Panel: Evaluations of Cash Transfers and Education Programs to Inform Scale-up Decisions in Refugee Settings
(Population, Migration and Refugees)

Friday, July 14, 2017: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Serenity (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Discussants:  Jacobus De Hoop, UNICEF
Panel Chairs:  Juan Pablo Giraldo Ospino, UNICEF
Panel Organizers:  Thomas De Hoop, American Institutes for Research

Evaluation of a Unicef Cash Transfer for Displaced Syrian Children in Lebanon
David Seidenfeld, American Institutes for Research

Policy makers increasingly recognize that rigorous impact evaluations are needed to contribute to filling the knowledge gap on what works in improving education outcomes in refugee contexts and to the successful scale-up of effective education programs in refugee settings. Although evidence is considered important in the humanitarian sector, the number of rigorous impact evaluations of education interventions in refugee contexts is very limited. Furthermore, most impact evaluations do not examine the implementation of programs in sufficient detail. To contribute to the successful scale-up of education programs in refugee settings, American Institutes for Research (AIR) and United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) combine impact evaluations to establish causality with process evaluations that examine how the program can be effectively implemented at scale. This session focuses on the effectiveness of cash transfers and education programs that aim to improve students’ enrollment, attendance, and learning outcomes in refugee settings. We first present two quasi-experimental studies of cash transfer programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lebanon. The first evaluation examines the impact of UNICEF’s Alternative Responses for Communities in Crisis (ARCC II) programme in the DRC through a difference-in-difference approach. We found strong and statistically significant impacts of this unconditional cash transfer program on consumption. We also found evidence for positive contributions of the program to reductions in vulnerabilities and the use of negative coping mechanisms among displaced families, host families, and returning displaced families in eastern DRC. Qualitative evidence suggests that these families generally use the cash in accordance with the messages they receive from the program implementers. In addition, we present the impact of a conditional cash transfer program for refugees in Lebanon. In this context, baseline data show evidence for a high incidence of food insecurity among children. Of these many are not enrolled in school due to the cost of attendance. We will use a combination of propensity score matching and difference-in-difference analysis to determine whether the conditional cash transfer has resulted in improvements in school enrollment and attendance. We are currently in the process of collecting the endline data and expect to have results at the time of the conference. The third evaluation will focus on the design of the Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA). This initiative aims to generate rigorous evidence on innovative education programs in humanitarian crises, with a specific focus on how to transform high-potential pilot education projects into scalable educational initiatives for refugees and displaced communities worldwide. The program was set up by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), UNICEF, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). To support HEA’s goal, AIR will combine rigorous randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies with process evaluations so as to contribute to the successful scale-up of effective education programs in refugee settings. During this session we will introduce the evaluations and present some early findings of process evaluations of innovations in education that focus on refugee populations in Jordan, Kenya, Rwanda, and Sudan.
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