Large-scale Interventions to Enhance Human Capital

The 2009 G8 summit statement indicated that a critical aspect of food security is access to adequate and affordable nutritious food, and that “delivering food, cash, and vouchers through effective emergency assistance as well as through national safety nets and nutrition schemes, such as food- and cash-for-work, unconditional cash transfer programs, school feeding, and mother-and-child nutrition programs, is an imperative goal.” IFPRI has long been engaged in measuring, analyzing, and understanding the value of numerous high-profile, large-scale social protection programs.

Findings from work conducted in the past year include:

Bangladesh: Participation in a multi-intervention asset transfer program targeting ultra-poor women increased household food consumption and sustained those heightened levels of consumption for at least two years.

El Salvador: A conditional cash transfer program called Communidades Solidarias Rurales (formerly Red Solidaria) strengthened women’s knowledge, confidence, and social capital through its training component.

Uganda: School-based feeding programs within areas recovering from violent conflict increased afternoon school attendance by 9 percent, reduced anemia prevalence for adolescent girls by 19 percent, and improved test scores and cognitive development.

These evaluations allow policymakers and other advocates to make research-based recommendations and decisions on how to implement social protection programs, how to strengthen them, and whether or not to renew them. As an example, after an exhaustive review by IFPRI of 10 unconditional cash transfer programs in Africa and 10 conditional programs in Latin America and Asia, the Joint Learning Initiative on Children and AIDS adopted cash transfers as a central platform in its policy recommendations for supporting children and families affected by AIDS.

Other focal areas under the Poverty, Nutrition, and Social Protection theme include:

Pathways from Poverty