Let Us Learn Cash Transfer midline report
Impact Evaluation of UNICEF’s Let Us Learn Cash Transfer Supplement Programme in Madagascar
In late 2016, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) undertook an adolescent-focused cash transfer programme to support children’s education as they transition from primary school to secondary school. The Let Us Learn (LUL) cash transfer programme is a supplemental transfer that supports children 11 to 18 years of age to continue their enrolment in school. UNICEF designed the LUL programme in response to increasing school dropout rates beginning at roughly age 11. UNICEF Madagascar contracted the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to design and implement an impact evaluation of the programme. The purpose of the impact evaluation is to identify the programme’s effects on recipients and provide evidence to UNICEF, Ministère de la Population, de la Protection Sociale et de la Promotion de la Femme (MPPSPF), and Fonds d’Intervention pour la Développment (FID) for decision making about the programme’s future. This study estimates the impacts of the programme through a randomised experiment and assesses the effectiveness of the programme in meeting its objectives.
The Context: Madagascar has suffered from deteriorating socioeconomic conditions over the past decade. Following political instability in 2009, foreign aid became scarce and development outcomes declined. The education system is particularly lacking in Madagascar, as are other support systems for children. Less than 40% of children complete primary school, about 47% of children are chronically malnourished, and 28% are engaged in child labour (UNICEF, 2015).
Public schools provide the main education infrastructure in Madagascar. Amongst children enrolled in school, 71% attend public schools and 29% attend private schools. The Ministry of National Education oversees the four levels of public education in Madagascar. These four levels are as follows: (a) primary, (b) lower secondary, (c) upper secondary, and (d) university. Students must pass a national examination after each level of school if they want to progress to the next.
Dropout is a serious problem in Madagascar, with many children leaving school before transitioning from one level to the next. About 79% of children enrol in primary school nationwide, whereas school enrolment drops to only 27% for secondary school (UNESCO, 2015). Furthermore, grade repetition is common in Malagasy schools and is likely to cause a student to drop out (Wills, Reuter, Gudiel, Hessert, & Sewall, 2014).
This report was written by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) under contract to UNICEF Madagascar.