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A Randomized Evaluation of Household Grants in Rwanda

Technology Rwanda

Credit: UN-HABITAT Photo Gallery

Led by Craig McIntosh and Andy Zeitlin, in partnership with USAID and GiveDirectly, this project rigorously evaluated the impact of unconditional cash transfers in Rwanda, compared to an integrated nutrition and WASH program, on the following main outcomes: household dietary diversity, child and maternal anemia, child growth (height-for-age, weight-for-age, mid-upper arm circumference), value of household wealth, and household consumption. After approximately one year, the nutrition and WASH program had a positive impact on savings, a secondary outcome, but did not impact any main outcomes. An equivalent amount of cash disbursed by GiveDirectly (a cost to USAID of $142 per household of which an average of $114 was transferred) allowed households to pay down debt and boosted productive and consumption asset investment, but also had no impact on child health indicators. A much larger cash transfer—of more than $500 per household—had a wide range of benefits: it not only increased consumption, house values, savings, and assets, but also improved primary outcomes such as household dietary diversity and height-for-age while decreasing child mortality.

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