Since Brazil and Mexico introduced the first conditional cash transfer programs in the 1990s, governments, international organizations, and humanitarian organizations have implemented this economic development policy tool worldwide.

Highly varied in conception, design, implementation, and evaluation, cash transfer programs – also known as disbursement programs – seek to alleviate poverty, but they often struggle to meaningfully impact hard-to-reach populations who are most in need. How do we deliver cash transfer and digital disbursement programs effectively to the hardest to reach? How do we extend benefits to urban refugees, those who are geographically remote, those who lack legal identity or live in extreme poverty?

At the Reach Alliance, we aim to understand how and why social programs are effectively reaching (or failing to reach) these populations and communicate actionable insights to policymakers and practitioners. After investigating four cash transfer programs across Brazil, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Palestine, we found five features critical to success: comprehensive data, flexible targeting, caution around conditionalities, technology use, and partnerships.

  1. Comprehensive Data
  2. Flexible Targeting
  3. Caution Around Conditionalities
  4. Technology Use
  5. Partnerships

Read the full article about cash transfer programs by Marin MacLeod, Sydney Piggott, Joudy Sarraj, and Nicoli Dos Santos Stiller at Stanford Social Innovation Review.