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13 December 2016: Evidence to action: Cash transfers and impact evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Throughout the last decade, there has been an impressive rise and scale up of cash transfer programmes, particularly in African countries. These programmes tackle multiple dimensions of deprivation, help families to build resilience and break inter-generational cycles of poverty, hunger and exclusion. The success of cash transfer programmes across sub-Saharan Africa has been evaluated through rigorous research.

From Evidence to Action: The Story of Cash Transfers and Impact Evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO website) describes efforts to expand the evidence base on unconditional cash transfers in eight countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Documented results have been collected through the experience of the Transfer Project, a partnership between national governments, local research institutions, UNICEF, FAO, the University of North Carolina and Save the Children UK.

The strong collaboration among policymakers, development partners and researchers has led to an improved understanding and implementation of cash transfer programmes in Africa. These impact evaluations have influenced the wider adoption of social protection policies in the region, moving from donor-funded pilots towards the gradual expansion of domestically funded national cash transfer programmes. There is now a wealth of evidence available to policy makers that cash transfers programmes have a positive impact on children’s wellbeing.

>> Download book (FAO website)

The book provides:

  • Analysis of the role of impact evaluations and evidence informing national policies and expansion of government-run cash transfer programmes
  • In-country experiences from eight African countries
  • Summary of impacts of programmes and how they are improving families’ lives.

UNICEF’s work on social protection

UNICEF assists over 100 countries in a wide range of activities including social protection policy formulation, social protection financing, programme design and implementation, system development, as well as research, evidence generation and advocacy. Our work in this area is intended to help countries:

  • Expand coverage of social protection programmes prioritizing the most vulnerable children
  • Develop social protection systems to enhance outcomes for children and their families
  • Strengthen social protection responses in humanitarian and fragile contexts so that children and their families can cope with shocks and crises.



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