OBJECTIVE: The current qualitative study aimed to identify gender, social and cultural influences on the management and use of unconditional cash transfers as part of a prospective intervention study in Niger.
DESIGN: In February to March 2012, focus group discussions and semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with female caregivers of children aged 6 to 23 months who received unconditional cash transfers. Discussion and interview transcripts were analysed using content thematic analysis.
SETTING: The study was conducted in the Madarounfa district in Maradi region of Niger.
SUBJECTS: Among forty-eight intervention villages, fourteen were selected for the qualitative study. Participants were randomly selected from eligible households.
RESULTS: In total, 124 women participated in focus group discussions or interviews. The majority reported giving the cash transfer to the male head of household who primarily managed cash at the household level. Women reported using a portion of the money to purchase foods for the target child. Feeding the household was the primary use of the cash transfer, followed by health care, clothing, gifts or ceremonies.
CONCLUSIONS: Gender, social and cultural norms influenced management and usage of the cash transfer at the household level. The results highlight the importance of integrating gender-sensitive indicators into interventions. Information and awareness sessions should be an integral component of large-scale distributions with a special emphasis on gender equality and the importance of women's empowerment to improve agriculture and family health.