What works: lessons in the use of cash transfers

This policy paper examines the success of conditional (CCT) and non-conditional cash transfers (NCT) in reducing the risk of modern slavery, including child and forced marriage, or the worst forms of child labour. For many vulnerable families, there is no real choice between sending a child to school or putting the child to work or marrying them early to help lessen the economic burden on the family. Conditional or non-conditional cash transfers can be used as a tool to empower and protect these vulnerable individuals, households, and other groups from shocks and to mitigate vulnerabilities, such as low and variable income. This analysis is based on a set of evaluations (n=16) catalogued in the Promising Practices Database. The paper presents our observations on which practices work, which look promising, and which are ineffective. Despite some promising results, especially where cash transfers are implemented as part of a holistic program over a longer period, our analysis shows that moving this practice from ‘promising’ to ‘proven’ will require more thoughtful program design, better attention to target populations and context, and higher quality evaluations of these programs.