CASH OR FOOD TRANSFERS CONTRIBUTING TO REDUCING VIOLENCE IN ECUADOR AND BANGLADESH
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The World Food Programme (WFP) economic transfer programmes were implemented in Ecuador and Bangladesh to improve economic and social outcomes, as well as reduce levels of intimate partner violence (IPV). The WFP ran the programmes in areas with high levels of food insecurity and low income with the goals of empowering women, improving women’s economic and emotional well-being, and reducing household conflict to decrease IPV. The International Food Policy Research Institute evaluated both programmes using randomised controlled trials.
The Transfer Modality Research Initiative used cash and food transfers as well as behaviour change communication strategies to reduce levels of IPV, improve household food security, and increase women’s control over resources.
Programme components were:
- Monthly cash transfers
- Rations of staple foods (rice, lentils, oil)
- A nutrition behaviour change communication intervention that consisted of weekly participatory group meetings and twice-a-month home visits by trained community nutrition workers to observe household behaviours and encourage uptake of recommended behaviours
- Monthly meetings between community leaders and programme staff to facilitate women’s participation in the programme
A randomised evaluation took place six to 10 months after the programme ended. It found, women who received a transfer (cash or food) plus the behaviour change communication intervention experienced 26 percent less physical IPV than women who received neither. The transfers also reduced poverty-related stress, and increased women’s confidence, social capital, and control over resources. Significantly, women in groups who received only cash or food showed no sustained reported reduction in IPV.
The initiative was implemented by the WFP and funded by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact them first.
The Food, Cash, and Voucher programme used economic transfers to improve nutrition and food security, increase women’s role in decision making, and reduce IPV.
Participants received six monthly transfers of one of the following: cash redeemable through ATM cards, food vouchers redeemable for a predetermined list of foods at a supermarket, or staple food rations. All participants were required to attend a monthly nutrition training.
The randomised controlled trial evaluation found the programme significantly reduced reported levels of IPV among women who received both the nutrition trainings and transfers. Other outcomes included decreased marital conflict, increased food and financial security, increased sense of well-being, and increased self-confidence among women.
The Food, Cash, and Voucher programme was implemented by the WFP and funded by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie); the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets; and an anonymous donor. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact them first.
- The ability of cash or food transfers to reduce IPV may be limited to when transfers are actively being delivered. Adding participatory group activities may help sustain the positive effects of transfers beyond the transfer programme.
- Further work must be done to identify which aspects of behaviour change communication programming are most important to sustaining violence reductions.
- Reducing day-to-day conflict due to financial stress appears to be one pathway through which transfers reduce IPV and improve family well-being.
“SOMETIMES PROBLEMS ARISE BECAUSE I AM IN NEED [OF MONEY] FOR ONE OR THE OTHER THING AND THERE IS NO MONEY AND THAT IS WHEN PROBLEMS START, THE FIGHTS…AND [TRANSFERS] HELPED US A LOT, [MY PARTNER] HAD MONEY TO BUY OTHER THINGS FOR THE HOUSE OR PAY DEBTS.”
WOMAN, AGED 35, NUEVA LOJA