NO LEAN SEASON: A ticket out of Seasonal Poverty

No Lean Season aims to reduce the negative effects of seasonality on the poorest in rural agricultural areas by enabling labor mobility that increases incomes.  It is a new program that we are testing in Evidence Action Beta's portfolio. 

We give a travel subsidy of $20 to very poor rural laborers so they can send someone to a nearby city to find a job during the period between planting and harvesting. This is the time in rural areas when there are no jobs, no income, and when families miss meals.

With a temporary job during this 'lean season,' households are are able to put an additional meal on the table for every member of the family each and every day. That’s 500 additional meals during the lean season. 

We are investigating several critical questions to pressure test the hypothesis that alternative strategies to food aid may be effective and cost effective means of providing seasonal income support in Bangladesh and elsewhere. 

Winning Start: Volunteer Mentoring for Remedial Education

Evidence Action is working with the Government of Kenya on a pilot program, G-United, for post-university volunteers that aims to increase social cohesion, improve student literacy outcomes, and provide unemployed college graduates with professional skills.

Rigorous evaluations conducted in India, Ghana, and Kenya have shown that a lightly trained volunteer in the classroom, working with remedial students, can be a low-cost method of improving literacy and raising standardized test scores.

Working closely with the Government of Kenya, we are supporting the development of G-United that is intended to achieve these educational outcomes, as well as other important goals, with university graduates. The initial pilot will focus on strategies for recruiting a quality cohort of volunteers, creating compelling incentives for volunteers to engage consistently with the most vulnerable children, and measuring learning and other outcomes.

NO SUGAR by Young 1ove: Innovative HIV Education in Botswana

In Botswana 21 percent of adults (aged 15-49) are living with HIV/AIDS.  Similarly high rates of infection are seen throughout Southern Africa. Teenage girls that engage in sex with older men are more susceptible to infection, since 25-year-old men are more likely to already have HIV than 16 year olds. Programs aimed at addressing risky sexual behavior have the potential to protect against the spread of HIV and reduce rates of adolescent pregnancy.

In a rigorous evaluation in Kenya, youth were given information on the increased risk of HIV/AIDS disaggregated by age and gender, resulting in a 28 percent reduction in adolescent pregnancy rates.  Do these results hold up in Botswana and elsewhere in the region where infection rates are the highest? Evidence Action is exploring partnering with Young 1ove, a non-profit based in Botswana, to implement an advocacy program there and elsewhere.

"No Sugar" targets youth through primary school visits to promote curriculum on HIV/AIDS risk disaggregated by age and gender, with emphasis on the increased risk of infection from cross-generational sex. The pilot’s implementation in 2016 was accompanied by a rigorous evaluation in conjunction with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Botswana and J-PAL Africa. The evaluation tested information delivery methods for program effectiveness and cost efficiency to inform the potential for a nationwide scale-up.

We expect a release of the results the RCT evaluating the impact of No Sugar in Spring 2017. 


COMMUNITY HEALTH PROMOTERS (NEEP): Simple Nutrition Messaging for Mothers

We are exploring the potential to use Dispensers for Safe Water’s existing rural delivery system to deliver nutrition information to targeted groups at a low marginal cost in order to reduce the impact of undernutrition and malnutrition on child health. The nutrition messaging program is modeled on the MaiMwana infant feeding intervention from Malawi.

A randomized controlled trial found that the MaiMwana program led to significant reductions in infant mortality as well as improvements in height-for-age among young children. The nutrition information provided in the program was simple and non-technical; it’s possible that our promoters could be effective as information providers.

Evidence Action is collaborating with evaluators to explore whether the initial results found in the Malawi context can be sustained at a larger scale with less intensive quality control. We will do this by using dispenser promoters for nutrition message delivery. 


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