Zambia’s Multiple Category Targeting Grant: 24-Month Impact Report

In 2010, the government of the Republic of Zambia implemented the Child Grant cash transfer program, the results of which offer evidence that small-scale cash transfers to poor rural households with young children can stimulate economic activity while alleviating poverty. Building on this, in 2011, the Zambian government—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health—began implementing the Multiple Category Targeting Grant (MCTG) in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje.

The MCTG retained several features of the Child Grant program—recipient households in two of the country’s poorest districts received the equivalent of $12 a month, with no restrictions on spending—the MCTG was aimed at households that tended to have a “missing generation” of parents in their 30s and 40s and lots of adolescents and orphans cared for by widows and grandparents. With fewer able-bodied people to farm, such households face unique challenges.

This report presents findings from the 24-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

Report Findings

AIR was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomized controlled trial for a three-year impact evaluation of the MCTG, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Overall, the MCTG has had an impact across an impressive range of indicators covering consumption and food security as well as livelihoods and schooling. In other words, the MCTG has achieved the twin objectives of mitigating food insecurity and consumption deficits in the present, and laying the base for breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty by strengthening livelihoods and increasing human capital investment. Impacts were measured as a proportion of the baseline mean for each individual indicator and are truncated at 2 (i.e. 200 percent impact).

Overall, both programs have demonstrated impacts across a range of domains of interest to the Government of Zambia. The livelihood-related impacts appear stronger in the Child Grant Program, but it should be remembered that those households are in a better position to use the cash transfer for productive purposes because of their demographic make-up. The MCTG, meanwhile, has had larger impacts on schooling, again because of the demographic composition of MCTG households which contain more school-age children. The consumption and food security impacts are comparable—a finding that was expected given that these effects are driven by poverty and both target groups are extremely poor.