Community-based targeting (CBT) is a prominent design feature of social protection programming in many low- and middle-income countries. In its simplest form, it occurs when community groups or intermediary agents are contracted to identify recipients for cash or in-kind transfers. While development agencies have accumulated significant knowledge regarding other household targeting methods, there is less empirical knowledge regarding the various forms of CBT adopted in social transfer programming, the outcomes of targeting or the governance and operational aspects of CBT implementation.
ODI was commissioned in 2012 to carry out a review of the published and grey literature (operational documents or unpublished notes and reports) on CBT programming and to synthesise learning on CBT design, implementation and outcomes to inform future research and programming. This working paper discusses the performance of community-based targeting approaches in the implementation of social protection programmes in the Global South. It highlights the diversity of existing CBT approaches and draws key lessons from the literature to promote an understanding of the opportunities and constraints relating to the adoption of CBT. This working paper’s scope is limited to material published prior to 2013.