The Importance of Understanding and Monitoring the Effects of Cash Transfer Programmes on Child Labour and Education: Findings from Malawi

A Policy Brief

The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) has been demonstrated to have a wide range of positive effects on beneficiary households, including an expansion of household agricultural business activities. This brief summarizes the results of two studies which examine whether households rely on children to expand their agricultural businesses. The studies confirm that children support the expansion of household agricultural activities and conclude that the SCTP increases overall child engagement in economic activities. However, working hours are generally moderate and other child wellbeing indicators such as school participation and physical health improve. This suggests that the SCTP nevertheless plays a positive role in the lives of children. These findings contribute to our understanding of the impact of cash transfers on children’s wellbeing and highlight the importance of monitoring the possible impact on child labour of programmes – such as graduation strategies – that encourage the expansion of household entrepreneurial activities.