Social protection to support vulnerable children and families: the potential of cash transfers to protect education, health and nutrition uri icon

abstract

  • Investing in social protection in sub-Saharan Africa has taken on a new urgency as HIV and AIDS interact with other drivers of poverty to simultaneously destabilise livelihoods systems and family and community safety nets. Cash transfer programmes already reach millions of people in South Africa, and in other countries in southern and East Africa plans are underway to reach tens and eventually hundreds of thousands more. Cash transfers worldwide have demonstrated large impacts on the education, health and nutrition of children. While the strongest evidence is from conditional cash transfer evaluations in Latin America and Asia, important results are emerging in the newer African programmes. Cash transfers can be implemented in conjunction with other services involving education, health, nutrition, social welfare and others, including those related to HIV and AIDS. HIV/AIDS-affected families are diverse with respect to household structure, ability to work and access to assets, arguing for a mix of approaches, including food assistance and income-generation programmes. However, cash transfers appear to offer the best strategy for scaling up to a national system of social protection, by reaching families who are the most capacity constrained, in large numbers, relatively quickly. These are important considerations for communities hard-hit by HIV and AIDS, given the extent and nature of deprivation, the long-term risk to human capital and the current political willingness to act.

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009
  • 2009

has subject area