Impact Evaluations: Randomized Control Trial Impact Evaluations of National Social Protection Programs (Cash Transfer Programs) in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Ghana

Project Duration
September 2014
June 2023
Funding and Year

Our impact evaluation projects use rigorous quantitative techniques to evaluate the impact of interventions on reducing child labor, forced labor and human trafficking—part of a broader ILAB effort to build rigorous evidence on what works to secure and protect the rights of children and adults. Such evaluations support our partner governments’ evidence-based policymaking efforts and also help identify proven strategies to inform ILAB’s future investments in global programs to combat child labor and forced labor.

The Problem

With an estimated 160 million children engaged in child labor and nearly 24.9 million victims of forced labor worldwide, it's critical that investments in projects to improve their lives employ the most effective and efficient interventions. Strong project monitoring and rigorous evaluations are necessary to determine which of many possible approaches will most effectively secure and protect the rights of these children and adults. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs is funding $11 million in grants for monitoring and evaluation activities that will help ILAB answer the crucial question: What are the most effective tools for eliminating child labor and forced labor and providing vulnerable children and adults with opportunities for a better standard of living?

Our Strategy

By conducting impact evaluations based on randomized controlled trial designs, our researchers can understand how an intervention has directly led to changes in, for example, the prevalence of child labor.  Specifically, the project implemented by UNICEF will examine the effects of national social protection programs (cash transfer programs) in Malawi, and Zambia, Tanzania, and Ghana.


UNICEF conducted randomized control trials in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania to determine the impact of government-run cash transfer programs on children. The studies found that the programs were effective at promoting indicators of child wellbeing. However, in Malawi and Zambia, they also found increased child labor as families invested in household enterprises.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor