beneficiaries, however it is likely additional design components are need for transformational change.
Time Discounting and Credit Market Access in a Large-Scale Cash Transfer Programme
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Time Discounting and Credit Market Access in a Large-Scale Cash Transfer Programme

Time discounting is thought to influence decision-making in almost every sphere of life, including personal finances, diet, exercise and sexual behaviour. In this article, we provide evidence on whether a national poverty alleviation programme in Kenya can affect inter-temporal decisions. We administered a preferences module as part of a large-scale impact evaluation of the Kenyan Government's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Four years into the programme, we find that individuals in the treatment group are only marginally more likely to wait for future money, due in part to the erosion of the value of the transfer by inflation. However, among the poorest households for whom the value of transfer is still relatively large we find significant programme effects on the propensity to wait. We also find strong programme effects among those who have access to credit markets though the programme itself does not improve access to credit.
How does a national poverty programme influence sexual debut among Kenyan adolescents?
Journal Article Journal Article

How does a national poverty programme influence sexual debut among Kenyan adolescents?

Cash transfer programmes have recently emerged as promising interventions for HIV prevention among adolescents in Africa. However, the pathways through which risk reduction occurs are not well understood. We examine data on 1429 adolescents and youth from the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, which has been shown to result in delayed sexual debut among adolescents. We explored three potential mediating pathways: schooling, socio-economic status and psycho-social status. None of these hypothesised mediators greatly altered the main effect. However, school attendance had a larger protective effect on sexual debut among females but was only increased by the programme among males. This gendered pattern of effects may explain why we did not see a mediating effect of the cash transfer through schooling, despite schooling's protective effects against early sexual debut. Results also suggest that cash transfer programmes in Africa can contribute to the reduction of HIV related risk behaviours.
Unconditional government social cash transfer in Africa does not increase fertility
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Unconditional government social cash transfer in Africa does not increase fertility

Among policymakers, a common perception surrounding the effects of cash transfer programmes, particularly unconditional programmes targeted to families with children, is that they induce increased fertility. We evaluate the Zambian Child Grant Programme, a government unconditional cash transfer targeted to families with a child under the age of 5 and examine impacts on fertility and household composition. The evaluation was a cluster randomized control trial, with data collected over 4 years from 2010 to 2014. Our results indicate that there are no programme impacts on overall fertility. Our results contribute to a small evidence base demonstrating that there are no unintended incentives related to fertility due to cash transfers.
The impact of Zambia’s unconditional child grant on schooling and work: results from a large-scale social experiment
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The impact of Zambia’s unconditional child grant on schooling and work: results from a large-scale social experiment

This article reports on the impact on child schooling and work of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer programme targeted to households with children under age 3 years in three districts of the country. Although the CGP’s focus is on very young children, we look to see if the programme has impacts on older children who are not the explicit target group. We use data from a large-scale social experiment involving 2519 households, half of whom were randomised out to a delayed-entry control group, that was implemented to assess the impact of the programme. We find that the CGP has no discernible impact on school enrolment of children age 7–14. However, when we break the sample by older (11–14) and younger (7–10) children – based on the grade structure of the Zambian schooling system – we find a significant impact among children age 11–14, which coincides with the exact age range where a sharp drop-out begins to occur in Zambia with point estimates in the range of 7–8 percentage points. Finally, we provide evidence on the potential pathways through which the unconditional cash transfer impacts on enrolment. Households in the CGP spend more on education, and in particular on uniforms and shoes, two items cited as key barriers to school enrolment in study areas.
Social networks, social participation, and health among youth living in extreme poverty in rural Malawi
Journal Article Journal Article

Social networks, social participation, and health among youth living in extreme poverty in rural Malawi

Extensive research documents that social network characteristics affect health, but knowledge of peer networks of youth in Malawi and sub-Saharan Africa is limited. We examine the networks and social participation of youth living in extreme poverty in rural Malawi, using in-depth interviews with 32 youth and caregivers. We describe youth's peer networks and assess how gender and the context of extreme poverty influence their networks and participation, and how their networks influence health. In-school youth had larger, more interactive, and more supportive networks than out-of-school youth, and girls described less social participation and more isolation than boys. Youth exchanged social support and influence within their networks that helped cope with poverty-induced stress and sadness, and encouraged protective sexual health practices. However, poverty hampered their involvement in school, religious schools, and community organizations, directly by denying them required material means, and indirectly by reducing time and emotional resources and creating shame and stigma. Poverty alleviation policy holds promise for improving youth's social wellbeing and mental and physical health by increasing their opportunities to form networks, receive social support, and experience positive influence.
Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis
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Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis

This paper explores the extent to which government-run cash transfer programs in four sub-Saharan countries affect food security and nutritional outcomes. These programs include Ghana's Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty, Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Lesotho's Child Grants Program and Zambia's Child Grant model of the Social Cash Transfer program. Our cross-country analysis highlights the importance of robust program design and implementation to achieve the intended results. We find that a relatively generous and regular and predictable transfer increases the quantity and quality of food and reduces the prevalence of food insecurity. On the other hand, a smaller, lumpy and irregular transfer does not lead to impacts on food expenditures. We complement binary treatment analysis with continuous treatment analysis to understand not only the impact of being in the program but also the variability in impacts by the extent of treatment.
Poverty and perceived stress: Evidence from two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia
Journal Article Journal Article

Poverty and perceived stress: Evidence from two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia

IntroductionPoverty is a chronic stressor that can lead to poor physical and mental health. This study examines whether two similar government poverty alleviation programs reduced the levels of perceived stress and poverty among poor households in Zambia.MethodSecondary data from two cluster randomized controlled trials were used to evaluate the impacts of two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia. Participants were interviewed at baseline and followed over 36 months. Perceived stress among female caregivers was assessed using the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Poverty indicators assessed included per capita expenditure, household food security, and (nonproductive) asset ownership. Fixed effects and ordinary least squares regressions were run, controlling for age, education, marital status, household demographics, location, and poverty status at baseline.ResultsCash transfers did not reduce perceived stress but improved economic security (per capita consumption expenditure, food insecurity, and asset ownership). Among these poverty indicators, only food insecurity was associated with perceived stress. Age and education showed no consistent association with stress, whereas death of a household member was associated with higher stress levels.ConclusionIn this setting, perceived stress was not reduced by a positive income shock but was correlated with food insecurity and household deaths, suggesting that food security is an important stressor in this context. Although the program did reduce food insecurity, the size of the reduction was not enough to generate a statistically significant change in stress levels. The measure used in this study appears not to be correlated with characteristics to which it has been linked in other settings, and thus, further research is needed to examine whether this widely used perceived stress measure appropriately captures the concept of perceived stress in this population.

News & Commentary

Dakar Transfer Project Workshop: The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa
Article Article

Dakar Transfer Project Workshop: The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa

(23 May 2017) There is more evidence now than ever before that cash transfers can empower families to improve their lives. In Africa, cash transfers are rapidly expanding as a key social protection tool for reducing chronic poverty and hunger and increasing investment in human capital. After nearly a decade, policymakers, researchers and staff from UN Agencies and NGOs will come together next month in Dakar, Senegal to discuss the evidence, share their experiences and look to new ways forward. The 2017 workshop, “The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa,” will take place from June 7-9, for the first time hosted in Francophone West Africa. The nearly 125 participants from 30 countries across the African region and beyond will gather with the objectives of: Increasing awareness of cross-regional evidenceIdentifying gaps for future researchMaking evidence-based recommendations for governments to improve design, implementation and integration of cash transfer programmes.The workshop comes on the heels of a recently published book highlighting the Transfer Project experience of social protection stakeholders working together to improve cash transfers. The authors reveal that one of the key components of successful cash transfers in Africa has been the transparency of knowledge sharing that occurs in the region – the upcoming workshop reinforces the strong collaboration among policymakers, development partners and researchers as they work together to improve policy, implementation and evaluation. Participants joining this year’s workshop will share the most up-to-date evidence on social, economic and productive impacts, continue to dispel myths, and address current challenges. In addition, it will feature presentations on innovative topics around targeting, fragile settings, mobile payments and local economy impacts, challenging participants to think more creatively about the next generation of programming and evaluation potential. George Okech, FAO Representative, ZambiaThe Dakar meeting happens at a strategic time when social protection initiatives – especially cash transfers – continue to gain steam throughout the world. Giving cash has been shown as an effective strategy in developing contexts and is being scaled-up in humanitarian and fragile settings. Additionally, albeit controversially, governments are experimenting with the idea of providing a universal basic income in industrialized countries as well.By taking the opportunity to debate, discuss and reflect on topics such as “cash plus” and others, stakeholders will advance their knowledge, be more equipped to make evidence-informed decisions and improve the implementation and the scale-up of social protection strategies. The Transfer Project offers just one example of a platform that provides space for honest discussions about the successes and challenges of cash transfers, while pushing the boundaries to explore alternative large-scale options that hold potential for being effective. By providing participants with practical and actionable recommendations, the workshop demonstrates how experts can come together to effectively exchange information and work on research uptake to improve the lives of children and their families and contribute to the realization of global development goals.However, experts will tell you that giving cash is not a “silver bullet” - it is one tool in a social protection package. One of the many topics that will discussed is the latest research on the potential of linking cash to services in the social, health and agricultural sectors, for example. These more comprehensive social protection packages being initiated by governments are known as “cash plus” interventions. As George Okech, FAO Representative in Zambia, describes: "We have realized that there are (anti-poverty) programmes that run parallel. If two different programmes are targeting the same community and they talk to one another, you get more benefits. So, these are things that can be improved; that’s why we need to have some coordination efforts…linking two or three programmes together (can have) a catalytic effect.” As social protection initiatives evolve, researchers will need to investigate how and to what extent cash plus programmes have greater effects than programmes operating separately in the most vulnerable communities. 2016 Transfer Project Workshop Participants, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaStay tuned for more information on the exciting activities in Dakar! Follow the event on social media: #TPDakar17 You can also view highlights from the 2016 workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti Youtube Channel: In English or in French.Since 2008, UNICEF has partnered with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Save the Children UK through the Transfer Project to gather rigorous evidence on national cash transfers throughout the region.
The Transfer Project international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Article Article

The Transfer Project international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

(23 February 2016) With increasing global attention on social protection and cash transfer programmes, Innocenti’s major strategic partner, the Transfer Project, will convene an important international workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this April. The meeting will bring together national governments, research institutions and international organizations to discuss latest developments on cash transfer programmes in Africa. Since 2008, the Transfer Project has accumulated a critical mass of evidence on the multiple impacts of government run, cash transfers in Africa. Many governments have scaled-up programmes, raising important new questions on policy and implementation. By bringing together stakeholders to share in-depth experiences, the Transfer Project workshop will provide an unusual opportunity to discuss lessons learned and look at new ways for moving forward. The 6th – 8th April 2016 workshop will enter a new frontier for the Transfer Project, with the scope of topics and geographic focus broader than years before. Past events have been dedicated to cash transfer policy, implementation and evaluation; but this year, sessions will also cover programme designs that link cash to additional essential social services, known as “social protection plus” or “cash-plus” models. Discussions will be held on planned or initial impact evaluations, as well as emerging findings, methodological gaps and unanswered questions around cash-plus livelihoods, agriculture interventions and nutrition. This is also the first year the workshop will highlight case studies and cash transfer evaluation experiences from Asia. The UNICEF Ethiopia Country Office will host the event, with Transfer Project partners from across UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Save the Children UK and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill leading various sessions. Among the approximately 50 invited participants include government partners implementing and evaluating cash transfer programmes, and other social protection experts from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies.For more information on the workshop results, and to access agenda and presentations go to the Transfer Project website: https://transfer.cpc.unc.edu/ (click here to access past meetings and events).For the most up-to-date information on Transfer Project research and the workshop, be sure to follow on Twitter @TransferProjct and Facebook www.facebook.com/TransferProject  
Ideology or evidence? What does research tell us about common perceptions of cash transfers?
Article Article

Ideology or evidence? What does research tell us about common perceptions of cash transfers?

(6 June 2017) A new UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper, Mythbusting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers in Africa, summarizes evidence on six common assumptions about cash transfer programmes in Africa. The paper uses data from eight in-depth evaluations conducted on large government-run unconditional cash transfer projects in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. The arguments supporting unconditional cash transfer programming for poor households in developing countries are numerous. Evidence shows cash transfers are effective in reducing poverty and also have widespread social and economic benefits – often larger than traditional forms of development assistance. An increasing body of evidence also shows that cash transfers may provide protection during humanitarian crises, as reflected in the high-level commitments at the World Humanitarian Summit, and the Grand Bargain.Despite their widening application, and growing robust evaluation-evidence base, some skeptical policymakers cite anecdotal evidence that cash is wasted or mis-used. Others claim that beneficiaries use cash to purchase alcohol or tobacco, or that cash transfers create dependency or make beneficiaries lazy. Doubts have also been expressed regarding the cost of financing such programmes, along with fears that beneficiary households will decide to increase fertility in an effort to qualify for benefits (particularly in child-grant models).According to the Transfer Project: “These narratives influence public perception of cash transfers and can play an important role in the political and social acceptability of financing, piloting and scaling up such programmes. What does the evidence say about these and other perceptions and claims around cash transfers? Are these anecdotes actually representative of systematic behaviour by programme recipients within large-scale, representative surveys?”Making use of data drawn from eight rigorous evaluations on large-scale government unconditional cash transfer in sub-Saharan Africa, conducted by the Transfer Project, the new working paper summarizes evidence on six common perceptions about cash transfer programmes targeted to poor and vulnerable households. Namely that cash transfers:  Induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco;Are fully consumed (rather than invested);  Create dependency (reduce participation in productive work); Increase fertility; Lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation); and Are fiscally unsustainable. “We present evidence refuting each of these claims. We complement our evidence with summaries of other review papers and prominent literature, which has examined these questions, both in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude that these perceptions are myths, and that they present a distorted picture of the potential benefits of these programmes,” say the authors of the new UNICEF Innocenti ‘Mythbusting’ working paper. Since such mis-perceptions often affect policy debates, they can unjustifiably limit the range of policy options low- and middle-income country governments have at their disposal to accelerate poverty reduction. The paper concludes by suggesting areas for future research on topics that are insufficiently studied, and calls for stakeholders to keep in mind the growing evidence base when informing programming and resource allocation, instead of relying on dated studies with little applicability to current programming, as well as on anecdotes, opinion or speculation. Efforts are required by all actors to ensure that ideology does not outweigh evidence. 

Events

COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis
Event Event

COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis

Time is fast ticking for a looming debt crisis that threatens to decimate decades of progress for children.The debt crisis is likely to hit two-thirds of the world’s population. Even before the pandemic 1 in 8 countries spent more on debt than on education, health and social spending combined. And African countries are already spending three times more on debt repayments to banks and private lenders than it would cost to vaccinate the entire continent against Covid-19.So how can this ticking time bomb be defused?To coincide with the release of an important policy brief from UNICEF on the debt crisis, Leading Minds will ask the expert panelists:How do we stop mortgaging children’s futures?Can debt relief measures turn this tide?
Gender-responsive social protection in times of COVID-19
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Gender-responsive social protection in times of COVID-19

UNICEF Innocenti hosted a roundtable discussion on gender-responsive social protection during COVID-19 at socialprotection.org's 2020 e-conference.
How do national social protection strategies and programmes integrate gender considerations?
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How do national social protection strategies and programmes integrate gender considerations?

Elena Camilletti and Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed presented "How do national social protection strategies and programmes integrate gender considerations? Evidence from low- and middle income countries" at socialprotection.org's e-conference.

Project team

Dominic Richardson

UNICEF Innocenti

Kaku Attah Damoah

UNICEF Innocenti

Maja Gavrilovic

UNICEF Innocenti

Valeria Groppo

UNICEF Innocenti

Lusajo Kajula

UNICEF Innocenti

Luisa Natali

UNICEF Innocenti

Frank Otchere

UNICEF Innocenti

Amber Peterman

UNICEF Innocenti

Nyasha Tirivayi

UNICEF Innocenti

Francesca Viola

UNICEF Innocenti

Jennifer Waidler

UNICEF Innocenti

Partners

Videos

Research watch

Social Protection in Emergency Situations

Conferences & Meetings

The Transfer Project Workshop 2016

The State of Evidence on Social Cash Transfers in Africa

Social Protection “Plus” Workshop

Researchers and Policy-Makers Discuss Evidence for Social Protection Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa

Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable

strengthening social protection programmes in Ghana

Related

Innocenti Project(s) 2016-2021:

Cash Plus

Child labour

Child labour and education in India and Bangladesh

Child labour and social protection in Africa

PROJECTS ARCHIVE

Books

From Evidence to Action: The Story of Cash Transfers and Impact Evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Blogs

Cash support: a new tool to decrease Intimate Partner Violence?

Mind the gender gap: How can a gender-norm lens improve social protection outcomes for adolescents?

No Lost Generation: Cash transfers for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon

Opening the black box: Cash transfers and post-intervention research

Measuring taboo topics: List randomization for research on gender-based violence

Journal articles

More evidence on the relationship between cash transfers and child height

Beyond internal validity: Towards a broader understanding of credibility in development policy research

Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility & forced Displacement: Introduction to a special issue

Economic Transfers and Social Cohesion in a Refugee-Hosting Setting

No Lost Generation: Supporting the School Participation of Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon

Linking Social Rights to Active Citizenship for the Most Vulnerable: the Role of Rights and Accountability in the ‘Making’ and ‘Shaping’ of Social Protection

Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia

Impact evaluation of a social protection programme paired with fee waivers on enrolment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

Perspectives of adolescent and young adults on poverty-related stressors: a qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania

Government of Malawi's Unconditional Cash Transfer Improves Youth Mental Health

Cash Transfers, Early Marriage, and Fertility in Malawi and Zambia

What's new

Researchers & Policy-Makers Discuss Evidence for Social Protection Policies in sub-Saharan Africa

Workshop on Evidence on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement

When Cash Alone is Not Enough: The transformative power of cash plus programmes

Social protection shows potential to promote active citizenship

External website

The Transfer Project