The Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN), initiated in 2012, is the flagship social protection programme of Tanzania and is implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF). As part of the main programme component, TASAF provides regular cash payments to participating households on a bimonthly basis (including an unconditional base transfer and additional amounts conditional on health check-ups and children’s school attendance). Additional components of the PSSN include livelihoods training and support and a Public Works Program (PWP) to supplement household incomes during the lean season.
TASAF was established in 2000 as part of the Government of Tanzania’s strategy to reduce poverty. Phase I (2000–2005) focused on improving social service delivery; capacity enhancement for communities, including overseeing 1,704 community-run sub-projects such as construction and rehabilitation of health care facilities, schools and other small-scale infrastructure; and a Public Works Program (PWP) component with 113,646 direct beneficiaries. The second Phase (2005–2013) expanded the first stage commitments to address a shortage of social services, capacity enhancement (including 12,347 community sub-projects) and income poverty, including a pilot of community-based conditional cash transfers (CCT) reaching 11,576 households in communities that were strengthened during the first phase. The third phase of TASAF, the PSSN, supports a national social protection programme aimed at putting in place the building blocks of a permanent national social safety system. Key elements of this Project are the CCT programme complemented with public works and livelihoods enhancement. The programme provides cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households in Tanzania conditional on their use of health and education services along with opportunities to earn additional income through public works and livelihood. The objectives of the PSSN include: 1) increase consumption of the extremely poor on a permanent basis, 2) smooth consumption during lean seasons and shocks, 3) invest in human capital, 4) strengthen links with income generating activities, and 5) increase access to improved social services. It aims to improve consumption and human capital accumulation and to reduce the poverty headcount and poverty gap by 5 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. In 2015, TASAF successfully implemented a massive scale-up of the PSSN from 250,000 households to 1.1 million households (10.5 per cent of the population) in Tanzania.
The Transfer Project, led by UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and in collaboration with local research partners, has implemented two impact evaluations to understand how the PSSN affects the well-being of adolescents and youth, a key demographic for breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty.
The first study (2015-2017), conducted in collaboration with REPOA, is an 18-month, mixed methods study to provide evidence on the effects that the PSSN has had on youth well-being and the transition to adulthood. For the study, we conducted two waves of data collection: a baseline in August–October 2015 and an endline from March to May 2017. In both waves of data collection, quantitative and qualitative interviews were conducted with youth who were between the ages of 14 and 28 years at baseline (15–30 years at endline).
The second study (2017-2019), conducted in collaboration with Economic Development Initiatives (EDI), is a 24-month, mixed methods study to provide evidence on the potential for an additional plus component targeted to youth that is layered on top of the PSSN to improve future economic opportunities for youth and facilitate their safe transitions to adulthood. This is based on the recognition that cash alone is rarely sufficient to mitigate all risks and vulnerabilities youth face or to overcome structural barriers to education, delayed marriage and pregnancy, and other safe transitions. The model the intervention follows was informed by a workshop held in Tanzania in February 2016 with government, researchers and development partners.