What ‘Cash Plus’ Programs Teach Us About Fighting Poverty
Years of studying these programs reveal some important lessons
The development community has been heavily researching and discussing cash transfers over the past decade, publishing hundreds of studies and scores of articles on their impacts and potential to alleviate poverty.
At BRAC, the world’s largest NGO in the Global South working to combat inequality worldwide, we have seen the value of cash transfers firsthand. We have also seen how augmenting cash with a holistic set of interventions—a “cash plus” approach—can enhance their long-term impacts. “Cash plus” interventions can empower people who face the greatest marginalization to build long-term, resilient livelihoods and create a pathway out of extreme poverty. But what can other programs and policies learn from these interventions to generate sustained impact?
In 2020, worldwide cash transfer benefits nearly doubled, with 214 countries and territories planning or implementing over 400 cash transfer programs in response to the pandemic. These interventions are fast and cost-effective, and research shows they can increase people’s consumption, assets and food security.
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