Niger Country Study

The REFANI-Niger study was a cluster randomised controlled trial (cRCT) of the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of early initiation and longer duration of emergency/seasonal unconditional cash transfers on children’s nutritional status (ISRCTN 25360839).

The impact results from the study can be found here

Study Background

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population of over 18,500,000. A majority of the people in Niger depend entirely on a single and short rainy season from June to September for their crop cultivation and pasture renewal. About a fifth of Niger’s rural population is chronically food insecure, even more so during this lean season. Timely and seasonal humanitarian intervention is vital in protecting the nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups in Niger, including children under five years of age.

Concern Worldwide has been implementing cash transfer programmes (CTP) in the Tahoua region of Niger since 2010. In June 2015, Concern started a four-month European Commission funded unconditional cash transfer (UCT) programme, helping the poorest households to meet their basic needs during the lean season (June to September).

Led by the Institute for Global Health at University College London (UCL), with the support of operational partner Concern Worldwide, the REFANI Niger study assessed the effectiveness of the unconditional emergency/seasonal CTP on the nutritional status of children and mothers in Tahoua. Specifically, the study determined whether commencing the CTP earlier (in April instead of June), and extending  its duration (six instead of four months) whilst maintaining the same total cash transfer value, improved its effectiveness in reducing malnutrition in children 6-59 months of age.

The primary research question of the REFANI Niger study was whether the earlier and extended CTP reduces the prevalence of acute malnutrition in children (6-59 months) compared to the standard, shorter intervention. Some of these secondary research questions included: how does the timing and duration of the CTP affect women’s decision-making and expenditure patterns and how will the CTP affect the mothers’ behaviours in seeking health care for their children? For more information on project details and research questions, please refer to the REFANI Niger Brief.

In addition to the nutritional impact study, Action Against Hunger led on a costing analysis in Niger, which used qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the financial aspects of the programme, using a societal perspective. For more information, please refer to the REFANI Cost-Effectiveness Analysis brief


Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For more than 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 17 million people in 2019 alone.