We are excited to announce a new partnership for “No Lean Season,” a program in our Beta portfolio to reduce seasonal income insecurity. The full press release is below.  

Photo credit RDRS Bangladesh.

For Immediate Release

Evidence Action and RDRS Bangladesh announce partnership on “No Lean Season,” to reduce seasonal income insecurity.

May 9, 2016 (Washington, DC) Evidence Action, a global development organization focused on scaling rigorously-evaluated programs, and RDRS Bangladesh, a leading development organization in northern Bangladesh, today announced a four-year partnership.  

The partnership will field-test and promote ‘No Lean Season,’ an innovative anti-poverty intervention aimed at reducing seasonal income insecurity in poor rural communities. No Lean Season will reach 310,000 low-income households in Northern Bangladesh in the next four years.

Evidence Action received an $800,000 inaugural investment from Good Ventures for 2016.

“If No Lean Season delivers for poor families, it has the potential to bring tangible benefits for millions of people in the next 5 years.” says Karen Levy, Director of Global Innovation at Evidence Action.“High-quality evidence shows that No Lean Season increases household income by 86%. We’ve also measured sizable increases in caloric intake for every household member, including children. This amounts to an additional meal a day during a very vulnerable period. We have great hope that this program will prove to be effective at scale, and we are excited to work with RDRS to achieve that vision.”

No Lean Season provides a small cash subsidy to rural poor households suffering from income insecurity during the ‘lean season,’ the period before the harvest when there are few labor opportunities and severe income insecurity. This travel subsidy allows very poor households to temporarily send a family member to a larger labor market to generate income.  

Research showed significant improvements in household welfare (including improvements to consumption and nutrition) for the recipients of the travel subsidy, an effect that held even in subsequent years. The intervention’s impacts were assessed by several randomized controlled trials led by Dr. Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University, and Innovations by Poverty Action, an organization that conducts gold-standard impact evaluations. The research was funded by the International Growth Centre (IGC). Dr. Mobarak is an advisor to the program.

The Copenhagen Consensus recently called No Lean Season one of the top “Smarter Solutions for Bangladesh.”

Seasonal income insecurity is an important dimension of poverty in many parts of the world, affecting about 300 million people globally, where seasonal food insecurity is common for landless poor people. Moving temporarily to a different labor market allows individuals to bridge this jobless period and earn needed income.  


About Evidence Action

Evidence Action, a Washington DC-based organization, scales proven development solutions to benefit millions of people affected by poverty. Evidence Action implements cost-effective interventions whose efficacy is backed by substantial rigorous evidence. It currently runs the Deworm the World Initiative and Dispensers for Safe Water, interventions that benefit a combined 320 million people. Its Beta program evaluates and tests promising interventions targeting poor households for their suitability to scale.

About RDRS

RDRS is a local Bangladeshi organization with more than 40 years of experience working with the rural poor in the economically vulnerable Northern region of the country. RDRS promotes meaningful political, social, and economic empowerment, quality of life, justice, and a sustainable environment for the poor and marginalized. The organization is currently operating in 13 districts, serving close from 2 million participants.

About No Lean Season

  • Provides a small ($13-19) cash travel subsidy that affords poor rural households to send a member to a larger labor market.

  • Addresses seasonal income insecurity, an issue affecting 300 million poor people globally.

  • Repeated randomized controlled trials showed significant benefits for program recipients: Increased income by 86% in the 2014 trial, increased caloric intake of households by 758 calories per person per day (or almost one extra meal per person per day) in the 2008 trial.

  • 25% of recipients also re-migrate the following year even without an additional subsidy, making this a highly leveraged intervention.

  • Targets 310,000 households in the next four years in Northern Bangladesh in partnership with RDRS, a large Bangladeshi organization focused on rural poverty.  

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