1887

Innocenti Working Papers

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF's research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Working Papers (formerly Innocenti Occasional Papers), are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues.

English

Cash for Women’s Empowerment?

A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme

The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programmes in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programmes that have gone to scale in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners, stratified on marital status and programme participation. Our study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions (across five domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases of an additional 0.34 of a decision made across nine domains on average. Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. The paper highlights methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision-making as the primary indicator to measure empowerment. Despite this, the results show potential for national, poverty-targeted, unconditional, government-run programmes in Africa, to improve the well-being of female beneficiaries.

English

Keywords: women’s empowerment, Zambia, Cash transfers, Africa
JEL: I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs; O15: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration; I25: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Economic Development
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error