An Assessment of ChildFund's Emergency Cash Transfer Project in The Gambia

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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In The Gambia, political turmoil following the presidential elections in December 2016 led to an estimated 150,000 internally displaced people (IDP).1 A number of families in communities where ChildFund operates hosted IDPs, taking in an average of six IDPs for almost one month. The additional people strained household resources, prompting ChildFund to plan an emergency response to protect the welfare of children in affected families.

ChildFund and its local implementation partner, the Eastern Foni Federation (EFF) initially planned to deliver food commodities. As the context of the emergency and the needs became clearer, we decided instead to design a livelihood stabilization to deliver unconditional cash via mobile money cash transfer (MMCT) to provide the fastest relief and the greatest flexibility to beneficiaries.

The Emergency Cash Transfer Project in The Gambia had three objectives: (1) to support the basic household needs and provide economic stability for 100 families from six communities for three months (during implementation, this period was extended by two additional months to help head of households (HHs) graduate into some form of investment activities beyond livelihood stabilization; (2) to learn how to use mobile technology to deliver cash to affected families, including in hard to reach areas; and (3) to create opportunities for children to continue their education and stay healthy. ChildFund has previously used mobile money technology to successfully deliver services in Kenya and Zambia.

Study Objectives

This study presents an assessment of the project’s design, effectiveness, sustainability, relevance, with a special focus on the program design, including strategies and mechanisms used. Specific learning questions include:

Effectiveness: To what extent have the project objectives been met? How effective was the use of mobile technology? What unintended benefits have been achieved due to the use of mobile technology?

Relevance: Is the innovation of cash transfer project delivery model using mobile technology liked by the beneficiaries? Was the cash able to stabilize the economic status of the families? Should the mode of giving cash to the beneficiaries be changed to better utilize other available options within the area?
Sustainability: To what extent has the project established processes and systems that are likely to support the continued implementation of the project? Can the project be scaled up using the same model?

Research conducted for this study consisted of focus group interviews with individuals directly involved with implementation, including 11 managers and staff from ChildFund, 7 managers and staff from EFF, 4 managers and staff from Qodoo, 6 community mobilizers, 6 technical ambassadors, 2 community-based agents (both shop owners), and 1 mobile agent; and analysis of household questionnaires with beneficiaries collected by community mobilisers from outside the project area; and analysis of EFF’s monitoring and summary reports and data collected from Qodoo’s online account management platform and available reports.