The effects of DFID’s cash transfer programmes on poverty and vulnerability

UK aid is succeeding in alleviating extreme poverty through its support for cash transfer programmes.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 12 January 2017
  3. Subject: Livelihoods and social protection
  4. Assessment: Green/Amber
  5. Location: Bangladesh, Rwanda
  6. Lead commissioner: Alison Evans


Cash transfers – providing development assistance in the form of cash or cash equivalents – are an increasingly important and widely used tool for reducing poverty and vulnerability. ICAI examined how well the Department for International Development (DFID) used cash transfer programmes to reduce poverty and vulnerability.

The review on the effects of DFID’s cash transfer programmes found that the transfers – which include any regular payments made to individuals or households – had consistently increased incomes and consumption levels among some of the world’s poorest people, and presented a strong value for money case.

The review awarded DFID a green-amber score concluding the cash transfer programmes – which amount to an average spending of £201 million a year – were making a good impact, but could achieve even more, and we made four recommendations.



9 May 2016

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 12 January 2017

Government response

Published 17 February 2017

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 22 February 2017

ICAI follow-up

Published 29 June 2018