“How did you spend the transfer? How is your life different after receiving the transfer?” This week Selina, Francis, and Alice answered these questions from our follow-up teams. These recipients have already received their first lump-sum payment of 40,000 KES (about $375) and are scheduled to receive one more payment of the same amount.

We noticed that all three randomly chosen recipients spent, or are planning to spend, their transfer on durable assets like building materials and furniture. This type of spending shows up in the 2013 research on GiveDirectly.

Recipients used transfers to increase asset holdings by $279 on average, or 58% over the control group. The study’s authors, Johannes Haushofer and Jeremy Shapiro wrote in their Policy Brief, “households receiving transfers are 23 percentage points more likely to have an iron roof as opposed to a grass-thatch roof.”


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Selina, age 27, lives with her husband Dennis, and two children.

How did you spend the transfer? We used the whole transfer in buying building materials (iron sheets, nails, and timber) and in paying for building labor.

How is your life different after receiving the transfer? I did not know I [could] stay in an iron-roofed house because it was expensive for us to afford.

By now, I would longer be staying in an iron-roofed house. And we also bought a cow that we are already milking.


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Francis, age 38, is separated from his spouse, and lives alone.

How did you spend the transfer? I spent 8,000 KES (about $76) in buying household [items] (bedding and furniture), and saved 30,000 KES (about $284) in my bank account.

How is your life different after receiving the transfer? My life improved because I have peace within me. And I am seeing [my] plans of buying land, going to driving school, and computer training school [all] succeeding.

Yes, I am planning to buy a piece of land, [and] go to driving school and computer training classes.

I am at peace knowing that I have some money in my account that I can withdraw at any time to meet my needs.

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Alice, age 64, is a widow. She lives alone.

How did you spend the transfer? I have only spent 5,000 KES (about $47) of the second transfer on buying food. The rest I sent to my son who is to top up and build a house for me.

How is your life different after receiving the transfer? My life is better now because I was able to treat my long illness.

My life is different now, because I was able to treat myself from my illness.

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