Supporting the Zambian Ministry of Community Development & Social Services

Client: Wellspring, Zambia Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS)
Social Protection
Dates of service:
August 2018 - August 2020
IDinsight service:
Data analysis, process evaluation, literature review, impact evaluation
IDinsight contacts:
 Lilay Berhane, Paul Wang, Chris Chibwana,  Julia Tuttle, Akib Khan, Radhika Lokur, PJ Paul

The Problem

IDinsight has entered into a two-year learning partnership with the Zambia Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS), in order to provide data and research support to improve the social cash transfer program (SCTP). The SCTP provides a bi-monthy unconditional transfer to ultra-poor households in an effort to reduce vulnerability, inequality, and intergenerational transfer of poverty. RCTs in other countries have shown cash transfers improve household consumption and other key metrics.

The government seeks evidence on how to increase the impact of the SCTP. Zambian policies currently limit the overlap between different social protection programs. However, research from other countries suggests linking beneficiaries to cash transfer-complementary social programs amplifies the impact of cash transfers. In theory, the consumption support provided by cash transfers is not enough to dramatically change household vulnerabilities, but can provide a stronger foundation for other programs to do so. IDinsight aims to determine whether this “linkage” approach is feasible, acceptable, and impactful in the Zambian context, in order to inform MCDSS’s policies around dual-enrollment.

Evidence Needs

IDinsight Service

IDinsight’s engagement began with a review of the Zambian social protection landscape. We are creating a theory of change for the SCTP and collating a case study from a pilot program that is using the linkage approach. We hope these two documents will help MCDSS define the next steps of the engagement, which may include a process evaluation of the linkages pilot program.


Project is ongoing.


Project is ongoing.