American University of Beirut

​​​​​​​​Syrian refugee children living in an informal tented settlement in the Bekaa

Photo by: Adrian Hartrick

Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance in Lebanon: Impact Evaluation on the Well-Being of Syrian Refugees​​​


The Applied Economics and Development Research Group (AEDRG) and the C​enter for Research on Populat​ion and Health (CRPH) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) partnered with the Cash Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Organizational Network (CAMEALEON) over a 2-year period to assess the impact of multi-purpose cash (MPC) assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High​ ​Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.​

The study aimed to measure the short-term (12 m​onths or less) and long-term (more than 12 months) causal impact of the monthly $173.5 and $175 Multi-Purpose Cash (MPC) assistance ​provided by WFP and UNHCR respectively to Syrian refugee households in Lebanon over and above the $27 per person per month assistance, as well as the impact of discontinuation from MPC on the well-being of Syrian refugees. A total of 11,457 households were surveyed over multiple rounds of data collection, which constitutes one of the largest samples among impact evaluations conducted in Lebanon to date. While impact evaluations of cash assistance have been carried out in this context, this study is the first to analyze duration variability and discontinuation from cash assistance using multiple waves of data collection.

The causal impact of MPC was investigated over multiple​ dimensions of well-being, namely household expenditures, food security, housing,​ water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, employment, health and decision-making.

The key take-away messages from the study are:

  1. ​The impact of MPC materialised across most dimensions of well-being in the long-term, indicating the importance of households' access to a longer duration of MPC.
  2. The benefits of MPC fade for many indicators within 4 to 10 months after discontinuation, and households' well-being returned to pre-assistance ​levels for most indicators, and dropped slightly below the pre-assistance baseline for others.
  3. The findings would suggest that there are benefits to instituting longer cash cycles and/or linking MPC to other services through a cash-plus approach to expand and extend the positive impact of cash on beneficiary households and ensure sustainable impact.

The published report can be accessed on this link​.

​The research was funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) and UK aid from the United Kingdom (UK) government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policies of these governments.


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