Our aim is to help lift every person in Rwanda above the extreme poverty line.
Cash transfers have measurable impacts across communities and contexts.
Ongoing program first launched in 2016 to deliver large, one-time cash transfers to the poorest households in Gicumbi, Ngoma, Gisagara, Nyamagabe, and Ngororero.
~$797 via mobile money
This cash transfer model draws on a large body of evidence demonstrating that large cash transfers have a significant positive impact on the lives of people in poverty. Through a village saturation approach in which every household in a target region receives cash, recipients have reported increased savings, essential assets and improved homes, school enrollment for children, health insurance enrollment, and more.
Cash+ Nutrition Benchmarking
2018 program comparing the cost-effectiveness (impact per dollar) of the Gikuriro nutrition intervention against small cash transfers paired with the nutrition intervention and large cash transfers alone.
Groups in the cash transfer arm received either ~$110 or ~$517. The nutrition program was valued at $142 based on the costs of administration.
Large cash transfers had significant positive impacts on food security and nutrition compared to small cash transfers or non-cash nutrition interventions.
Neither the traditional program nor cost-equivalent cash transfers of ~$110 affected the study’s primary outcomes, but a larger cash transfer of ~$532 improved consumption, dietary diversity, and childhood growth 12 months after the baseline survey. For secondary outcomes studied, the smaller cash transfer program decreased debt and increased assets, while the nutrition program increased savings.
Cash+ Youth Employment Benchmarking
2019 program comparing the impact and efficiency of the Huguka Dukore workforce readiness program against small cash transfers paired with the workforce readiness program and large cash transfers alone.
Groups in the cash transfer arm received $410. The employment program was valued at $332 based on the costs of administration.
At the 18-month endline, the study found that cash had stronger impacts across economic outcomes including consumption, productive hours, income, productive assets, livestock, savings, and subjective well-being. The workforce readiness training also increased productive hours, assets, savings, and well-being, but outperformed cash only in producing business knowledge.
After 3.5 years, both programs continued to show positive effects with cash transfers still showing larger overall effects. Following the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacts across both programs faded by roughly one-half compared to the 18-month endline, eliminating the statistically significant differences in impact between the two. There was no evidence that combining cash with workforce training had a greater impact than either intervention on its own.
Self-Reliance for Refugees
2019-2020 program in Mugombwa to test whether delivering large, one-time cash transfers accelerate refugees’ path towards self-reliance when compared to monthly subsistence payments or in-kind aid.
2,264, including both refugees and host households
Cash transfers generated a wide-range of positive outcomes and immediate improvement in recipients’ lives: Post transfers i) 100% of surveyed recipients reported increases in assets, ii) 98% of surveyed recipients reported increases in income, iii) 81% of surveyed recipients reported using the transfer to pay down debt and iv) 70% of surveyed recipients reported increases in day to day consumption and spending.
Cash transfers have the potential to accelerate the path towards self-reliance: 60% of transfers were spent on long-term investments, providing a plausible path to sustainable self-reliance.
Cash transfers offer recipients the flexibility to adapt to and withstand shocks (e.g. COVID-19): Almost all refugees used part of pre-existing support (including but not limited to GiveDirectly cash transfers) as coping mechanisms to cover immediate needs resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19.
Government of Rwanda, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Poverty in Rwanda
Every year, Rwanda receives up to $1.47 billion in development aid. However, 52% of Rwanda’s population still lives below the international extreme poverty line. The Rwandan government has introduced a National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) with the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2024, but the economic shocks of COVID-19, widespread food insecurity, and lack of access to capital have hampered progress.
The Government has recently announced its National Strategy for Sustainable Graduation (NSSG) aimed at empowering people to graduate from poverty. Cash transfers are featured as the first pillar in the NSSG, followed by multifaceted socio-economic services and training.
The World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) scores Rwanda at 0.38, slightly above the average for low-income countries but below average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
We have been working with GiveDirectly since 2016 to test and target [cash transfers] with good results. The traditional way of supporting vulnerable groups is giving them something, deciding where they put it and how they use it. But out of 10 [recipients], 3 benefit. Giving cash to people, 7 or 8 out of 10 benefit and you see the transformation beginning to take place.
President of Rwanda