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Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC)

Year Programme Began:2004
Implementing Ministry:Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Children's Services
Target Group:Poor households with OVC
Conditions:None
Approximate Reach (as of 2015):250,000 households

The Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC) is the government’s flagship social protection programme, implemented by the Children’s Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, reaching approximately 240,000 households nationwide as of 2014. In response to a concern for the welfare of OVC, particularly AIDS orphans, the Government of Kenya, with technical and financial assistance from UNICEF, designed and began implementing a pilot program in 2004. After this successful demonstration period, the CT-OVC was formally approved by Cabinet, and integrated into the national budget.

The objective of the programme is to provide regular cash transfers to ultra-poor households living with OVC to encourage fostering and retention of children and to promote their human capital development. Eligible households receive a flat monthly transfer of 2000 Kenyan shillings (approximately USD $21), adjusted up from 1500 in 2011-2012 to account for inflation. An OVC is defined as a household resident between 0 to17 years old with at least one deceased or chronically ill parent, or whose main caregiver is chronically ill. Beneficiary households are informed that the care and protection of the resident OVC is their responsibility for receiving the cash payment, however there are no punitive sanctions for noncompliance with this responsibility (the transfer is unconditional).

Type Title Theme(s) Year Citation
Dataset Kenya: Cash Transfer for Orphan and Vulnerable Children Impact Evaluation: Core Files Kenya: Cash Transfer for Orphan and Vulnerable Children Impact Evaluation: Core Files
Dataset Kenya: Cash Transfer for Orphan and Vulnerable Children Impact Evaluation: Young Person's Module Kenya: Cash Transfer for Orphan and Vulnerable Children Impact Evaluation: Young Person's Module
Journal Article Asfaw S, Davis B, Dewbre J, Handa S andWinters P. (2014).Cash transfer programme, productive activities and labour supply: Evidence from randomized experiment in Kenya,Journal of Development Studies,50(8): 1172-1196. Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2014 Asfaw S, Davis B, Dewbre J, Handa S andWinters P. (2014).Cash transfer programme, productive activities and labour supply: Evidence from randomized experiment in Kenya,Journal of Development Studies,50(8): 1172-1196.
Journal Article Targeting effectiveness of social cash transfer programmes in three African countries Programme Evaluation and Design 2012

Handa S, Huang C, Hypher N, Teixeira, Soares FV and Davis B. (2012).Targeting effectiveness of social cash transfer programmes in three African countries.Journal of Development Effectiveness 4(1): 78-108.

Journal Article Effects of a large-scale Unconditional Cash Transfer Program on Mental Health Outcomes of Young People in Kenya Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2016

Kilburn K, Thirumurthy H, Halpern CT, Pettifor A and Handa S. (2016).Effects of a large-scale Unconditional Cash Transfer Program on Mental Health Outcomes of Young People in Kenya,Journal of Adolescent Health,58(2): 223-229.

Journal Article How does a national poverty program influence sexual debut among Kenyan adolescents? Adolescents; Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2016

Handa S, Palermo T, Rosenberg M, Pettifor A, Tucker Halpern C and Thirumurthy H. (2016). How does a national poverty program influence sexual debut among Kenyan adolescents? Global Public Health, 5: 617-638.

Article Impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on early pregnancy and marriage of adolescent girls Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2015

Handa S, Peterman A, Huang C, Halpern C, Pettifor A,and Thirumurthy, H. (2015). “Impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on early pregnancy and marriage of adolescent girls”. Social Science & Medicine, Sep; 141:36-45.

Journal Article The Government of Kenya's Cash Transfer Program Reduces the Risk of Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25 Adolescents; Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2014

Handa S, Halpern C, Pettifor A andThirumurthy H. (2014).The Government of Kenya’s Cash Transfer Program Reduces the Risk of Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25,PLOS ONE 9(1): 1-9.

Journal Article Rosenberg M, Pettifor A, Thirumurthy H, Halpern CT and Handa S. (2014).The Impact of a National Poverty Reduction Program on the Characteristics of Sex Partners Among Kenyan Adolescents,AIDS and Behavior, 18(2): 311-316. Adolescents 2014 Rosenberg M, Pettifor A, Thirumurthy H, Halpern CT and Handa S. (2014).The Impact of a National Poverty Reduction Program on the Characteristics of Sex Partners Among Kenyan Adolescents,AIDS and Behavior, 18(2): 311-316.
Journal Article The Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012).The impact of Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on human capital.Journal of Development Effectiveness 4(1): 38-49. Adolescents 2012 The Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012).The impact of Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on human capital.Journal of Development Effectiveness 4(1): 38-49.
Working and Position Paper Agricultural Spillover Effects of Cash Transfers: What Does LEWIE Have to Say? Agricultural Spillover Effects of Cash Transfers: What Does LEWIE Have to Say?
Working and Position Paper Paying Attention to Detail: How to Transfer Cash in Cash Transfers Paying Attention to Detail: How to Transfer Cash in Cash Transfers
Brief Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2016 Cook S, Neijhoft N, Palermo T and Peterman A. (2016). Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-02 Adolescents 2016

Pereira A. (2016). Cash Transfers Improve the Mental Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Innocenti Research Briefs no. 2016-02, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence.

Brief Unconditional government social cash transfers in Africa do not increase fertility Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2016

Palermo, T. and Hjelm, L. (2016). Unconditional government social cash transfers in Africa do not increase fertility. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-02. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Social cash transfers, early pregnancy and marriage in the Kenyan national cash transfer programme Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

Pereira A and Peterman A. (2015). Social cash transfers, early pregnancy and marriage in the Kenyan national cash transfer programme. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti Research Brief 2015-05, Florence.

Brief Measuring Health and Well-being of Young People in the Transfer Project Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

Palermo T. (2015). Measuring Health and Well-being of Young People in the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-03. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Measurement of Interpersonal Violence in National Social Cash Transfer Evaluations. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-02. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill 2015 Palermo T. (2015). Measurement of Interpersonal Violence in National Social Cash Transfer Evaluations. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-02. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Brief Social Protection Programmes Contribute to HIV Prevention Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

EPRI/ UNICEF. (2015). Social Protection Programmes Contribute to HIV Prevention.

Brief Kenya Cash Transfer Program Delays Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25 Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2013

The Transfer Project Team. (2013). Kenya Cash Transfer Program Delays Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25. Transfer Project Research Brief 2013-03. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Does the Unconditional Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children have Impacts on Schooling? IPC-UNDP Research Brief Education and Child Labour 2012 Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012). Does the Unconditional Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children have Impacts on Schooling? IPC-UNDP Research Brief.
Brief Does Community-Based Targeting Really Work in Cash Transfer Programmes in Africa? Programme Evaluation and Design 2012

Hypher N and Veras F. (2012). Does Community-Based Targeting Really Work in Cash Transfer Programmes in Africa?IPC-UNDP Research Brief.

Brief Do Cash Transfers Change Household Consumption Preferences? Evidence from an Unconditional Cash Transfer in Kenya Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2012

Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012). Do Cash Transfers Change Household Consumption Preferences? Evidence from an Unconditional Cash Transfer in Kenya. IPC-UNDP Research Brief.

Journal Article Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298 2018 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T, Yablonski J on behalf of the Transfer Project (2018). Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298.
Journal Article The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2017

Fisher E, Attah R, Barca V, O’Brien C, Brook S, Holland J, Kardan A, Pavanello S and Pozarny P. (2017). The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries. World Development, 99: 299-319.

Journal Article Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2017

Peterman A, Neijhoft A, Cook S and Palermo T. (2017). Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries. Health Policy and Planning: 1-23.

Working and Position Paper Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2017 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T and Yablonski J. (2017). Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief The impact of cash transfers on food security Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Hjelm L. (2016). The impact of cash transfers on food security. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2014

Davis B and Handa S. (2014). The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity. Transfer Project Research Brief. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2013

Plavgo I, de Milliano M and Handa S. (2013).The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Transfer Project Research Brief 2013-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief Programme Evaluation and Design 2012 Davis B, Gaarder M, Handa S and Yablonski J. (2012). Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief.
Journal Article Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2016

Attah R, Barca V, Kardan K, MacAuslan I, Merttens F andPellerano L. (2016). Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Journal of Development Studies, 52(8).

Journal Article Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Daidone S, Ruvalcaba MA, Prifti E, Handa S, Davis B, Niang O, Pellerano L, Quarles van Ufford P and Seidenfeld D. (2016).Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis. Global Food Security, 11: 72-83.

Journal Article Is Graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa Poverty Reduction and Food Security; Resilience and Productive Impacts 2015

Daidone, S, Pellerano, L, Handa, S and Davis, B. (2015),Is Graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. IDS Bulletin, 46:93102. doi:10.1111/1759-5436.12132

Brief Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05 Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2016

Palermo, T.(2016). Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2015

Davis B and Handa S. (2015). How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-09. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The Impact of Social Cash Transfers on Schooling in Africa: An Update from the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-01 Education and Child Labour 2015

Handa S and de Milliano M. (2015). The Impact of Social Cash Transfers on Schooling in Africa: An Update from the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Journal Article A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low- and middle-income countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2018

Buller AM, Peterman A, Ranganathan M, Bleile A, Hidrobo M and Heise L. (2018). A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low- and middle-income countries. The World Bank Research Observer, 33(2).

Journal Article Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2018

Kilburn K, Prencipe L, Hjelm L, Peterman A, Handa S and Palermo T. (2018). Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households. BMC Psychiatry, 18(201).

Journal Article Investments in children's health and the Kenyan cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children: evidence from an unconditional cash transfer scheme. Health Policy and Planning: 1-13 2017 Huang C, Singh K, Handa S, Halpern C, Pettifor A and Thirumurthy H. (2017).Investments in children's health and the Kenyan cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children: evidence from an unconditional cash transfer scheme. Health Policy and Planning: 1-13.
Journal Article Time Discounting and Credit Constraints in a Large Scale Cash Transfer Program Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Handa S, Martorano B, Halpern C, Pettifor A and Thirumurthy H. (2016). Time Discounting and Credit Constraints in a Large Scale Cash Transfer Program, Journal of African Economies, 25(3): 367-387.

Journal Article Cash transfer programme, productive activities and labour supply: Evidence from randomized experiment in Kenya. Journal of Development Studies, 50(8): 1172-1196 2014 Asfaw S, Davis B, Dewbre J, Handa A and Winters P. (2014).Cash transfer programme, productive activities and labour supply: Evidence from randomized experiment in Kenya. Journal of Development Studies, 50(8): 1172-1196.
Journal Article The Government of Kenya's Cash Transfer Program Reduces the Risk of Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25. PLOS ONE 9(1): 1-9 2014 Handa S, Halpern C, Pettifor A, Thirumurthy H. (2014).The Government of Kenya's Cash Transfer Program Reduces the Risk of Sexual Debut Among Young People Age 15-25. PLOS ONE 9(1): 1-9.
Journal Article The Impact of a National Poverty Reduction Program on the Characteristics of Sex Partners Among Kenyan Adolescents," AIDS and Behavior, 18(2): 311-316 2014 Rosenberg M, Pettifor A, Thirumurthy H, Halpern CT and Handa S. (2014).The Impact of a National Poverty Reduction Program on the Characteristics of Sex Partners Among Kenyan Adolescents," AIDS and Behavior, 18(2): 311-316.
Journal Article The Impact of the Kenya CT-OVC Program on Human Capital. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(1): 38-49, 2012 2012 Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012). The Impact of the Kenya CT-OVC Program on Human Capital. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(1): 38-49, 2012.
Journal Article The impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer Program for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on Household Spending Adolescents 2012

Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team. (2012). The impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer Program for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on Household Spending. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(10): 9-37.

Book Chapter The Cash Transfer Programme for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: The Catalyst for Cash Transfers in Kenya. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press 2016 Bosworth J, Alviar C, Corral L, Davis B, Musembi D, Mwasiaji W, Ochieng S, Pearson R, Pozarny P, Ward P and Wiseman W. (2016). The Cash Transfer Programme for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: The Catalyst for Cash Transfers in Kenya. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Working and Position Paper A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle income countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2018

Buller AM, Peterman A, Ranganathan M, Bleile A, Hidrobo M and Heise l. (2018). A mixed-method review of cash transfers and intimate partner violence in low and middle income countries. Innocenti Working Paper 2018-02. UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti. Florence, Italy.

Working and Position Paper Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme. Innocenti Working Papers No. 2014-02, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence 2014 Handa S, Martorano B, Halpern C, Pettifor A andThirumurthy H. (2014). Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme. Innocenti Working Papers No. 2014-02, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

Kenya CT-OVC Programme Evaluation

Data Collection
    Years: 2007 (baseline), 2009 (wave 2) and 2011 (wave 3)
    Sample Size: 2,759 households and approximately 15,500 individuals at baseline
    Location: Seven Districts: Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay, Suba, Nairobi, Garissa and Kwale
Evaluation Design: cluster randomized control trail (cRCT) and qualitative study
Key Partners/Implementers:

Government of Kenya

UNICEF Kenya

OPM – Oxford Policy Management (2007-2009)

UNC-CH – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Solutions Africa

FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2011)

Funders:

UNICEF

DFID – UK Department for International Development (2011)

NIH – National Institute of Health (2011)

Reports

Baseline Report (2008)

Follow-up (2010)