Evaluating the Potential Impact of Cash Transfers on Women’s Experience of Violence and Wellbeing image


Evaluating the Potential Impact of Cash Transfers on Women’s Experience of Violence and Wellbeing


The use of cash has been exponentially increasing in recent years as a mechanism to help households meet their basic needs in emergencies.  Yet, evidence from more stable contexts suggest that cash also has the potential to influence household dynamics and (mostly positively) impact women’s experiences of violence in the home, but little is known about this relationship in more insecure settings. This study, as part of DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program, sought to explore the experiences of women when a typical humanitarian three-month-unconditional cash transfer was given to a household in an acute emergency.  The study was conducted between March 2018 through August 2018 in Raqqa Governorate, Syria, which was selected as it mirrored an acute emergency given recent influxes of internally displaced persons fleeing airstrikes in Raqqa City and the withdrawal of ISIS occupation which offered renewed access to humanitarian organizations. A mixed methods pre-post test with lifeline history interviews was implemented with approximately 500 women. While we cannot confirm causality, results show that cash was widely appreciated by women and was successful in helping them meet their basic needs, reduce food insecurity, and decrease reliance on negative coping behaviors, like going into debt or begging.  But concerning findings also emerged: between baseline and endline, intimate partner violence increased. The results highlight that it is imperative that cash programming be paired with appropriate risk mitigation measures and complementary, behaviorally-informed models need to be developed and tested to magnify the potential positive outcomes of cash for women in humanitarian settings.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.