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Cashing in

How cash transfers shore up Zambian households affected by HIV

Esther Schüring

Peer reviewers
  • Michelle Adato, International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Michael Samson, Economic Policy Research Institute
  • Carmen Perez-Samaniego, GIZ

Published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, May 2009 (this edition January 2011)

1 Social Cash

Evidence shows that social cash transfers (small, regular payments) are a cost-effective tool for helping needy households, promoting health and education and boosting local economies – at least, in middle- and high-income countries.

Would they work in a country with few resources? Beginning in 2004, Zambia’s Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS), with technical support from German International Cooperation (GIZ), decided to find out, by pilot-testing a variety of social cash transfer (SCT) schemes in different parts of the country. These generated valuable information on impacts as well as the feasibility and costs and benefits of SCTs as a component of the country’s Social Protection Strategy.

Early results, together with findings of independent studies of the different pilot schemes, suggest that Zambia’s social cash transfer schemes are effective in targeting and helping HIV-affected households and that SCTs can be adequately administered despite the government’s low capacity.

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