Datasets help shed light on cash transfers in Central Asia
In-depth evidence around the impact of a key social protection initiative in Kazakhstan is now publicly available for the first time. Datasets profiling households involved in one of the region’s largest conditional cash transfer programmes have now been archived in the World Bank’s Microdata Library – a free resource promoting access to survey data from organisations operating in low- and middle-income countries.
The Conditional Cash Transfer programme, run by social welfare NGO, the BOTA Foundation, provided regular cash hand-outs to eligible households in rural Kazakhstan in the period between 2009 and 2014. The flagship $65 million programme was established to improve the lives of young children from some of the country’s most vulnerable households, promoting better access to social, health care and educational services.
OPM evaluated the programme’s impact using a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods approach incorporating two rounds of surveys complemented by in-depth qualitative research. We carried out a baseline and follow-up survey of over 2,000 households in Kazakhstan’s Almaty Oblast, collecting data around variables including pre-school enrolment and attendance, and household consumption patterns.
As well as the anonymised datasets, the archives include the original survey questionnaires and reports detailing the evaluation findings. The datasets provide a rich picture of the living conditions of young children in low-income houses in rural Kazakhstan.
OPM Senior Consultant, Clare O’Brien, led the evaluation: ‘It’s great that, through our work for the BOTA Foundation, we have been able to contribute to the global evidence base around conditional cash transfer programming. To date, there has been a real lack of information around what works and what doesn’t within a Central Asian context. Our datasets go some way towards plugging these knowledge gaps and informing wider social protection policy decisions within the region.’
Importantly, the survey data reveal how a cash transfer that is made conditional on pre-school attendance can have a significant effect on the rate of enrolment of young children in pre-school facilities – even when the value of the transfer is quite small relative to households' income. This could have important implications for the design of similar conditional cash transfer programmes in comparable contexts, providing lessons for implementing agencies setting the value of transfers and anticipating their likely impact on household behaviour.