Zambia's Multiple Category Grant: 36-month impact report

Zambia's Multiple Category Grant: 36-month impact report

In 2011, the government of the Republic of Zambia—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)—began implementing the MCTG in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for a three-year impact evaluation of the program, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 36-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

The overall impacts at 36 months are similar in pattern and magnitude to those found in earlier rounds. Moreover, the overall impacts of the program sum to a value that is greater than the transfer size. The program was originally designed with the transfer size equal to roughly one additional meal a day for the average family for 1 month. However, this report finds that in addition to eating more meals and being more food secure, families are also improving their housing conditions, buying more livestock, buying necessities for children, reducing their debt, and investing in productive activities. Monetizing and aggregating these consumption and nonconsumption spending impacts of the MCTG gives an estimated multiplier of 1.68. In other words, each Kwacha transferred is now providing an additional 0.68, or almost 70 percent more, in terms of net benefit to the household. These multiplier effects are derived in part through increased productive activity, including diversification of income sources into off-farm wage labour, investment in livestock, and nonfarm enterprise, with the latter being managed primarily by women. The 1.68 multiplier estimate is based on program impacts and accounts for changes in the control group, thus can be entirely attributed to the MCTG.

The results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 3-year period of 2011–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions about cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption,—are not true in Zambia.

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