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Study Overview

Zambia Child Grant Programme Evaluation
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
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Last Update Date:
Study Status:

This study is an impact evaluation of a social cash transfer program implemented by the government of Zambia through Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH). The study is conducted by the UNICEF Office of Research in collaboration with the University of North Carolina (UNC) and American Institutes for Research (AIR). The Child Grant Programme (CGP) targets poor households with children under the age of 5 in selected communities in three districts. The impact evaluation aims to understand the extent to which CGP can reduce household poverty and vulnerability, with a focus on children’s health and nutrition status. The study was designed as a randomized control trial (RCT), with half of the 90 communities from the sample randomly selected to receive the cash transfer, and the other half assigned to delayed entry, serving as the control group over the course of the evaluation. Approximately 2,500 households were followed over four years, with five rounds of quantitative data collection, including baseline (2010); and follow-up surveys after 24 months(2012); 30 months(2013); 36 months (2013); and 48 months (2014).

Registration Citation:

Handa, S. and Seidenfeld, D., 2016. Zambia Child Grant Programme Evaluation. Registry for International Development for Impact Evaluations (RIDIE). Available at: 10.23846/ridie077

Health, Nutrition, and Population
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
Unconditional cash transfer, stunting, nutritional status
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Sudhanshu Handa
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Name of Second PI:
David Seidenfeld
American Institutes for Research (AIR)

Study Sponsor

Department for International Development (DFID), Irish Aid, and the Government of Finland
Study Sponsor Location:
United Kingdom

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Palm Associates
Type of Organization:
Research institute/University

Intervention Overview


The Zambia Child Grant Programme (CGP) is one of the Government of Zambia’s flagship social protection programmes. Implemented by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) in 2010, the programme provides a monthly cash transfer to participating households and targets those that are poor and have children under five years of age in three districts (Shangombo, Kalabo and Kaputa). At the time of the baseline household survey for this study in 2010, beneficiary households received 55 Kwacha (ZMK) a month (equivalent to around USD 12) independent of household size, an amount increased incrementally to 70 ZMK a month in 2015.

Theory of Change:
Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Government of Zambia, DFID, Irish Aid
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Difference in difference/fixed effects
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

The CGP impact evaluation utilizes a cluster randomized design with Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) as the unit of randomization. The MCDMCH decided to implement a randomly assigned delayed control group because it did not have sufficient resources or capacity to deliver the program to all eligible households immediately. This study includes several levels of random selection, including communities within districts and households within communities. The final study sample size for the evaluation was more than 2,500 households. Baseline data collection was conducted in Sep-Oct 2010. Followup data collection occurred 24 months, 30 months, 36 months, and 48 months after baseline data were collected. Random assignment occurred after baseline data collection was complete. Quantitative household surveys were administered to the potential female recipient at each round, in addition to community surveys, which were administered to community leaders. Health center surveys were implemented at baseline allowing researchers to consider access to health services (availability of doctors, staff, medicine) during analysis, and a business module was implemented at 24 months.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

The quantitative survey instrument was based on the program’s theory of change and measured key outcome and impact indicators (e.g. anthropometry) as well as intermediate outcomes, those that lie along the causal pathway (e.g. food consumption and diet diversity). Key outcome indicators: Nutrition outcomes (stunting, wasting, underweight), Nutrition and health inputs (preventive and curative care services, infant and young child feeding, and diet diversity), Health outcomes (morbidity), Household consumption and food consumption. Intermediate outcomes and potential modifiers: Productive livelihoods, Caregiving practices, caregiver’s knowledge, Stress and social support, Women’s agency and time use.

Unit of Analysis:
Households, children, cash transfer recipients

1. CGP will increase food security and expenditures of treatment households. 2. CGP will improve child nutrition and anthropometric outcomes. 3. CGP will have a positive impact on children’s health outcomes 4. CGP will improve food security. 5. CGP will supplement and not replace household income 6. CGP will increase the number of children enrolled in and attending primary school 7. CGP will increase the number of households owning assets such as livestock

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Number of Individuals in Sample:
2500 households
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Treatment: 1250 and Control: 1250

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:
baseline report: Zambia-CGP-Baseline.pdf
24 month follow up: Zambia-CGP-24-Mo-Report.pdf
30 month follow up: Zambia-CGP-30-Mo-Report.pdf
36 month follow up: Zambia-CGP-36-Mo-Report.pdf

Outcomes Data

Household survey includes: Roster, Education, Health, Labor, Non-farm enterprises, Women’s empowerment, savings, and future expectations, Reproductive health, Child health, Child nutrition and feeding, Housing conditions, assets, consumption, access to facilities, Subjective wellbeing, Poverty, food security, and shocks, Agricultural production, Operational Performance, Anthropometry. 84 community and health center surveys were administered to assess availability of services in the community.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Restricted -- Access requires a formal approval process
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Prior to data collection the study was submitted to IRB at AIR using Project Abstracts, Deliverables, Information, Security, and IRB application (PADII). PADII facilitates reviews of AIR projects to ensure that they comply with government requirements related to: (1) human subject research and (2) the confidentiality and integrity of personally identifiable information. The study was initially approved prior to the baseline data collection in September 2010, and has undergone 5 revisions.
Approval Status:
Yes-obtained approval and have received the data

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

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Registration Category

Registration Category:
Non-Prospective, Category 4: Data for measuring impacts have been obtained/collected by the research team and analysis for this evaluation has started

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
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Other Materials

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Description of Changes:

Study Stopped