Impact evaluation of UNICEF’s Let Us Learn cash transfer supplement social protection component in Madagascar

Endline report

Let Us Learn


Since 2016, UNICEF has implemented with the Government of Madagascar a conditional cash-transfer programme (as part of the Let Us Learn, LUL, programme) that complemented the national social protection programme (Transfert Monétaire pour le Développement Humain, TMDH) and supported children transitioning to secondary school. An impact evaluation has been undertaken to assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impacts, coherence, and sustainability of the cash-transfer programme.
It has been found that the cash transfer led to an increase in secondary school enrolment, which varies by age and gender. Remarkably, the programme produced a 7-percentage-point increase in overall enrolment for children aged 11-14. This increase was driven entirely by girls, who were 13 percentage points more likely to enroll in school than they would have been without the cash transfer. The programme also triggered a 9-percentage-point increase in overall enrollment for children aged 15-18. This increase was driven by boys who were 13 percentage points more likely to enroll.
Moreover, the cash transfer reduced participation in paid and unpaid labour, while it increased participation in domestic work amongst children in eligible households. Children continued to engage in a variety of domestic labour activities while receiving the cash transfer, though most parents believed this did not affect children’s schooling.
Therefore, the transfer served as an incentive for households to enroll children in school and offset lost wages from child labour, but its size was likely too small for households to cover other education expenditures or to change aspects of their consumption behavior. Although the cash transfer led to improvements in quantitative measures of school enrollment and child labour amongst recipients, the evaluation was unable to measure change in other indicators of household wellbeing, such as resilience, female empowerment, or food security.
Finally, the LUL cash-transfer programme benefitted from synergies with the national social protection programme (TMDH), though there may be additional opportunities for partnerships with other national and international programmes—particularly those focused on education quality and supply-side bottlenecks in the education system.
While some informants expressed concern about the reliance on UNICEF for financing, others noted that the government had started contributing to the national social protection programmer and were more optimistic about government ownership of cash transfers as part of the national social protection strategy to reduce poverty in Madagascar and build resilience.