Analysis of anticipatory action to combat flood- and drought-induced food insecurity in Somalia

Last registered on September 20, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Analysis of anticipatory action to combat flood- and drought-induced food insecurity in Somalia (Pilot)
Initial registration date
September 18, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 20, 2023, 11:23 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Oxford University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Oxford University
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The Somaliland region in Somalia has faced a protracted series of crises, including drought and political instability, lasting years. Locals have faced famine and may soon – according to forecasts – face acute flooding. Humanitarian agencies will be providing relief in the event of flooding events in the upcoming wet season (September-December 2023).

However, there is little evidence on when the most effective moment to provide this relief is. Typically relief reaches households after flooding events, but with advances in flood forecasting technology and emerging evidence on “anticipatory action”, there is reason to believe that relief delivered to households who are likely to be affected before a flooding event may be more effective.

In this (pilot) project we experimentally vary when subsequent support is provided and then compare outcomes (food security, income, and household behaviour) across two treatment arms: one group will receive a lump sum transfer before the shock (triggered by satellite-based forecasts) and a second group will receive the lump sum after the shock. Both groups will receive a small cash transfer just after the baseline to address immediate food security needs. Participating households will be visited twice, once at registration into the programme (Baseline) and once at the end of the rainy season (Endline) to collect information about key outcomes and how they used the support they received.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Dercon, Stefan, Michael Green and Rocco Zizzamia. 2023. "Analysis of anticipatory action to combat flood- and drought-induced food insecurity in Somalia (Pilot)." AEA RCT Registry. September 20.
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Experimental Details


This study evaluates two modalities of delivering support to households facing floods in a protracted crisis setting. Given the humanitarian imperative of providing relief to households who currently face food insecurity, all treatment arms will receive an initial package of support (comprising both mobile money and in-kind support, valued at 80% of the average household Monthly Expenditure Basket (MEB)) as determined by humanitarian working groups. This project investigates the impact of varying subsequent support.

Forecasts suggest that after years of drought, the villages in question are vulnerable to flooding in the upcoming rainy season. In line with standard status quo practice, one group will receive lump-sum support (3 times the initial support, i.e. 80% of 3 average household MEBs) after facing the shock. The second group will instead have this lump-sum support disbursement triggered by satellite-based flooding forecasts - in other words, in advance of the shock. This pilot project will use the seasonal forecast as its trigger.

Households are targeted based on their baseline vulnerability, determined through community-based targeting cross-validated with PMT criteria.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Household food security, as proxied by the number of meals skipped (by adults and by children)
2. Household income, as proxied by assets and labour
3. Household behaviour, including savings and migration
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In this project, the poorest households in villages facing food insecurity and vulnerable to flooding are being targeted. Given current food insecurity, all households will receive an initial (smaller) support package. Villages will then be randomised into two groups:

1) "Reactive" arm entails receiving a one-off support package in advance of floods, as triggered by satellite-based seasonal forecasts
2) "Anticipatory" arm entails receiving a one-off support package (of the same size) after floods

Households will receive the cash transfers and will be targeted based on their baseline vulnerability, as determined by community-based targeting cross-validated with PMT criteria.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomisation by village done in an office by a computer using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
14 Villages.
Sample size: planned number of observations
~850 recipient households.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
~7 villages 'reactive' arm with ~425 recipient households, ~7 villages 'anticipatory' arm with ~425 recipient households.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Central University Research Ethics Committee (CUREC)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number