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The Impact of Social Cash Transfer Programmes on Community Dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa

23 February 2015 — By FAO

Social cash transfer programmes are on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa, building on the momentum generated by the African Union’s 2008 Social Policy Framework Plan of Action. This plan motivated member countries to develop their own social policy frameworks and to give greater priority to social protection programmes. With support from development partners, individual governments are taking up the call, formulating new social protection policies with strategies including cash transfers for the most vulnerable households. Social cash transfer programmes commonly address hunger and food insecurity; school enrolment and attendance; the health, nutrition and wellbeing of children and household members; and poverty reduction.

This brief describes key findings of a four-year research project, From Protection to Production (PtoP), which is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with UNICEF. Oxford Policy Management partnered with FAO to design and implement the qualitative field research component. The PtoP project analyzed the impact of social cash transfer programmes in seven sub-Saharan African countries: Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ethiopia and Zambia. In each country, UNICEF, DFID and FAO commissioned an analysis of social cash transfer programmes using a mixed-method approach: qualitative research, econometric analysis of quantitative evaluation data; and general equilibrium models.