From manual to digital: First hand insight into Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer

How cash transfers are delivered to beneficiaries involves important policy and practical considerations. This blog presents first-hand experience of the manual distribution of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (locally known as the Mtukula Pakhomo ). Recognising the practical demands on government staff capacity explains the move towards experimenting with alternative transfer modalities: namely e-payments. However, this approach also involves pros and cons. In previous blogs , I explored how implementing cash transfers is a demanding task. This time, I will briefly describe the manual cash transfer process in Malawi, from the perspective of an observer, to provide brief insight into the extent of the task many African government’s grapple with. I then...Read more

Social accountability in social protection: Unpacking the concept

On 18th January 2018, HelpAge International and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth co-hosted the first in a three part webinar series focused on the role of social accountability in social protection . This was the first time that experts and practitioners from across the globe had been brought together to discuss this important topic. Social accountability is an approach to building accountability in which citizens are the key actors . More specifically, it refers to ‘ the extent and capacity of citizens to hold the state and service providers accountable and make them responsive to the needs of citizens and beneficiaries’ . Social accountability is important for social protection for at least three reasons: It helps ...Read more

Conditional or unconditional cash transfers? From ideology to policy dialogue

Building resilience against hunger and malnutrition in Burkina Faso, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department (ECHO) funds the NGO ACF to provide health and nutrition care as well as food assistance including cash transfers for the poorest families. Photo credit: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie
Should cash transfers be conditional or unconditional? Putting ideological views about the approach aside, policy outcomes are most often a reflection of practical limitations and political considerations. This can be said to account for the emergence of ‘soft conditions’, involving community enforcement. Conditionality Roughly speaking, social protection cash transfers can be categorised as either conditional or unconditional: Conditional cash transfers require beneficiaries to comply with specific conditions to be eligible for the transfer. These are often related to school attendance or health care. Unconditional cash transfers do not require any specific actions to be undertaken by targeted beneficiaries. The decision about whether a new programme...Read more

Lesotho’s Child Grants Programme: From donor pilot to government programme

Ten years ago, Lesotho started thinking about a child grant. While initially designed and funded with support of the European Union (EU) and UNICEF, today, it is a nationally owned and funded programme . This blog examines the strategies that facilitated this transition . Following the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis, cash transfers have spread rapidly throughout sub-Saharan Africa. One of the big questions, however, is how to turn these pilots, which were often initially funded by donors, into sustainable government programmes. Lesotho’s Child Grants Programme (CGP) is no exception to this. In this blog, I explore how the programme went from a donor-driven pilot to a government-funded programme. This transition, I believe, is highly...Read more

Cash transfers and climate change resilience in Africa

The African Development Bank is working with the Climate Investment Funds' Pilot Program for Climate Resilience in southern Mozambique (2014). Photo credit: CIF Action, Flickr
Cash transfers and resilience Social protection, particularly in the form of cash transfer programmes, are being implemented to mitigate poverty in Africa. Cash transfer programming involves providing cash or vouchers to beneficiaries instead of in-kind aid, such as clothes or food (CARE Programmes, 2017). Evidence shows that most cash transfer programmes have positive impacts on their beneficiaries (Asfaw et al., 2014; Daidone et al., 2015). While cash transfer programmes are designed to protect the effect of poverty on the poor, there is growing evidence that cash transfers can help in building resilience to climate change. This is achieved by increasing human capital, facilitating changes in economic activities by decreasing liquidity constraints, improving natural...Read more

The role of cash transfer based social assistance in eradicating poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

Woman receiving TASAF cash transfer, Arusha, Tanzania (2016). Photo credit: Ashleigh Kate Slingsby
Woman receiving TASAF cash transfer, Arusha, Tanzania (2016). Photo credit: Ashleigh Kate Slingsby World poverty One in ten people in the world lives with less than $1.90 a day, and half of the world’s extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (World Bank, 2016) . According to the World Bank, SSA is home to some 389 million people living in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty around the world has declined largely due to rapid advances in East Asia, the Pacific and South Asia – specifically in China, Indonesia and India (World Bank, 2016) . Therefore, to eradicate poverty, the focus of donors and policy practitioners needs to be on SSA. The relationship between poverty and community Data shows that the...Read more

The South African study, published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS), is the first to attempt to measure the impact of cash transfers on IPV specifically among adolescents. Girls (aged between 14 and 17) and their families were given monthly payments on the condition that they regularly attended high school. Over 2,000 girls took part in the study and their experiences were monitored over three years.


(2017) Livestream Recordings of the International Conference on Social Protection in contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement livestreamed the conference, which took place on 28 and 29 September, 2017. The event was convened by UNICEF, in partnership with the European Union, FAO, Finland, Germany, SIDA, UK aid, UNHCR, WFP and the World Bank

Agriculture will continue to generate employment in Africa over the coming decades, but opportunities should be explored beyond agriculture throughout the food chain in order to create enough jobs for young people, especially those in rural areas, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.


The objective of the mission, with dozens of national researchers, was to collect data from over 2,000 women as part of the evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme. The Child Grant Programme is an unconditional cash transfer scheme, targeted to mothers in households with a child under the age of five which provides beneficiaries a flat transfer of approximately 24 USD on a bi-monthly basis—a substantial amount, representing an increase of 27 per cent of the household’s pre-programme monthly consumption.