Supporting micro-enterprise in humanitarian programming: Clan network and business performance in Somalia

Last registered on November 20, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Supporting micro-enterprise in humanitarian programming: Clan network and business performance in Somalia
Initial registration date
November 20, 2020

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
November 20, 2020, 12:35 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Save the Children Somalia
PI Affiliation
Dalarna University
PI Affiliation
BRAC International

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Humanitarian responses in Somalia are increasingly focusing on building household resilience to shocks. A gradual shift towards supporting microenterprises, through capital grants and business training, from unconditional cash transfers manifest resilience this resilience building efforts. However, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of microenterprise development interventions. Therefore, various decisions on operationalizing such programs, such as the size of capital grant or the type of non-financial supports to be added, are rarely based on rigorous evidence. In this study, we randomly assign households to receive three different amounts of one-off business grant and compare them a control group who receive an unconditional transfer of monthly stipend. The interventions were rolled out in early 2017 followed by a short-term impact assessment 3-months after the end of transfers. This study will measure the effects of the grant size variations 3-years later. In addition to the grant size, the study will look into the role of clan relationship which is often identified as an important factor determining the success of development interventions in Somalia. For this aspect of this study, we intended to exploit the non-experimental variations in the clan identity and inter-clan relationships of the beneficiaries to see how the impact varies by this characteristic.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ali, Mohamed Kalid et al. 2020. "Supporting micro-enterprise in humanitarian programming: Clan network and business performance in Somalia." AEA RCT Registry. November 20.
Experimental Details


There are three intervention componetns that are varied among four groups of beneficiary households. These are - a) unconditional cash transfer with two monthly installments, b) one-off business grant, and c) a weeklong business training (conducted by a consultant for 1-2 hours per day).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Ownership of microenterprise, profit from the enterprise, total household income, per capita household consumption.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Profit from microenterprises will be calculated from data recalled for the 6-months prior to survey.
Total household income will combine income from enterprises, livestock rearing, crop production and wage employment in the last 6 months.
Consumption is recalled for the last one month for recurrent items (food, fuel, rent, education etc.) and for the last 6 months for infrequent items (clothes, furniture etc.). Housheold size will be used for calculating per capita expenditure.
Monetary values of profit, income and consumption will be winsorized at 95th percentile.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Amount of savings, amount of outstanding loan, business management practices, business value.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Business practices will include specific indicators on whether keeps written records of transactions, whether hired employee, whether south loan, whether does credit purchase.
Business value will combine values of shop, furniture, equipment, goods and working capital.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Because of ethical as well as feasibility concerns, we did not include a pure control group who receive no support whatsoever. Field officers of the partner organization identified 800 eligible beneficiaries following standard selection process. The community was informed that the amount of transfer received by the households are to be determined at a later stage although all the selected households will receive grants. There were four types of transfers included in the public lottery.
- Group 1: Cash transfer of USD 175, on average, in two equal instalments
- Group 2: Cash transfer of USD 175, on average, in one instalment
- Group 3: Cash transfer of USD 500 in one instalment
- Group 4: Cash transfer of USD 1,000 in one instalment
Besides the variation in transfer size, there is another important difference for Group 2, 3 and 4 compared to Group 1. For Group 1, the transfer was framed as unconditional cash transfer whereas the other three groups were told about the transfers as business grants. Beneficiaries of these three business grant groups also participated in weeklong business training conducted by a consultant for 1-2 hours per day. The training covered generic modules on planning, accounting, costing and marketing. This training took place after the business grants were disbursed, and there was no conditionality attached for the use of cash. The transfer took place in Jan and Feb of 2017 after the baseline survey. A follow-up survey was conducted in mid-2017 where 752 of the baseline sample of 795 (5 households could not be interviewed at baseline) with an attrition rate of 5.4%.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
Households stratified at community level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
800 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
800 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 in each of the four groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE for business ownership to compare any two groups in the study is 0.14 (at 0.9 power, alpha 0.05, control group mean at baseline 0.2). MDE for income from enterprise is USD 12, which is 50% of the baseline mean (at 0.9 power, alpha 0.05, control group mean at baseline 24 and SD 38.8)
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
Short-term study findings
Document Type
Document Description
Paper with results from the first follow-up survey conducted in mid-2017.
Short-term study findings

MD5: 26d01161c98eafafc3a7552ab9b28bbb

SHA1: 633fcefb38a3678bd906f3c62c6fbcfa36eae9bd

Uploaded At: November 20, 2020

Document Name
Document Type
Document Description
Instrument for the 3-year follow-up survey.

MD5: 337a9b733f4c410deca12a7349eae302

SHA1: a15156eb9f8650e4bd80f177fe736ad1555fae65

Uploaded At: November 20, 2020


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

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