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Impact of Multipurpose Cash Assistance on Outcomes for Children in Lebanon

2015 — By Jillian Foster

This report examines the impact of multipurpose cash assistance (MCA) on children, specifically looking at child outcomes and child protection outcomes, in Lebanon. The impact of the Lebanon Cash Consortium MCA program was measured using a variety of indicators for shelter quality and consistency, child education, economic activity and exploitation of children, general medical and dietary health, negative coping strategies, protection issues, psychosocial wellbeing, and family separation.

The study was based on a rigorous mixed-methods design, using surveys, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions as data collection methods. The research team developed customized tools for each data collection method as well as for each target group –children and adults. Descriptive and multiple regression analyses were used to measure impact. To measure average treatment effect, the study compared results from those receiving MCA for at least three months (beneficiary) and those that previously qualified but have not received MCA to date (control).

The conceptualization, tools, and overall research design represent key contributions to research on Syrian refugees in Lebanon. This research also has implications for the humanitarian community, especially those using cash-based programming. To the knowledge of the research team, this is the first study to rigorously compare caretakers and their children who are receiving cash to those not receiving cash, and to do so in a gender-sensitive manner