The Role of Stomach Infrastructures on Children’s Work and Child Labour in Africa: Systematic Review

Dagim Dawit Gonsamo, Herman Hay Ming Lo, Ko Ling Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Child labour remains a prevalent global concern, and progress toward eradicating harmful children’s work appears to have stalled in the African continent and henceforth, integrated social policy intervention is still required to address the problem. Among several forms of social policy interventions, stomach infrastructure (i.e., in-kind and/or cash transfers) have been a key policy approach to support vulnerable families to lighten households’ resources burden, which forces them to consider child labour as a coping strategy. There is growing evidence on the impacts of these programs in child labour. However, this evidence is often mixed regarding children’s work outcomes, and the existing studies hardly describe such heterogeneous outcomes from the child-sensitive approach. To this end, a systematic literature search was conducted for studies in African countries. From 743 references retrieved in this study, 27 studies were included for the review, and a narrative approach has been employed to analyse extracted evidence. Results from the current study also demonstrate a mixed effect of in-kind and cash transfers for poor households on child labour decisions. Hence, the finding from the current review also demonstrates a reduced participation of children in paid and unpaid work outside the household due to in-kind and cash transfers to poor households, but children’s time spent in economic and non-economic household labour and farm and non-farm labour, which are detrimental to child health and schooling, has been reported increasing due to the program interventions. The question remains how these programs can effectively consider child-specific and household-related key characteristics. To this end, a child-sensitive social protection perspective has been applied in this study to explain these mixed outcomes to inform policy design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8563
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2021


  • Cash transfer
  • Child labour
  • Child-sensitive
  • Social protection
  • Social transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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