Food security outcomes have improved significantly in many of the areas of Somalia worst-affected by the 2016/17 drought, as a result of large-scale humanitarian assistance and improvements in seasonal performance of rainfed crop production. 1 However, an estimated 1.5 million people are expected to be in ‘crisis’ levels of food insecurity or worse through December 2018, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC phase 3).In response to the continued threat of famine, the Somali Cash Consortium sought to provide vulnerable populations in 30 of the worst-affected districts with monthly multi-purpose unconditional cash transfers (UCT). Districts with the highest proportions of the population estimated to be in IPC phases 3 and 4 were prioritised for the intervention.
The cash transfer amounts were set as an average of 65% of the full Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) in line with the transfer values recommended by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
To better understand how different amounts and frequencies of cash transfer impact on household food security outcomes and non-food outcomes (food well-being, financial well-being, ability to cope with shocks and stresses and household well-being), two mini-studies were developed in 2018 and conducted over the periods of March– June, and July–December. REACH was engaged as a learning partner by the Somali Cash Consortium to manage the analysis and reporting of these studies.
The first mini-study that is presented in this report adopted a randomised control design with two treatment groups that received monthly transfers of $70 and $95 for three months to assess how different amounts of cash administered at same frequency affect food security and non-food outcomes. This was based on the need to build evidence on whether there were differences in food security outcomes and non-food outcomes for households receiving cash based on the MEB recommended by the Somalia Cash Working Group (CWG) and ECHO / DFID transfer values; in this case, $95 and $70 respectively. The study took place in two purposively selected districts:
Xudur District, Bakool Region and in Bossaso District, Bari Region from a total of 30 implementation districts. The two districts were purposively selected because at the inception of the study, beneficiary selection was complete and transfers had not commenced in the two locations. A total of 900 households were randomly selected from the beneficiary lists in the two districts and assigned the treatments randomly. In each district a total of 450 sampled households received the UCT as follows: 250 households received $70 while 200 households received $95 on a monthly basis for a period of three months. Baseline and endline data were collected in March 2018 and July 2018, respectively, by the Cash Consortium implementing partners i.e. Save the Children in Xudur district and Danish Refugee Council in Bossaso district. Descriptive analysis, as well as statistical tests for differences in means, were conducted to understand the marginal effects of the additional $25 on outcome indicators.