Social cash transfers, early pregnancy and marriage in the Kenyan national cash transfer programme

According to the 2008-2009 Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey, almost a third of the women of reproductive age were married before they reached their 18th birthday, and more than 75 per cent had their first child by age 24. The role of poverty in influencing adolescent fertility has been well documented and social cash transfers (SCTs) have been recommended as a successful reduction strategy. This Research Brief examines a study comparing two groups who had and had not received unconditional cash transfers. The authors identify four factors through which such cash amounts affect adolescent well-being: increased investment in girls’ education; delay in girls’ sexual debut; improved mental health and increased aspirations for girls; and increased household economic stability.