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Enabling Sustainable Graduation out of Poverty for the Extreme Poor in Malawi: The Role of Gender Targeting and Couples Training.
Last registered on May 06, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Enabling Sustainable Graduation out of Poverty for the Extreme Poor in Malawi: The Role of Gender Targeting and Couples Training.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007605
Initial registration date
May 06, 2021
Last updated
May 06, 2021 6:17 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Trinity College Dublin
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank
PI Affiliation
Trinity College Dublin
PI Affiliation
Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-06-01
End date
2022-10-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract

This study will assess the effect of the Graduation model in Malawi on gender empowerment and household welfare outcomes in married couples. The Graduation Model is a 'big push' intervention designed to move people out of poverty by addressing the many challenges of extreme poverty by simultaneously boosting livelihoods and income and providing access to financial services. The Graduation program will be run over an 18 month period, with the first cohort receiving the program from November 2018 to June 2020, and the second one between October 2019 – June 2021. The research will estimate the impact of three distinct version of the graduation intervention, 1) the graduation program targeted at the female spouse, 2) the graduation program targeted at the male spouse and 3) the graduation program targeted at the female spouse but with an additional couple's empowerment training.
Registration Citation
Citation
Bedi, Tara et al. 2021. "Enabling Sustainable Graduation out of Poverty for the Extreme Poor in Malawi: The Role of Gender Targeting and Couples Training.." AEA RCT Registry. May 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7605-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The research is designed to address the gap on the role of gender in Graduation program outcomes. The research will estimate the impact of three distinct versions of the Graduation Model on gender empowerment and household welfare outcomes. The three proposed versions tested are as follows: 1) the graduation program targeted at women; 2) the graduation program targeted at men, and; 3) the graduation program targeted at women but with an additional couples’ empowerment training called ‘Transforming Gender & Power Relations’ that is rolled out through 12 monthly group sessions. Each intervention will be delivered to 600 households randomly selected in Mangochi and Nsanje, with 300 households in each district receiving each version of the proposed program. There will be an additional 750 households in each district who will act as control households.

The Graduation intervention in Malawi is a 18-month intense, multifaceted intervention but the research project will be spread over five years to allow for the estimation of medium term effects. The Randomized Control Trial (RCT) will rely on three rounds of a quantitative survey per cohort. A baseline (Q2 2018/19), midline (Q3 2020/21) and an endline (Q3 2021/22) survey will be conducted to capture key welfare measures, as well as important measures of empowerment, IPV and spousal cohesion. The quantitative research will be complemented by qualitative research.
Intervention Start Date
2018-11-01
Intervention End Date
2021-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Economic outcomes: income, savings, likelihood of being employed, time use, likelihood of having a business and business revenue, livestock ownership;
- Well-being outcomes: well-being index, health, food security, consumption, education, social standing, future expectations;
- Gender outcomes: intra-household decision making, empowerment, gender norms, relationship quality and intimate partner violence
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Through the use of a poverty index, our implementing partner, Concern Worldwide, identified the two districts with the highest poverty score, Mangochi and Nsanje, for implementing the Graduation program in. Within this, they selected sub-districts (VDCs) that they would implement the program in. The pilot intervention will be evaluated using a clustered randomized controlled trial (RCT). The randomisation will be conducted at the village level, where Concern Worldwide will be implementing their Graduation program in.

Treatment villages are randomly allocated to one of three treatment options: 1) the graduation programme targeted at women; 2) the graduation program targeted at men, and; 3) the graduation program targeted at women but with an additional couples’ empowerment training called ‘Transforming Gender & Power Relations’. In treatment village, 12 eligible households will be randomly selected to receive treatment.

In order to be eligible, the households had to meet the following criteria:
• The household had to be classified as poor through a wealth ranking or a proxy means test.
• The household head is married and his spouse lives within the household
• Both head and spouse are willing and able to participate in an Income Generating Activity.
• Both head and spouse reside at the household at least 60% of the year.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
* Both village and household randomisation were done on a computer using Stata, a statistical software.
Randomization Unit
We identified 200 villages, 100 per district, based on each village having at least 20 eligible households in the village. We then randomized across villages, assigning 50 villages as pure control villages and the remaining as treatment villages. After our baseline, we did our next round of randomization, which involved 3 steps. First, we randomized the treatment villages into the three treatment arms. Second, in treatment villages, we randomized 12 households to receive treatment, and the remaining 6 as control households. Third, we randomized all treatment and control villages into cohort 1 and cohort 2, with the first treatment cohort starting with the program in November 2018, and the cohort 2 starting in 2019.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
3300 households: 12 households in control villages, 12 treatment households and 6 control households in treatment villages
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
- 600 control households in 50 control villages
- 600 treatment households plus 300 control households in 50 treatment 1 villages: Graduation targeted to the female spouse
- 600 treatment households plus 300 control households in 50 treatment 2 villages: Graduation targeted to the male spouse
- 600 treatment households plus 300 control households in 50 treatment 3 villages: Graduation targeted to the female spouse with couples training.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In order to identify the sample size required for this evaluation, we performed a number of power calculations. When research costs and implementation costs come from the same budget, we can maximize power (given an overall cost) by allocating a larger sample to the control group than the equal split. To understand the intuition, starting from the equal split, allocating units from treatment to control will result in a overall cost reduction but also loss of power because of the imbalance. However, the latter could be more than offset if we use the part of the cost reduction to boost total sample size. But of course, this will have a limit. As the loss of power increases more than linearly with the imbalance, the loss of power might not be offset if the sample is already highly unbalanced (McConnell and Vera-Hernandez, 2015). This structure allows us to detect a minimum detectable effect size (MDES) of 0.25 standard deviation for continuous variables (which equates to a 10% increase in consumption) when comparing treatments. Consumption data is taken from the recent LSMS Malawi survey and for the poor only. As we are most interested in the effect differential effect of the different treatments, this power calculation is of first order importance. The cluster RCT proposed here allows for the detection of a MDES of 0.16 standard deviations (6% change in consumption) for each individual treatment arm to the control. This comparison tells us what is the impact of an individual treatment compared with the counterfactual of no intervention. For gender empowerment measures, we focus on the typical LSMS question “Decision on use of wife's cash earnings: joint or only wife”, which has a baseline value of 75.7%. The first order comparison between treatment groups, allows us to detect a MDES of 10-percentage points. If the structure of the data allows we will endeavor to use an ANCOVA model rather than difference in difference methodology to help improve power.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action Institutional Review Board 0004745
IRB Approval Date
2017-11-17
IRB Approval Number
14490
IRB Name
National Committee on Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities (NCRSH)
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-15
IRB Approval Number
NA
IRB Name
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee-Trinity College Dublin
IRB Approval Date
2018-07-18
IRB Approval Number
NA