Lehmann forms part of a team of researchers that studies the impact of cash transfers to poor women in Uganda on the local economy. Tags for this page Livelihoods interventions About this article Printed in: Field Exchange 48 Date: November 2014 Page number: 56 About this page updated on 17 March 2015 42 views The authors would like to acknowledge IIRC staff who were essential to the successful implementation of this impact evaluation, Information International for their professionalism in conducting the field-based data collection and MUNCH staff who supported the research and shared key information.
In addition, the authors and IIRC would like to thank their colleagues from other organizations for support and guidance, including DRY, LIP, Save the Children, World Bank, CAFE and EUNICE. The project would not have been possible without the funding from the Department for International Development (Dif) of the UK Government, which supports the IIRC Cash and Livelihoods Promotion interventions in Lebanon. Within DIF and ECHO, respectively, IIRC is particularly grateful to Simon Little and Maureen Philippic for believing in this project. This project received funding through DIF grant agreement number 204007-1 1 1 .
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The research project received exemption from the Yale University Human Subjects Committee under 45 CUFF with RIB Protocol 1404013714. Background More Syrian refugees reside in Lebanon than in any other country in the region. As no refugee camps have been established in Lebanon, Syrian refugees live in over 1,000 villages and communities across the country and increasingly reside in informal settlements (Sis). The pace of the refugee flow has more than quadrupled since 2012. At the beginning of 2013, there were 130,799 Syrians registered with MUNCH in Lebanon; this has grown to more than 1. Million registered refugees (September 2014). The magnitude of the crisis can only be understood relative to Lebanon’s population of around 4. Million people. The wintertime’s cash-transfer programmer Starting in November 201 3, an inter-agency wintertime’s 1 programmer began providing cash transfers to around 60% of all refugees from Syria (including Palestinians), Lebanese returnees, and some vulnerable Lebanese families. This article details the findings of a study 2 on the impacts of the wintertime’s cash transfer programmer run by MUNCH and partners, from November 2013 to April 2014 3.
The programmer gave $575 USED via ATM cards to 87,700 registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon With the objective of keeping people warm and dry during cold winter months. The programmer also provided heating fuel, tools for improving shelters and non-food items (NH), such as blankets, children’s clothing, and stoves. About 87,700 Syrian refugee families (in Lebanon) received cash intended for the purchase of heating supplies 4. Aid was given at high altitudes to target assistance for those living in the coldest areas during the http://www. Online. Net/fax/48/miscommunication 1/6 n I EN winter months. Eligibility for the programmer was determined by a geographic criterion (refugees residing above 500 meters altitude were eligible, while hose living below were not 5) as well as demographic criteria 6. CHINCH used the demographic data to calculate a vulnerability score. ‘ Only households with a vulnerability score above a cut-off were eligible for the programmer. Each eligible household was notified via SMS that they were eligible to receive an ATM card at a distribution point.
The head of household could pick up the card and receive a pin number. Beneficiaries were notified by SMS message when CHINCH and implementing and operational partners transferred cash to the ATM card. Eligible households could withdraw the money at any ATM. Anyone who had the card and pin could withdraw the money. Although MUNCH and the operational partners generally told beneficiaries that the cash assistance was intended for the purchase of heating supplies, there were no restrictions on beneficiary expenditure (though the message varied across operational partners).
Therefore, beneficiaries could spend received cash as they wished. At the same time as the cash transfer programmer, WFM was running an e;voucher programmer, allowing recipients to buy food at specific stores. Eligibility was based on the same demographic criteria as the wintertime’s programmer, regardless of altitude. All survey respondents (both treatment and control groups) received the e-voucher. The monthly value of the food e-voucher was $31ST per person. Beneficiary selection Inter-agency funding could cover transfers for 87, 700 households for the wintertime’s cash transfer programmer.
To define the altitude criterion, MUNCH used the highest point within each town as the altitude for all households within that town. The vulnerability score was calculated using biometric data available in MUNCH registration records 7. The initial assignment to the programmer was conducted using the geographic and anemographic data for each household in the CHINCH databases, as of November 2013. For the purposes of this survey, a household was defined as a group of people who spend most nights under the same roof and share in financial activities like income and spending.
For instance, two ‘households’ may live under the same roof if they operate independently of each other in financial matters. Research design This study used a regression discontinuity design (RED) that allowed quantification of the causal impacts of the cash transfer programmer. The research measured the impacts of cash on numerous metrics of household ell-being, negative coping strategies, and food and non-food consumption. It tested whether cash produces negative consequences such as local-level inflation or drawing more refugees to regions with assistance (a “pull factor).
And finally, it sought to estimate the multiplier effect of cash aid, i. E. For every dollar of cash assistance, how much would the Lebanese economy benefit. In order to evaluate the programmer’s impact the study compares outcomes of cash beneficiaries residing slightly above 500 meters (i. E. Less than 550 meters) (treatment group) to inefficiencies residing slightly below (above 50 meters) (control group). The same demographic criteria were used at all altitudes to calculate vulnerability. Therefore the study is comparing households that are similar in their vulnerability scores and only slightly different in altitude.
Households did not know beforehand that there would be an altitude eligibility cut-off. This suggests that, around the cut-off point, selection to treatment should not be related to background characteristics in expectation. According to MUNCH refugee registration records, there were 827 households in the treatment group and 962 households in the control group, i. E. 789 households in total within the window of analysis (450 meters to 550 meters altitude). This includes only households that had a vulnerability score above the eligibility cut-off.
Because of Lebanon’s topography, the distribution of registered Syrian households living between 450 and 550 meters covers nearly the entire country, running from the north in Kara to the south in Benefit. Figure 1 shows the location of all towns where survey respondents lived at the time when the wintertime’s programmer began. In November 201 3, when the programmer began, survey respondents lived in 15 of Lebanon’s 25 districts aqua) 8. Due to beneficiaries who moved between the beginning and end of the programmer, interviews were conducted in all 25 districts.
Lecher’s demographic data was used to compare pre-treatment characteristics between the treatment and control groups. Among the demographic variables that were available, 21 of 24 variables were balanced 9. Therefore, prior to the start of the programmer, households in treatment and control group were very similar. Thus, differences measured after the programmer represents causal impacts of cash assistance. All other aid programmer were equally distributed between the two groups round the altitude cutoff.
The survey was translated and back-translated by separate parties, pre-tested in Half, Kara and later pilot-tested in Shirt Doodad, Kara and in AH Bourne, Chuff. Enumerators were Lebanese local to the survey region. The Research Manager conducted three two-day training sessions with groups of enumerators, to enable more direct communication and understanding through smaller http://www. Online. Net/few/miscommunication 2/6 training groups. Data collection The questionnaire consisted of 226 questions. The primary respondent in each household was the person mainly responsible for how the household spends its money.
An interview took about one hour. A town-level stratified random sample of households was asked 81 additional questions on local prices and market characteristics 10. A full description of the data collection methodology is available in an online appendix 11. The study compared households living within 40 meters of either side of the 500-meters altitude cut-off due to a drop in sample size at smaller bandwidths. For simplicity, results only for one bandwidth are included here. Other technical publications will show robustness to initiated specification.
The survey was administered in April and May 2014, beginning about five months after the start of the programmer and one day after the programmer’s final cash transfer. The Research Manager spent more than 20 days in the field and sat in on more than 80 interviews 12. Enumerators worked in pairs, with one conversing and reading and the second writing. Enumerators collected the data using anonymous paper-and- pencil interviewing. On average, survey teams conducted five interviews per day. Usually, other people were present in interviews including friends, family, and neighbors.
Key findings While the use of cash has increased significantly over the past decade 13, there is little rigorous evidence of the impact of cash assistance programmer in refugee crisis. The research design is a key contribution to research on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and more generally to research on the impacts of cash aid in a humanitarian crisis. This is the first study, to the researchers’ knowledge, to rigorously compare refugees receiving cash to those not receiving cash, which makes it possible to quantify the causal impact of the assistance.