Humanitarian Cash Transfers Through Self Help Groups

The University of Reading evaluated modalities for delivering emergency assistance to SHGs during the 2015 drought in Ethiopia. The study involved 230 groups receiving 30 USD per SHG member. The study found that SHGs with transfers saved and invested more; there was no damage to the capital accumulation from before the cash transfer; and social structures were unaffected. However, many SHG members would have preferred an NGO to hand out the cash. The SHGs correctly identified vulnerable members in the community and beneficiaries increasingly spent their cash on productive assets. The cash transfer did not change the way the SHG functioned but may have impacted members’ confidence in the self-help process: some of the SHGs who received a cash transfer demonstrated a reduced willingness to forgo a small sum of money in the present for a larger sum in the future.  

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