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The Impact of Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on Human Capital


The Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team,; ; [; & Sudhanshu Handa, Member] (2012). The Impact of Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on Human Capital. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(1), 38-49.


Kenya's Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC) is a national child-protection programme that provides a flat monthly transfer of Ksh 1500 to ultra-poor families with orphans and vulnerable children aged 17 years and younger. A cluster randomised social experiment was conducted in 2007-2009 to evaluate the impact of this programme. We use these data to provide an in-depth analysis of the effects of the programme on children's human capital development. Because basic schooling is free in Kenya and enrolment rates are relatively high, the scope of an unconditional programme such as the CT-OVC may be small. We use data from the evaluation baseline as well as national survey data to make ex-ante predictions about where the programme is most likely to have a big impact. We compare these predictions with actual programme impacts as a way of assessing whether the programme has had the expected impact on children's human capital development given the institutional environment. We find that the programme has had an impact on the margins we would expect, and the size of the impact on secondary school enrolment of this unconditional programme is comparable with those from conditional programmes in other parts of the world. The ex-ante analysis is crucial to understanding where to look to appropriately assess the impact of the programme.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Development Effectiveness


The Kenya CT-OVC Evaluation Team,

Sudhanshu Handa, Member]