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Assessing a child grants pilot in Indonesia

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Revita Wahyudi

Given the significant negative impacts that growing up in poverty has been demonstrated to have on children’s health and education, the Government of Indonesia is committed to ending extreme poverty and reducing poverty rates by half by 2030. The implementation of universal and unconditional child grants is one potential way to achieve such a goal.

Provincial and selected district governments in the provinces of Papua and Aceh have therefore agreed to introduce child grant pilots (CGPs) in 2018. Progressive coverage of districts within each province is expected to occur in the upcoming years.

Most directly, the cash grant is expected to affect households’ income, consumption, and expenditure patterns. This, at a secondary level, is expected to affect household behaviour around issues such as nutrition, food intake, and the utilisation of educational and health services. At a third level, it is expected that the programmes will affect long-term outcomes around child malnutrition prevalence, early childhood development, and child school performance.

The primary objective of this impact assessment is to assess whether the CG have affected the above outcomes as expected, both in Papua and Aceh. A secondary objective, derived from the fact that this impact assessment includes primary data collection in Papua, will be to produce descriptive analyses for key indicators related to the above outcomes among children and households in target areas in Papua. A third objective, for the component in Aceh, will be to provide an assessment of how child grants interact with the local economy of areas in which they are implemented. 

The implementation of the child grants programme in Papua (BANGGA Papua) will be undertaken through a partnership between the Papuan Provincial Government and participating districts. The programme will commence with a pilot, the CGP, in the districts of Lanny Jaya, Paniai, and Asmat. If successful, the programme would progressively cover all remaining districts in the province over a three-year period. 

Our approach

We are designing and implementing a rigorous quantitative impact assessment of the pilots in Aceh and Papua, including a baseline and endline exercise, over a period of two years. The main objective of this assignment is to assess the impact of the child grants on the economic, health, and nutrition status of recipients. The evaluation is complemented with a complete local economy wide impact evaluation (LEWIE) that assesses the impact of the grant on the local economy. 

Outcomes

This evaluation will look at how and to what extent programme interventions can help achieve programme objectives - that is, poverty alleviation and prevention of malnutrition. The results of this evaluation will be useful for UNICEF, the Government of Indonesia, and provincial government in Papua and Aceh to determine further strategies of the programme, as well as to enhance appropriate types of interventions based on conditions in the baseline/endline.

The findings of this evaluation will also be used to inform the most appropriate ways to roll out the programme in further districts, and ensuring that the grants can best be distributed to enhance the health and nutrition of beneficiaries, as well as longer-term economic benefits.