Improving targeting of cash transfers
An analysis of targeting performance found that the Kenya HSNP could significantly improve its ability to reach the poorest households if it coupled Community-Based-Targeting with Proxy Means Testing.
The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) is an unconditional cash transfer programme that aims to reduce poverty in northern Kenya, by delivering cash payments every two months to beneficiary households in the greater Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir districts.
These districts have very high rates of poverty but the HSNP does not yet have the resources to reach all poor households, making it essential that the programme targets the poorest in order to make the most effective use of the money.
During its pilot phase three mechanisms for targeting the poorest were tested by the HSNP in order to generate evidence on which would be most effective in terms of reaching the poorest and generating impact. The evaluation found that, of the three targeting mechanisms (Community-Based Targeting, in which the community collectively selects households they consider most in need of the transfers, Dependency Ratio targeting, which targets households with high numbers of dependents, such as members under 18 years and over 55 years, and Social Pension targeting, aimed at individuals aged 55 or older), CBT was the most effective mechanism at identifying the poorest households.
The evaluation also found that programme impact was greatest for poorer households, implying that improving targeting would be the most efficient way to maximize programme impact over the long-term.
Simulation analysis then showed that a Proxy Means Test (PMT) approach could produce even more accurate targeting, so combining this with CBT could be the most practical way of maximizing community participation and local ownership of the programme whilst simultaneously minimizing inclusion and exclusion errors. Proxy Means Test (PMT) is a way of estimating the poverty status of a household, by using information that is easy to collect, for example, number of people in the household and ownership of key assets.
The findings from the evaluation have influenced the HSNP in phase 2 which is now moving forward with the combined CBT-PMT approach as it scales up. The final impact report from the HSNP pilot M&E is coming soon – this report measures the impact on poverty levels after two years of programme operations