Update as of July 2018: With our partners, we completed the exploratory pilot in Indonesia in early 2018. This research experience sharpened our understanding of the economic conditions in the study area, as well as the operational landscape and context of Indonesia. While the preliminary results of the research are indeed promising, our experience has raised questions about the feasibility of establishing and rigorously evaluating a truly viable, scalable, and cost-effective model in this particular context. We are not fully confident that investment in a full-scale RCT, which we anticipate would require substantial resources, is currently warranted. As a result, we have suspended our initial plans and will not be pursuing further exploration of No Lean Season in Indonesia at this time. 



Karen Levy
Director, Global Innovation
(+254) 722 307 390; [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC I NAIROBI, KENYA — August 21, 2017 — Testing of No Lean Season, an innovative intervention with the potential to improve millions of lives in low and middle income countries, is expanding to Indonesia.

For three years, Evidence Action has been designing and improving No Lean Season in Bangladesh, while exploring its potential for cost-effective impact at scale through rigorous testing. Now, Evidence Action, in partnership with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and non-profits Kopernik and Pikul,  has launched an exploratory pilot in Indonesia to determine whether and how the delivery of No Lean Season can and should be adapted to a new socio-economic and geographical context. Through the pilot, Evidence Action and its partners will determine the viability and structure of a randomized controlled trial scheduled to take place in 2018.

The 2018 RCT will investigate whether providing agricultural laborers in Indonesia with financial incentives to migrate can enhance labor mobility, allow migrants to find temporary employment, and improve the welfare of their households (measured by increased income and caloric intake) during the lean season – the period between planting and harvesting when agricultural jobs are scarce and food stocks are low.

Around the world, hundreds of millions of individuals who depend on agriculture for subsistence experience pronounced hardship during the lean season. Research by Yale Professor Mushfiq Mobarak has shown that offering a “travel subsidy” which encourages individuals to migrate during the lean season can increase household incomes by up to 19 percent and household caloric intake by up to seven hundred calories per person – the equivalent of one extra meal a day.

As Evidence Action continues to test No Lean Season in Bangladesh, we are excited to explore its potential for scaled expansion to new geographies.

To learn more about No Lean Season, go to www.noleanseason.org.


Background: Evidence Action is an international nonprofit that scales evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty for millions of people. Our approach fills the gap between research about what works and solutions for people in need. We operate in ten countries across the globe and positively impact the lives of hundreds of millions every year in a measurable way.

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