Swaziland was severely affected by drought in 2007, which reduced the national maize harvest and resulted in high levels of poverty and food insecurity, especially in rural communities. The UN and the Swaziland government identified food aid distribution as the key response to support households during the lean period. Following a feasibility assessment, Save the Children Swaziland developed a pilot project aimed at introducing cash as an emergency intervention to complement food aid. The cash transfers were delivered alongside a 50% food ration, to ensure that drought-affected households could meet both their food and non-food needs until the next harvest.
Save the Children commissioned IDS to carry out an external evaluation of the programme, to assess the impact of the intervention on beneficiaries’ ability to deal with the food and income crisis, and also to inform and influence the policy of humanitarian organisations and governments as to the appropriateness of this type of transfer in relief settings.