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Study Overview

Zambia Multiple Category Targeting Grant Evaluation
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
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 Multiple Category Targeting Grant (MCTG), targets poor households that fit into one of a number of categories of vulnerability (e.g. an elderly headed female caring for children). The impact evaluation aims to understand the extent to which MCTG can reduce household poverty and vulnerability. The study was designed as a randomized control trial (RCT), with half of the 92 communities from the sample randomly selected to receive the cash transfer. Approximately 3,000 households have been followed over four years, with three rounds of quantitative data collection: baseline (2011); 24 month follow up (2013); and 36 month (2014).

Registration Citation:

Handa, S. and Seidenfeld, D., 2016. Zambia Multiple Category Targeting Grant Evaluation. Registry for International Development for Impact Evaluations (RIDIE). Available at: 10.23846/ridie078

Health, Nutrition, and Population
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
Unconditional cash transfer, social protection, food security, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC)
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 MCTG provides a monthly cash transfer to participating households and targets those that meet any of the following conditions: 1) A female-headed household keeping orphans; 2)A household with a disabled member; 3) An elderly-headed household (over 60 years old) keeping orphans; 4) A special case: this category is for cases that are critical but do not qualify under the other categories; for example, a household of two elderly people who are unable to look after themselves. At the time of the baseline household survey for this study in 2011, beneficiary households received 60 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 MCTG impact evaluation relies on a randomized design using communities designated by 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 was more than 3,000 households. The baseline data collection was conducted in September-October 2011. Follow up data collection occurred 24 months and 36 months after baseline data were collected. Random assignment occurred after the baseline data collection was complete. Quantitative household surveys were administered to the potential female recipient at each round of data collection, in addition to community surveys which were administered to community leaders.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

The quantitative survey instrument was based on the program’s theory of change and measured key outcome and impact indicators (e.g. food security) as well as intermediate outcomes, those that lie along the causal pathway (e.g. food consumption). Key outcome indicators: Health outcomes (morbidity), Education outcomes (enrolment), Household consumption and food consumption. Intermediate outcomes and potential modifiers: Productive livelihoods, Stress and social support, Women’s agency and time use.

Unit of Analysis:
Children, cash transfer recipients, households

1. MCTG will increase expenditures of treatment households. 2. MCTG will have a positive impact on children’s education outcomes 3. MCTG will improve food security. 4. MCTG will supplement and not replace household income .5 MCTG 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:
3000 households
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Treatment: 1500 and Control: 1500

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:
baseline report: Zambia-MCP-Baseline.pdf
24 month follow up: Zambia-MCTG-24-Mo-Report.pdf

Outcomes Data

Household survey of 3000 households. Key modules include: Roster, Education, Health, Labor, Non-farm enterprises, Women’s empowerment, savings, and future expectations, Reproductive health, Housing conditions, assets, consumption, Access to facilities, Subjective wellbeing, Poverty, food security, and shocks to household welfare, Agricultural production, Operational Performance. Surveys were also administered to all 92 communities to evaluate access to services and local prices.
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 the IRB at AIR using their Project Abstracts, Deliverables, Information, Security, and IRB application (PADII). The PADII application ensures that projects comply with government requirements related to: (1) human subject research and (2) the confidentiality and integrity of personally identifiable information (PII). The study was initially approved prior to the baseline data collection in September 2010, and has undergone five 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

Upload Study Materials:

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:
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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

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
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External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped