5 Minutes of Inspiration: How Cash Transfers Help Women Hold Their Heads High

5 Minutes of Inspiration: How Cash Transfers Help Women Hold Their Heads High


Women in Chad say the biggest impacts of cash transfers is that now they can hold their heads high. Learn more.

By Emily Janoch

If you ask women in Chad what they think the value is of getting cash transfers, they say, “This cash allows women to hold their heads high and feel important in their families.” It also helps them feed their families, access services, and invest in the future — 89 percent of people were satisfied with the emergency support they received.

CARE invests in women’s economic empowerment because we know that having equal access to resources, opportunities and decision-making means women can be agents of their own change and lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty. The Cash Transfers in Wadi-Fira report looks at six phases of ECHO-funded cash transfers between 2012-2016. The project spent $8 million and reached 354,000 people.

What did we accomplish?

  • Cash transfers in Chad help women feel more empowered in their communities. People have more, better food: The number of families that could cover all their food needs went up 3.3 times. The number of times people ate protein in a week doubled, and there was a 3-fold increase in families that ate enough of the right kinds of food.
  • Families graduated out of poverty: 44 percent of families in the program graduated from a precarious position to one where they could be resilient and invest in the future. Nine percent of families went from counting as extreme poor to poor.
  • People are more resilient: The number of families who had to use a negative strategy to react to shock dropped by 84 percent, down to 16 percent at the end of the program.
  • Women are more empowered: Many women said the project helped them feel more empowered. According to one woman, “Women have always depended completely on men, and with the cash transfers they could lift themselves up and become more or less autonomous.”
  • People get more services: 49 percent reported that the cash transfers helped them access basic social services.

How did we get there?

  • Provide cash transfers: The project provided cash transfers to 49,000 households (345,000 people) between 2012-2016.
  • Build transfers around what people need: 89 percent of people are satisfied with the cash transfers, and 98 percent said that the timing was right to help them.
  • Give space for people to make choices: Families spent about 58 percent of the money on food. They spend the most on food out of the first installment, and then they are able to focus a little more on other expenses, and spend 17 percent on increasing their agricultural production and 9% on health services.
  • Combine transfers with other services: The project also worked with the World Food Program to distribute nutrition supplements and include nutrition education and community-led treatment for malnutrition. Maman Lumieres — women in the community who volunteer to treat malnutrition — were able to cure 98 percent of the kids they worked with, compared to 81 percent of kids who get cured in a health center.
  • Target the poorest people: The project actively focused on getting cash transfers to the poorest of the poor, and had communities review the lists to make sure we weren’t missing anyone.

Want to learn more?

Check out the final evaluation (in French) and learn more about CARE’s work on women’s economic empowerment. Take action and call on Congress to invest in women worldwide and increase their economic rights and resources.

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