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Social cash transfers, generational
relations and youth poverty
trajectories in rural Lesotho and
Malawi: preliminary find...
The Team
Dr Elsbeth Robson
University of Hull
Dr Nicola Ansell
Brunel University
Prof Lorraine van Blerk
University of Dun...
Background to the research
Social cash transfers (SCTs) – what do we
know?
• Address symptoms of poverty in target populations
• Consumption, nutriti...
So the research isn’t about child poverty …
• We’re interested in young adults
• We’re interested in relations of age, gen...
Theoretical perspective
• Poverty can’t be addressed just by focusing on
symptoms or isolated categories like children or
...
We are beginning to explore …
• How social cash transfer schemes impact on young adults
• How they shape young adults’ exp...
The research: settings and
methods
The research
• A three-year comparative project
• In depth case studies in two rural
settings (where the team conducted
re...
Setting 1: Malawi SCTs
Programme Target population Disbursement Starting year Scale Organisations
involved
Unconditional c...
Setting 1: Malawi field site
Nihelo
•Thyolo
District
•20 mins
walk from
Chimaliro
•14km
from main
Blantyre
road
Setting 2: Lesotho SCTs
Programme Target population Disbursement Starting year Scale Organisations
involved
Old Age Pensio...
Setting 2: Lesotho field site
• Mountain village
• Located in Maseru District
• Two hours’ walk from Marakabei
• 7km from ...
Methods
Phase 1 (2016)
• Household profiling
• Follow-up interviews with previous research participants
• Interviews with ...
Cash transfers in the villages
Cash transfers in Nihelo
Mtukula pakhomo
• 5 households
• Received 3 times in 2015
• Appears to be targeted at elderly
(wo...
Cash transfers in Ha Rantelali
Households receiving pension 8
Households receiving child grant 7
(Households receiving bot...
How do young adults experience
social cash transfers?
1. Young adults are involved
• In Ha Rantelali
• Three live in households that receive pensions
• Six live in households t...
2. SCTs can enhance self esteem
• Positive impacts of child grants on young adults in Ha Rantelali
• Don’t need to beg for...
3. But SCTs also create stigma and tensions
• Unfairness – many are poor but receive nothing
• Lack of clarity/ transparen...
4. SCTs can bring livelihood opportunities
• Income earning possibilities (Ha Rantelali)
• Collecting wood or doing washin...
5. There’s little evidence of investment in / by
young adults
• Little evidence yet in Nihelo of any substantial investmen...
Reworking social relations
Targeting: the individual, the household and
the community
• Pensions – target individuals
• Malawi’s SCTs – target househ...
Reconfiguring the household
• In Nihelo, children are moved
between households to
capture SCTs
• More are living with
gran...
Autonomy and inclusion: changing
households (Ha Rantelali)
• Pensions – perceived as appropriate as
elderly can’t work and...
Example: Sechaba’s grandmother
• Sechaba’s grandmother is a 91-year-old widow and receives a pension
• When we were profil...
Conclusion
• A relational approach to understanding the impacts of cash transfers
is crucial
• Young adults’ opportunities...
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Child Poverty Research Day: Reducing Economic Poverty - Nicola Ansell, 'Social Cash Transfers, Generational Relations and Youth Poverty Trajectories in Rural Lesotho and Malawi: Preliminary Findings'

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Child Poverty Research Day: Nicola Ansell
Institute of Development Studies, Brighton.
18th November 2016

Published in: Education
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Child Poverty Research Day: Reducing Economic Poverty - Nicola Ansell, 'Social Cash Transfers, Generational Relations and Youth Poverty Trajectories in Rural Lesotho and Malawi: Preliminary Findings'

  1. 1. Social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi: preliminary findings Nicola Ansell Brunel University London
  2. 2. The Team Dr Elsbeth Robson University of Hull Dr Nicola Ansell Brunel University Prof Lorraine van Blerk University of Dundee Dr Flora Hajdu Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Dr Evance Mwathunga Chancellor College Thandie Hlabana National University of Lesotho Roeland Hemsteede University of Dundee
  3. 3. Background to the research
  4. 4. Social cash transfers (SCTs) – what do we know? • Address symptoms of poverty in target populations • Consumption, nutrition, school enrolment, child immunisation • Evaluations have focused on direct beneficiaries • Children, elderly • What about those who don’t receive the grants? • But what about other age groups? • What about those in other households?
  5. 5. So the research isn’t about child poverty … • We’re interested in young adults • We’re interested in relations of age, gender and generation • But as children experience poverty relationally, this is important for children too
  6. 6. Theoretical perspective • Poverty can’t be addressed just by focusing on symptoms or isolated categories like children or elderly • Poverty is relational – it’s about relationships not just individuals (between ages, genders, generations) • Relationships are power-laden • (Also policy level power relations that shape the cash transfer schemes)
  7. 7. We are beginning to explore … • How social cash transfer schemes impact on young adults • How they shape young adults’ experiences of poverty • How they affect social relations of age, gender and generation • How the shape of cash transfers relates to the policy-making context
  8. 8. The research: settings and methods
  9. 9. The research • A three-year comparative project • In depth case studies in two rural settings (where the team conducted research with 10-24-year-olds in 2007/8) • Malawi – focusing mainly on the government SCT programme • Lesotho – focusing on old age pensions and child grants
  10. 10. Setting 1: Malawi SCTs Programme Target population Disbursement Starting year Scale Organisations involved Unconditional cash transfers to ultra- poor labour constrained households Ultra-poor households (those in lowest income quintile) that are labour constrained (no able bodied adults aged 19-64, or a dependency ratio higher than 3) 10% of households nationally Identified via Community Social Protection Committees Range MK1000 a month for households with one member to MK2,400 for households with four members plus MK300 (top-up for each resident aged <22 in primary school and MK600 for each resident aged <31 in secondary school 2006 (Mchinji Pilot), extended to 9 of 28 districts (including Thyolo) reaching 30,000 households by 2012. Further expansion planned, aiming to reach 300,000 households by 2015 £40m a year by 2015 (1.6% of GDP) Administration: Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare with policy oversight from Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Funding: Global Fund (2007-12), German Government, Irish Aid, EU, World Bank Technical support: UNICEF Malawi
  11. 11. Setting 1: Malawi field site Nihelo •Thyolo District •20 mins walk from Chimaliro •14km from main Blantyre road
  12. 12. Setting 2: Lesotho SCTs Programme Target population Disbursement Starting year Scale Organisations involved Old Age Pension Individuals aged over 70, except those already receiving a government pension M350 a month 2004 80,000 beneficiaries (77% of those eligible) 1.6% of GDP Administration: Ministry of Finance Funding: Lesotho Government Child Grants Programme Poor households with at least one child 22% of households in programme areas M360 a quarter for households with 1-2 children, M600 for 3- 4 children, M750 for 5+ children. 2009 (limited areas); expanded to 19,800 households and 65,000 children across all 10 districts by March 2014 Estimated M50-58m ($4m) 2014/5 (0.2% of GDP) rising to M91- 311m ($7- 25m) 2020/1 (0.2-0.8% of GDP) Administration: Ministry of Social Development Funding: EU and (from 2009) Lesotho Government Technical support: UNICEF Lesotho Public Assistance Extremely poor individuals (low awareness) M250 a month 1988 18,000 Admin: Ministry of Social Development Funder: Government
  13. 13. Setting 2: Lesotho field site • Mountain village • Located in Maseru District • Two hours’ walk from Marakabei • 7km from Thaba -Tseka road Ha Rantelali
  14. 14. Methods Phase 1 (2016) • Household profiling • Follow-up interviews with previous research participants • Interviews with members of households receiving cash transfers Phase 2 (2017) • Participatory group workshops Phase 3 (2016-17, PhD student) • Policy-focused interviews Phase 4 (2018) • Policy workshops
  15. 15. Cash transfers in the villages
  16. 16. Cash transfers in Nihelo Mtukula pakhomo • 5 households • Received 3 times in 2015 • Appears to be targeted at elderly (women) living with one or more young children, plus a household with a high dependency ratio (2 adults and 7 children) Cadecom (WFP/WB-funded) • 5 houeholds • Received Dec, Jan, Feb • Targetting is much less clear (to us and to community). Some are elderly, others appear to be able-bodied adults with 2-4 children, one is a close relative of the chief
  17. 17. Cash transfers in Ha Rantelali Households receiving pension 8 Households receiving child grant 7 (Households receiving both pension and child grant) (1) Households receiving public assistance 0 Targeting of child grants • Households with very few assets (jobs, fields and livestock) – all but one of the seven conform • But: some have changed since 2014? • There are some very poor households that don’t receive them • Selection process – some households were profiled; committee including chief, community councillor and some residents • Criteria not very transparent
  18. 18. How do young adults experience social cash transfers?
  19. 19. 1. Young adults are involved • In Ha Rantelali • Three live in households that receive pensions • Six live in households that receive child grants • Of these, five receive child grants on behalf of their own children • In Nihelo • There are relatively few young adults in recipient households • But, young people (inc children) • Are collecting cash for their relatives • May be involved in discussing spending • May be given a share of the cash or food
  20. 20. 2. SCTs can enhance self esteem • Positive impacts of child grants on young adults in Ha Rantelali • Don’t need to beg for food • Can go out and look like other people – as can their children • Can feel able to participate in the community • Focus is on their children • Feel constrained to buy uniforms (fear of Ministry inspections at school) • Some admit to spending some of the money on themselves
  21. 21. 3. But SCTs also create stigma and tensions • Unfairness – many are poor but receive nothing • Lack of clarity/ transparency regarding criteria • Causes jealousies, strained relations, stigma – “people talk about you” • Attitudes to pensions were overwhelmingly positive • Child grants were much more controversial – “Seoa holimo” = “money falling from the sky”
  22. 22. 4. SCTs can bring livelihood opportunities • Income earning possibilities (Ha Rantelali) • Collecting wood or doing washing for elderly • Joala (beer) brewing • (But most income is spent in stores in Marakabei) • Young adults may benefit even if their households don’t receive the grants
  23. 23. 5. There’s little evidence of investment in / by young adults • Little evidence yet in Nihelo of any substantial investment in young people, though they may be relieved of some obligations • Access to loans (Ha Rantelali) • Mainly elderly to elderly • Also from those with child grants: “They can’t refuse us” • Removal of responsibility • For elderly • For very vulnerable households
  24. 24. Reworking social relations
  25. 25. Targeting: the individual, the household and the community • Pensions – target individuals • Malawi’s SCTs – target households (with child-focused element) • Child grants – target children (through households) • But household isn’t bounded and isolated from others • Decision making and spending are distributed across individuals, households and wider families • In matrilineal Malawian families, for instance, people have obligations that extend beyond the nuclear family household, e.g. as uncles
  26. 26. Reconfiguring the household • In Nihelo, children are moved between households to capture SCTs • More are living with grandparents since 2007 • Some are even shared across more than one household • Children are a valued commodity in this landscape
  27. 27. Autonomy and inclusion: changing households (Ha Rantelali) • Pensions – perceived as appropriate as elderly can’t work and need to be independent • Child grants – perceived as going to people (parents) who are young and strong and should have to work for their income • So children are integral to the household; elderly are not so integral • Are pensions contributing to nuclearisation of households?
  28. 28. Example: Sechaba’s grandmother • Sechaba’s grandmother is a 91-year-old widow and receives a pension • When we were profiling the households we were told that her household remained independent, although Sechaba’s father claimed he was head to his own and his mother’s household, as he now made decisions for her. Subsequently, we were told they eat from the same pot, and both households use the grandmother’s kitchen. • Nkhono insisted her pension was her own – and she wanted to use it to pay for another granddaughter’s education – but that she also bought groceries for the two connected households. She sent her brother-in-law to collect the pension each month • Sechaba’s father felt he wasn’t trusted with the money and acknowledged it caused tensions • Sechaba’s mother said that Nkhono saw contributions to her household as loans – failing to acknowledge that she was herself eating with them and using the groceries
  29. 29. Conclusion • A relational approach to understanding the impacts of cash transfers is crucial • Young adults’ opportunities and responsibilities are shaped by their relationships with others • Children, too, experience poverty through relationships with others • SCTs impact on these relationships in ways that require further investigation

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