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Evaluating the impacts of the FAO’s Cash+ Programme in Mali










Dao, T.H., Daidone, S. and Kangasniemi, M. 2021. Evaluating the impacts of the FAO's Cash+ Programme in Mali. Rome, FAO.




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    In Mali, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is currently experimenting the “productive transfers” approach (CASH+), implemented successfully in 2014 in other countries – including countries from West Africa. The 18-month programme combines unconditional cash transfers with the provision of in-kind livestock inputs (goats and animal feed) to benefit 750 vulnerable households, approximately 5 300 individuals, in 36 villages of the Kayes region. The most vulnerable ho useholds were targeted using the HEA (Household Economy Analysis) approach1. Women are the direct recipients of transfers in 99 percent of the cases. In order to better cope with, recover from and adapt to the multiple shocks and recurrent crises affecting the Sahel region (drought, desertification, floods, conflicts, economic shocks, diseases, etc.), the poorest households need to protect their livelihoods, diversify their sources of income and accumulate productive assets. Turning the vicious circle of poverty and dependence, that repeated humanitarian interventions often fail to sustainably stop, into a virtuous circle of production and investments requires innovative approaches.
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    Improving food security and nutrition through cash+ in Armenia
    Combining cash transfers, productive assets and inputs distribution with agricultural and nutrition trainings for vulnerable rural households in Lori and Shirak regions
    2024
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    Armenia is a landlocked, upper-middle-income country with a population of three million people and a net importer of food. It is vulnerable to natural hazards, including floods and drought, which negatively impact the country's food security and nutrition, together with external shocks like global food price fluctuations. This promising practice documents an integrated nutrition-sensitive cash+ approach piloted by FAO in the Gyulagarak community in the Lori region, and in the Marmashen community in the Shirak region. The intervention was part of the project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia,” which started in 2016 and ended in 2021. The objective of this intervention was to support the economic inclusion of poor rural households and improve their food security and nutrition. To do so, the intervention leveraged the national social protection system by targeting beneficiaries of the government-run family benefits scheme. FAO complemented the cash transfers provided by the government programme with packages of agricultural inputs and training on agriculture, nutrition and financial literacy. This promising practice offers an example of the effectiveness of cash+ interventions in strengthening resilience, nutrition and food security. The main innovative element of this pilot was in fact the combination of social assistance and productive assistance for small-scale agriculture. The results offer a solid evidence base to advocate in Armenia and elsewhere for combining national social protection programmes with productive inputs for small-scale food producers.
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    Myanmar: Improving food security and nutrition with cash assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Strengthening household resilience to socioeconomic and climate shocks in Rakhine State
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    Rakhine State in Myanmar has experienced armed conflict, localized violence, political instability and extremely high levels of forced displacement, together with heightened vulnerability to flooding. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local population faced further and compounding disruptions to livelihoods, transportation, value chains, critical services and banking systems, as well as to the functioning of local government institutions and administrations. In this complex situation, between October 2018 and October 2021, FAO assisted over 7 500 vulnerable households with the delivery of cash assistance complemented by the distribution of agricultural inputs, information materials, hygiene kits, agricultural training and aquaculture production support. The cash transfer amount was aligned to the social protection programme “Maternal cash assistance for pregnant and lactating women”. The intervention was part of the broader initiative of the Global Network Against Food Crises Partnership Programme, which aimed to increase the resilience of households to socioeconomic shocks and disasters, by focusing on reducing vulnerability to conflict and malnutrition, and bolstering low agricultural productivity. A country-level monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) plan was developed in order to track changes in resilience and food security indicators resulting from country investments. This social protection and resilience COVID-19 good practice aims at presenting answers to the learning questions identified, with particular regard to what is the actual contribution of the project interventions to resilience and the value added of channelling these through, or in alignment to, the national social protection system.

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