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Undernutrition is a major public health issue worldwide. The 2017 Global Nutrition Report notes that 88% of countries suffer from a significant burden of two or three forms of malnutrition (1). Among children under the age of five, 52 million are acutely malnourished and 155 million are stunted.
To tackle the global burden of undernutrition, nutrition-sensitive interventions have been identified with a high potential to prevent undernutrition in all its forms (2). Among these, cash transfer programs are a key program modality that could allow scaling-up of interventions.
Following the presentation of the Grand Bargain agreement at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the use of cash transfers has become a key component of humanitarian assistance. Simultaneously, humanitarian actors and policy-makers increasingly recognize the need for more evidence-based interventions to support their programmes and policies.
There is strong evidence and consensus that cash transfers are efficient and effective in covering basic needs. Cash transfers offer dignity, choice and flexibility to affected populations, and play a key role in reaching food and nutrition security for all. The number of studies and reviews addressing the impact of cash transfers on nutrition is limited but growing, and multiple efforts are being made to build on the existing evidence.
The Research for Action (R4ACT) Workshop, organized by ACF and WFP (November 2017), was part of a pilot process aiming to improve the uptake of scientific evidence. It brought together stakeholders including decision-makers and technical experts from a broad range of institutions including governments, the United Nations, nongovernment organizations, academia, and donors to discuss the impacts of cash transfers on nutrition, highlighting current evidence gaps as well as implications for action by humanitarian and development actors.