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Evidence of impact of emergency cash transfers on gender and protection

2014 — By Evie Browne

This rapid review gathers together reports which provide evidence on the gendered and protection impacts of cash transfers (CTs) in emergency and humanitarian contexts. It aims to provide a guide to the level and type of evidence which is available, as much of the work written on this topic relies on assumptions or is not evidence-based.

This is not a comprehensive review, but an overview of the most relevant studies. There are many studies written on CTs in emergencies, and CTs and gender, but these have been excluded from this review as they do not directly speak to the nexus of these three issues. Many of the ‘CTs in emergencies’ papers reviewed for this report had no findings on gender, which indicates a research gap which should be addressed as a standard part of programme monitoring and evaluation.

This report only includes studies with a clear methodology and rigorous analysis. The 11 papers described below are mainly programme evaluations conducted either internally or by commissioned external consultants. None of the papers are published in peer-reviewed academic journals, although some papers have been internally peer-reviewed and/or are written by academic experts. The literature is therefore mostly grey and strongly based on small-scale, individual programme evaluations. These tend not to be ‘rigorous’ to the ‘gold standard’ of randomised control trials, because these are impractical and potentially unethical in humanitarian contexts (expert comments). It is difficult to produce a counter-factual case to compare results, so the most rigorous studies are those which use a case-control methodology and compare two or more different treatment groups. This is probably the highest standard that can be expected in emergency situations. Many studies use mixed-methods, often combining a household survey or baseline survey with focus group discussions and interviews. Nearly all of the evidence comes from Sub-Saharan Africa, and a large amount responds to drought and food security issues. Very often in this subject area, studies compare the use of cash against food aid, or cash-and-food.