Handa wins major grants to evaluate cash transfer programs in Malawi, Zimbabwe

Public policy professor Ashu Handa has won two research grants (each worth $634,000 over 2 years) to evaluate social cash transfer programs in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Handa is chair of the public policy department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also is a fellow of the Carolina Population Center.

The grants were awarded by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, or 3ie, an organization devoted to improving lives in low and middle-income countries through better policies, programs and projects based on results from impact studies. The organization has offices in New Delhi, London and Washington, D.C.

Handa won two of 10 grants awarded out of 220 applicants. A third grant was awarded to Amber Peterman (Ph.D. ’09), who was advised by Handa.

In both Malawi and Zimbabwe, Handa will examine the governments’ social cash transfer programs, investigating the economic impact of cash transfers on target households and the local community. He will address issues such as the impact of cash transfers on HIV risk, child protection and human capital. In Malawi, for example, the government provides direct payments of cash — on average $13 a month — to families identified as extremely poor and labor-constrained.

Handa is a former social policy adviser for UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa regional office in Nairobi, Kenya. His areas of research focus are poverty, population and human resource economics, social policy and safety nets, and applied development microeconomics.

For details on both projects, visit http://www.3ieimpact.org/funded.html?id=75 and http://www.3ieimpact.org/funded.html?id=77.