There are very few programmes that have directly tried to tackle forced and early marriage through cash or asset transfers. Of the programmes that have, many are fairly recent or are small-scale, making it difficult to assess long term impacts or draw lessons (Sinha and Young 2009). Some cash and asset transfer programmes have indirectly impacted on child and forced marriage through, for example, increasing girls’ participation in schooling.
Of the evidence that is available, some of the programmes identified include: the Zomba cash transfer programme, Malawi; female secondary school stipend, Bangladesh; the Punjabi Female School Stipend Programme (FSSP), Pakistan; Berhance Hewan asset transfers, Ethiopia; and Apni Beti Apna Dhan conditional cash transfers, India.
Some of the lessons emerging from existing initiatives include:
- There is more evidence on the impact of conditional cash transfers, with a number of studies demonstrating the positive impact they have had in delaying marriage (Nanda et al. 2014; Alam, Baez and Del Carpio 2011). There is less robust evidence on the impact of non-conditional transfers. Further research is needed to determine whether conditional or non-conditional transfers have more positive effects.
- Better targeting is needed to reach the poorest families (Raynor and Wesson 2006);
- There is very little mention of scale or cost-effectiveness in programme evaluations. There is a need to do further research in this area (Fraser 2011).
- Some programmes use a combination of approaches to address the different factors that contribute to child marriage. For instance, the use of cash transfers to address economic factors, combined with awareness raising to address social factors (Population Council 2014; Muthengi and Erulkar 2011).