As part of a larger reform of its social protection system, Bangladesh expanded coverage of its nearly 30 year old conditional cash transfer programme, so it now goes to all students at public primary schools. It is also sent by mobile money. This paper explores the political economy of these changes, looking at why the government of Bangladesh decided to cut out the political middleman and give cash directly to 10 million mothers on condition their kids showed up to school and passed exams. The research was conducted with the Development Research Initiative group, with support from the Effective States & Inclusive Development research programme at Manchester University. As always, feedback is very welcome.