Targeting Effectiveness from a Multidimensional Perspective in Kenya, Mozambique and Malawi

Sudhanshu Handa, Carolyn Huang, University of North Carolina, Nicola Hypher, Save the Children, Clarissa Texeira, Fabio Veras, International Poverty Center and Benjamin Davis, UNICEF

Social transfers are increasingly being seen as a key tool in East and Southern Africa for combating the triple threat of chronic poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS. In the advent of the global financial, food and fuel crises there are increasing calls for the scale up of such programs to protect the poor and promote the human capital of children. As programs expand, a number of design and implementation issues have begun to dominate the policy debate, and one topic in particular is targeting, which has emerged as a contentious issue in program design in the region.  A variety of approaches are used in the region , ranging from universal old age pensions, to means-tested child support grants, to a variety of community based poverty and OVC targeted programs. To help better understand some of the different targeting approaches in the region and their effectiveness, this paper examines three cash transfer programs in Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. All three countries employ community based targeting mechanisms; each, however, targets different kinds of households and employs different methodologies.  This study combines descriptive analysis of the targeting process with quantitative analysis comparing the characteristics of beneficiary households taken from program baseline evaluation surveys with characteristics of poor households based on national household surveys. The study uses monetary, asset-based, and multidimensional measures to compare the effectiveness of the programs’ targeting when using economic poverty measures vs. multidimensional measures. It then assesses these measures of effectiveness in light of the program objectives and desired beneficiary populations, and explores policy implications for the different targeting approaches.