Social Cash Transfers are mostly used as social protection for rural poor popu-lations. The Zambian government implements an unconditional cash transfer scheme aimed at improving beneficiaries’ livelihoods. Evaluations of the scheme reveal a number of impacts on beneficiaries. However these have not been sufficiently reviewed in line with the livelihoods perspective that could give an indication of how transfers effect changes in poor households’ survival strategies. The overwhelming evidence on social cash transfer schemes across the world is biased towards conditional social cash transfer schemes which has disregarded promotion of measures needed for effective livelihood promotion. This study explored the contribution of social cash transfers to poor people’s livelihoods, the Sustainable Livelihoods approach was used to understand poor households’ assets, use of cash transfers, changing livelihood behaviours and outcomes. The study found that rural households have a range of assets on which they build livelihoods. Beneficiaries use the transfer on a variety of household needs leading to accrual of assets. Accumulated assets contribute to lifting poor households out of critical life threatening livelihood strategies. However, in communities with high poverty levels targeting transfers has po-tential to create inequalities and conflict based on unbalanced access to a guar-anteed minimum level of income and productive assets. The design of cash transfer programmes should take into account broader livelihood strategies and the potential social changes to make transfers more responsive to needs of poor communities.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Social Cash Transfers, Rural Livelihoods, Household Assets, Livelihoods out-comes
Thesis Advisor Dasgupta, Anirban
Persistent URL
Series Rural Livelihoods and Global Change (RLGC)
Matandiko, Patience. (2010, December 17). Social Cash Transfers. Rural Livelihoods and Global Change (RLGC). Retrieved from