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Innocenti Research Briefs

Innocenti Research Briefs are a series of short papers intended to provide the latest data, analysis, methods and information on a wide range of issues affecting children. The series addresses various sub-themes in a concise and accessible format, convenient for programme managers and decision makers.

English

Exploring the Potential of Cash Transfers to Delay Early Marriage and Pregnancy among Youth in Malawi and Zambia

There is increasing interest in the potential of cash transfers to facilitate safe transitions to adulthood among vulnerable youth in low-income settings. However, little evidence exists that analyses these linkages from at-scale government-run programmes. This brief summarizes the impacts of two government-run large-scale unconditional cash transfers on outcomes of early marriage and pregnancy among youth in Malawi and Zambia after approximately three years. Results indicate limited impacts on safe transitions for both males and females. However, the programmes were successful in reducing poverty and improving schooling outcomes—two main pathways for safe transitions as reported in the literature. Research implications include the need to study transitions over longer time periods, including tracking of youth as they transition out of study households. If reducing early marriage and pregnancy is among policy makers’ primary priorities, then dedicated programming via cash plus or services specifically targeted at addressing the needs of adolescents and youth should be considered.

English

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