Final Evaluation of the DiRECT Response Emergency Cash Transfer Programme in Zambia
In the past two years (2015 and 2016), Zambia experienced relatively harsh climatic conditions characterised by disruptive rains and the negative impact of El Nino weather patterns. Districts in the southern and western regions of the country were most affected. Many farmers in the affected regions were critically food-insecure and had minimal or no personal household stocks. The affected households, dependent almost entirely on markets for food, could hardly afford it due to limited resources. The poor agricultural seasons had also seriously reduced the opportunities for the households to generate income.
With funding support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Concern Worldwide (CW) and Save the Children International (SCI) jointly designed a nine-month emergency response initiative called Direct Response Emergency Cash Transfer (DiRECT) programme. The DiRECT programme, which was designed to run between September 2016 and June 2017, provided unconditional cash transfers to affected households and also had a component of support to local markets. Beneficiary households were identified by targeting households that were food insecure and/or those with women or girls with one or more children under the age of two years.
The support to markets component was a once-off grant to retailers that were based in the programme communities, given upon completion of a business skills training. The project planned to support 25,680 beneficiary households in meeting their basic food and non-food essentials while the support to the market component targeted 200 retailers. The project was implemented in five districts—three in the Southern Province (Livingstone, Namwala and Pemba), and two in the Western Province (Limulunga and Sesheke). The purpose of the endline evaluation of the DiRECT programme was twofold: i) to assess the outcome of the unconditional emergency cash transfer project intervention against the planned results, and ii) to draw lessons from the implementation of the DiRECT programme, which could inform design and implementation of cash-based emergency response to shocks by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ).