Design Options, Cost and Impacts of a Cash Transfer Programme in Senegal: Simulation Results

Organization(s): UNICEF
Author: Pascale Schnitzer
Regions: West Africa
Country: Senegal
Year: 2011
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Children represent over half of the Senegalese population and a large portion of them remains poor and vulnerable. Health, education and poverty indicators suggest that many children are in critical situations, in urgent need of social protection and that significant disparities are found across location and wealth. Nationwide, 5% of all individuals are extreme poor. Nevertheless, while 1 in 4 rural children (24.5%) under the age of 5 live under extreme poverty, this is only 3.7% in urban areas. In the poorest quintile, 142 out of 1,000 children die under the age of 5, and over 1 in 4 of them are under-weight and present delays in their growth (DHS 2005). Close to 23% of children are orphans and 84% of rural children under 5 are not registered when born. At the same time, evidence suggests that recent economic growth has benefited unequally better off segments of society deepening these inequalities.

Poor conditions of children need to urgently be addressed. Living conditions during early childhood
represent a key phase for children´s healthy development, and early childhood interventions have long lasting effects representing a key investment for future generations.

Up to date, no well-defined and institutionalized social protection program exists in Senegal to address
children’s need. Under this context, this study intends to evaluate alternative design options for the
implementation of a cash transfer program aimed at reducing child poverty in the mid-term, prevent the
intergenerational transmission of poverty and improving health and nutritional outcomes, with a focus on rural children under 5. This analysis should serve as a background for future policy interventions in
the area of social protection and cash transfers. Specifically, this study intends to:

  1. Explore the effectiveness of a mix of different categorical and geographical targeting options to
    best reach the poorest and most vulnerable children.
  2. Explore the potential impact of each targeting option on poverty and inequality.
  3. Assess the fiscal costs and feasibility of implementing the different design options.
Social Protection and Human Rights