Linking social protection, agriculture and food security and nutrition: diversifying production and diets

The use of Cash Transfers (CTs) in developing regions arose as the understanding grew that some other types of aid programmes were not effectively attaining their goals. For instance, emergency food aid was responding to famines, but it was unable to add to food stability. Some Sub-Saharan African countries with early experiences with cash transfers, such as Malawi, had also confronted this problem and turned to cash transfers. However, the value of cash transfers can also wear down significantly in a high inflation environment.

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Yemen’s high malnutrition rates have drawn global attention, highlighting the impact of the country’s five-and-half-year civil war on its population. Economic stimuli in the form of large cash-for-work projects, support to small businesses, and labor-intensive repairs of socio-economic assets are helping vulnerable local households and communities across Yemen.

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Cash plus helps address the limitations of cash transfers, creating long-term benefits for individuals as well as their households, and communities. For example, if given cash alone, a poor household is able to feed their family. But with Cash Plus, cash is combined with the information needed for a varied diet and better child-feeding practices. This can lead to better child health, which impacts many other areas of life.

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Evidence shows that direct payments of cash, or cash transfers, help the world’s poorest families meet their basic needs and create a wide range of benefits. But cash alone cannot end poverty. New research shows that when cash is combined with other services, like health insurance or livelihood training, the benefits of cash transfers are boosted and their impacts increase. This combination of cash transfers and complementary programmes is called “Cash Plus”, or integrated social protection.

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Brief from full report "The Gendered Dimension of Multi-Purpose Cash Supporting Disaster Resilience” extracting the specific gendered findings from a study on the impact of an EU funded project that used a “Cash Plus” approach, combining ten monthly multi-purpose cash (MPC) transfers with the rehabilitation of vital community assets and livelihoods skills support.

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