Zambia’s Child Grant Program: 24-Month Impact Report
A cash grant program for households with children under five in three districts in Zambia generated positive impacts, both in terms of immediate needs of the family and children's health, and in longer term productivity. As part of a three-year impact evaluation for UNICEF, AIR has released findings from a two-year randomized control trial (RCT) study of the program.
In 2010, Zambia's government began the rollout of a Child Grant cash transfer program (CGP) to households with any child under 5 years old, providing them with 60 kwacha a month (equivalent to U.S $12). The study sought to estimate the program's two-year impact on 2,515 households in Kalabo, Kaputa and Shangombo, remote districts with Zambia’s highest rates of extreme poverty and mortality among young children.
The study found strong impacts on the well-being of children, with increases in height and weight of younger children and in meeting the needs of older children in terms of clothing and bedding. Large impacts were also found in crop and livestock production, non-farm business activity, and local economic indicators.
More specifically, among participating households:
- Seventy-six percent of increased spending by recipients went for food—the largest share, 40 percent, for cereals followed by meats, poultry and fish, which accounted for 21 percent.
- The provision of basic material necessities for children—food, shoes and clothing—rose by 33 percentage points.
- The number of cases of diarrhea among children five years old or younger fell by five percentage points.
- The volume of crops produced on farms owned by participants increased—eight percentage points for maize and four percentage points for rice.
- The overall value of agricultural commodities harvested rose by 50 percent and the number of households selling harvested crops rose by 12 percentage points.
- There was a 21 percentage point increase in the number of livestock owned, as well as a significant increase in the types and breeds of animals. Recipients sold twice as many livestock as those in the control group.
- The number of small businesses set up by recipients rose by 17 percentage points.