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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Tanzania: Tanzania Youth Study of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Impact Evaluation: Endline Report

Author: Tia Palermo (co-Principal Investigator), Flora Myamba (co-Principal Investigator, baseline), Blandina Kilama (co-Principal Investigator, endline)

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’.


The Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) is the flagship social protection programme of Tanzania and is implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF). As part of the main programme component, TASAF provides regular cash payments to participating households on a bi-monthly basis (including an unconditional base transfer and additional amounts conditional on health check-ups and children’s school attendance). Additional components of the PSSN include livelihoods training and support and a public works programme (PWP) to supplement household incomes during the lean season. In 2015, TASAF successfully implemented a massive scale-up of the PSSN from 250,000 households to over one million nationally. As of 2017, the programme had reached 1.1 million households (10.5 per cent of the population) in Tanzania.


UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti and Policy Research for Development (REPOA, Tanzania) have designed a rigorous mixed-methods impact evaluation to estimate the effects of Tanzania’s PSSN on youth wellbeing and the transition to adulthood. The study builds on learnings from the Transfer Project, a multi-organization consortium providing evidence on government-run cash transfers in Africa, with a focus on safe transitions to adulthood for youth.


The evaluation utilizes a cluster randomised control trial (RCT) design, where TASAF randomised a total of 102 villages (on the mainland and in Zanzibar) into three arms: 35 to receive the conditional cash transfer (CCT), 26 villages to receive the CCT plus PWP, and 41 villages to the control condition (delayed entry after 18 months). The youth study sample from this evaluation consists of 1,357 youth in 801 households at baseline and 1397 youth in 766 households at endline (for a total of 1751 unique individuals over the entire survey period). Additionally, the qualitative study sample consists of 17 youth who were administered in-depth interviews.

Findings and Conclusions:

The PSSN had substantial impacts on children’s schooling and time use: PSSN significantly improved children’s education outcomes, increasing school attendance for males and literacy for females.

The PSSN also influenced child participation in economic activities. Participation in livestock herding for the household during the year before the interview increased for children in recipient households, particularly for females.

The PSSN did not affect child engagement in household chores (collecting water, firewood, nuts; taking care of children, cooking, cleaning; or taking care of elderly or sick individuals) or the prevalence of child labour as defined in Tanzania’s legislation.

Turning to youth, the PSSN has increased measures of material well-being, including ownership of blankets and shoes, particularly for females. These increases in material well-being are also supported by the qualitative evidence, which indicates the transfers are being utilized for purchases which increase the living conditions and provide basic needs to households and youth.

There appear to be few quantitative impacts across a range of mental and physical wellbeing outcomes, including depressive symptoms, hope, stress, social support and self-rated health. In contrast, the PSSN has increased some measures of subjective well-being and aspirations, through increases in autonomy, and for females, self-assessed wealth and household decision making. The program appears to have increased contraceptive knowledge among females (but not males), however had no impacts on contraceptive use. In addition, there were no impacts on fertility, which supports existing evidence from the region underscoring that cash transfer programs do not increase fertility.

There is no evidence that the PSSN affected sexual behaviour, including partnership formation, risk behaviours, transactional sex and perceived HIV risk according to the quantitative data.


Results of this evaluation are expected to inform design of future iterations of the Government’s social protection and other complementary programming supporting the safe transition of Tanzanian youth. Insights from this evaluation will also enable the Government of Tanzania, TASAF, and other stakeholders such as UNICEF Tanzania and Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) to assess what other measures or interventions are necessary to improve adolescent and youth wellbeing, and how these can complement and provide synergies with the government’s institutionalized social protection strategy.

Full report in PDF

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Report information


United Rep. of Tanzania



Youth and Adolescent


Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF)

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