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Case study, Economy & prosperity, Innovation, Human rights & justice, Reach Alliance, Munk School

How to Deliver Cash Transfer Programs More Effectively to Hard-to-Reach Populations

Cash transfer programs often struggle to reach those most in need. An investigation of four programs across Brazil, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Palestine revealed five features that lead to success. Since Brazil and Mexico introduced the first conditional cash transfer programs in the 1990s, governments, international organizations, and humanitarian organizations have implemented this economic development policy tool worldwide.

Highly varied in conception, design, implementation, and evaluation, cash transfer programs – also known as disbursement programs – seek to alleviate poverty, but they often struggle to meaningfully impact hard-to-reach populations who are most in need. How do we deliver cash transfer and digital disbursement programs effectively to the hardest to reach? How do we extend benefits to urban refugees, those who are geographically remote, those who lack a legal identity or live in extreme poverty?