Cash Transfers in Colombia: Qualitative Perceptions on Gender Relations and Intimate Partner Violence Open Access

Menstell, Elizabeth (Spring 2019)

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A growing body of evaluation research has assessed cash-based transfer programs that aim to increase food security. Evaluations often assess the form in which the transfer is received (value voucher or cash) and the gender-relation impact of the program. Findings from these evaluations indicate that cash-based transfer programs sometimes increase and other times decrease women’s household-decision making power and experience of intimate partner violence (IPV), including economic coercion. This study examines the perceptions and experiences of beneficiaries of a cash-based transfer program implemented in a food insecure population in La Guajira, Colombia. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted in June and July 2018 with male and female beneficiaries of the World Food Programme’s cash-based transfer program. Results indicate the majority of beneficiaries would have preferred to receive cash instead of a voucher to have autonomy on how to spend the money. Household-asset decisions, including decisions on how to spend household income, were largely determined by men. While distribution of cash instead of value voucher may be the preferred modality of cash-based transfer, male control of that additional wealth should be considered. Overall, findings suggest cash-based transfer programmatic recommendations: 1) implement a community participatory approach to establish community buy-in of the intervention as well as design an intervention that best meets the community’s needs, 2) conduct a formative evaluation to determine the cultural gender norms in a community, especially presence of economic coercion and 3) implement gender-transformative training before and throughout the intervention period to reduce possible instances of intimate partner violence perpetration.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

Malnutrition     1

Colombia Country Context         1

La Guajira, Colombia     2

Wayuu Culture: History and Present       4

Food Security and Cash-Based Transfers 5

Cash-Based Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence       7

Thesis Purpose and Theoretical Application        9

Chapter 2. Literature Review 12

Introduction     12

Cash-Based Transfer Influence on Nutrition        12

Cash-Based Transfer: Voucher vs. Cash on Nutrition, Beneficiary Preference, and Cost of Implementation      14

Recommendations for increasing nutrition and caloric intake      14

Beneficiary preference of cash vs. voucher         16

Cash vs. voucher: cost-efficiency of implementation       17

Cash Based Transfer: Impact on Decision-Making in the Home    17

Cash Based Transfer: Impact on Women’s Experiences of IPV      19

CBT reduces instances of IPV     19

Other financial empowerment programs reduce instances of IPV 20

No Change in IPV           21

CBT increases instances of IPV   21

Gaps in the Literature   23

Application of an Intersectionality Perspective   23

Thesis Purpose 24

Chapter 3: Methodology            25

Study Design    25

Data Collection Site       26

Sampling and Recruitment         26

Data Collection Tools and Piloting           27

Conducting In-Depth Interviews (Fieldwork)       29

Ethics and Informed Consent     29

Transcription and Translation    30

Data Analysis    31

Student Contribution    33

Chapter 4. Manuscript  34

Chapter 5. Discussion   65

Summary          65

Findings             66

Household Decision-making: Women in Control of Domestic Responsibilities and want more Control of Financial Decisions    66

Economic Coercion Present in Communities: Men Control Household Income             66

Form of Transfer Received: Preference for Cash but Voucher is Safer       68

Limitations and Strengths           69

Implications for Future Research             70

Implications for Programs and Global Health and Development Implementing Organization Policy        71

Conclusion        72

References        73

Appendix A: Demographic Information 78

Appendix C: Interview Guide, Spanish    84

Appendix D: Emory Institutional Review Board Letter      90

Appendix E: Codebook 92

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