Although cash transfers (CT) are hypothesized to reduce AGYW's HIV risk, little is known about the mechanisms through which CT empower AGYW. We explored the impact of a CT intervention on AGYW's sexual decision-making in order to describe the pathways through which the cash may influence risk behavior. The study employed qualitative methods involving: 20 longitudinal in-depth interviews (IDIs), 40 cross-sectional IDIs, 20 narrative IDIs, and two focus group discussions with AGYW ages 15-23 participating in a CT intervention. AGYW's conceptualized empowerment as: "independence", "hope and aspiration". Potential pathways through which CT empowered AGYW were: economic, hope and aspiration for a better future, and access to knowledge. As a result of this empowerment, AGYW reported reductions in transactional sex, experiences of intimate partner violence, and risky-sexual behaviour. A sense of responsibility developed through economic empowerment, enhanced participants' self-esteem and confidence in decision-making leading to changes in AGYW's sexual risk behaviors.
Keywords: Adolescent girls; Cash transfers; Empowerment; Sexual and reproductive health; Tanzania; Young women.