Monica is in Senior 1 at Rumbek National Secondary School. She invited us to join her to the market with her two friends, Hellena and Martha, to get an idea of what girls are spending their GESS Cash Transfer money on.
According to our research, spending patterns have remained consistent since Cash Transfers started in 2014. Uniforms, shoes and exercise books are the most frequently purchased items (77%, 54% and 53% respectively). School bags, pens and pencils are also common purchases (44% and 32% respectively). Personal items, such as soap and sanitary pads, which play an important role in preventing dropout were purchased by 39% and 32% of girls respectively.
Monica immediately ran towards a colourful stall selling pens and exercise books. “This is something I really need for lessons and homework.” With an array of books and pens in hand, Monica decided that she would take the remaining money home to plan out the rest of the spends with her mother. “I would really like to purchase a new school bag, soap and some sanitary towels.”
“It helps because I don’t have to ask my parents to buy my school materials again.” There have been times when they have been unable to provide her and her siblings with all of the scholastic materials that they need to attend school. “There was a time when I didn’t think my parents would be able to get me to secondary school. The money from GESS means I can get all of the things I need.” If she wasn’t in school, Monica says she would have a difficult life; “I would be in the village, cultivating, maybe maize or sorghum.”
Our research suggests that Cash Transfers have had a positive impact at the household level. Households who received Cash Transfers reporting that they had reduced financial pressures and freed up money for both education and non-education related purchases, such as food and medicine.
Girls who were validated in 2018 have been paid in 2019 and payments are almost complete. As of the 9th September, over 260,000 individual girls have received the money, which accounts for 94.4% of all validated girls.
Girls in classes Primary 8 and Senior 4, who will be sitting their final examinations this year, will receive an extra payment in November. This is to ensure that girls in P8 and S4 are equipped to deal with the higher financial pressure associated with these examinations. Girls in P5 that were not validated last year will go through validation in order to receive their payment in November.
The second phase of the GESS programme will test different Cash Transfer value amounts to different classes. This is to improve on girls’ retention and transition as they get older and are faced with different challenges and needs. Lessons learnt from these payments will inform our cash programming going forward.
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