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Question of the Week 1

To what extent are cash transfers effective in promoting women’s employment in Africa?

Reactions (10)

Eleásara Antunes
2016-07-6 13:51

In Mozambique the cash transfer program that promotes employment is fairly new, a pilot started in 2014. From my observation the extent to which cash transfers are effective in promoting women’s employment really depends on a number of factors, such as how it is designed, the amount of cash provided to the beneficiaries and the duration of the program and the market conditions. Nevertheless, I think that the type of intervention is relevant to improve women’s employability, especially because a significant segment of women lack the skills to be... read more »

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Ana Paula de la O Campos
2016-07-6 13:52

The shares of people living in poverty and extreme poverty have been on decline for three decades, yet the world still faces great challenges with almost one billion people considered extreme poor and another billion poor. The new SDGs calls for the eradication of extreme poverty and halving the number of the poor by 2030. This is particularly important for Africa as the continent is not advancing in poverty reduction compared to other regions. Yet, African wome... read more »

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Julie Newton
2016-07-6 13:53

In the 1990s, cash transfers were positioned as the new panacea for securing women’s empowerment. Lessons from Latin America yielded important insights for African governments and non-governmental organisations seeking to replicate and scale out many cash transfer programmes as part of a wider effort to deliver social protection. In response, there has been a plethora of studies and evaluations looking at different impacts of design features (conditionality, targeting, etc.) on the effectiveness of cash transfers on different development outc... read more »

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Elsa Alfai
2016-07-6 13:54

In countries as Mozambique cash transfers may contribute to the promotion of employment of women through their involvement in public works activities through the use of intensive manpower.

In my country, Mozambique, we are implementing the Productive Social Action Program were households headed by women are one of the most important target groups. Through the activities in this specific program, the women can be trained; they can obtain skills that give them opportunities for their social and economic inclusion in the labor market. The subsi... read more »

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Erick Nyambedha
2016-07-8 11:57

I agree with what other scholars have discovered and posted here on the impact of cash transfers on women empowerment as well as the challenges that the elderly and disabled face in terms of translating the proceeds of cash transfers to productive activities including investments. In a small anthropological study of social protection among the elderly in a small village in western Kenya, we found few cases of abuse of the elderly by either their adult sons when they receive the bi-monthly cash transfers or the local administration mainly the ch... read more »

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Reinier van Hoffen
2016-07-8 16:02

Do not expect different results with similar actions. Cash-transfer programs help when food availablity is not the problem. However, if cash-transfer programs do not go hand-in-hand with specific programs that aim to change the power-balance. Just a question that is lingering on in my mind: is the sudden availability of more cash not a reason for prices to increase?

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Jan Bade
2016-07-11 13:57

may help you understand

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Donald Kasongi
2016-07-18 10:15

Most of the on-going cash transfer programmes in Africa are conditional cash transfer to vulnerable groups , a typical example being the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) in Tanzania .Households considered to be in vulnerability are considered eligible for accessing the conditional cash transfer for covering gaps in health , education and nutrition .Despite the emerging evidence from the programme suggesting that conditional cash transfers have overall positive contribution to the resilience of households in vulnerability , it might be too ea... read more »

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Shruti Sharma, Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI)
2016-07-18 12:31

Cash Transfers impact on women's empowerment, employment and economic activity have been studied under the literature on gender and energy use; and gender and energy subsidies. There are clear linkages between energy access and gender especially regarding access to cleaner fuels like LPG, solar energy and/or  improved cook stoves. Improved access to these cleaner fuels and technology can be made through cash transfers. A new paper from Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) finds that  existing research does point to evidence that fossil fue... read more »

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2016-07-22 10:30

Dear colleagues,

Thank you all for your replies to the first question of the week. This question has been raised by the Sustainable Economic Development department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in light of the question to what extent social protection programmes should focus on cash transfers or other interventions. Based on your contributions, we have developed the following short summary to answer this question:

The wide range of answers shows the multitude of impacts that cash transfers have on women's empowerment: e.g....

Yet, as pointed out by Julie Newton, cash transfers in themselves do not change cultural or intra-household dynamics. The effectiveness of protection programmes as cash transfers therefore mostly relies on making them 'gender sensitive' and complementary towards other programmes. Moreover, to do justice to the 'leave no one behind'-agenda, cash transfers need to be focused towards areas with high poverty incidence.

Please let us know if you have knowledge to be added to this. Also, in case you want to raise further questions (such as the question raised by Erick Nyambedha) or continue the discussion, feel free to do so here.

Best regards,
the INCLUDE secretariat
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