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Literature Review: Unconditional CVA ‘plus’ SBC for nutrition outcomes

26 April 2024 — By Samantha Grounds, Qundeel Khattak

Over the years, CVA has gained attention in social protection schemes to improve child nutrition outcomes. While much of the existing evidence comes from conditional cash transfers, recent evidence demonstrates a push for more unconditional CVA. Evidence shows that nutrition-sensitive cash assistance can impact child nutrition outcome via multiple pathways, for example, by first directly improving income and women’s empowerment, which in turn may result in better household food access, increased access to health and sanitation facilities, and improved childcare practices. Evidence also shows a greater impact of cash assistance on nutrition outcomes when paired with nutrition-specific interventions, such as social and behavior change (SBC) approaches. Therefore, there has been a call to combine cash assistance with tailored SBC interventions (“Cash + SBC”) in order to equip beneficiaries with relevant nutrition knowledge and skills to utilize cash assistance most effectively. And while there is a recognition of the need for cash and SBC combined approaches, evidence on the most effective SBC modalities and messages is lacking.

As such, SC conducted a literature review to gather, summarize, and assess the current evidence around unconditional Cash + Nutrition-specific SBC interventions for nutrition outcomes among children under 5 to: 1) develop key SBC activity recommendations, 2) identify areas of further research, and 3) inform SC’s approach to Cash + Nutrition SBC interventions.