Last registered on July 20, 2015


Trial Information

General Information

Initial registration date
July 20, 2015

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
July 20, 2015, 1:06 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

NHH Norwegian School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The ambition of this project is to evaluate the impact of an inclusive microfinance program called 'We can manage!', targeting disabled people, and women in particular, in rural Uganda. The project aims at measuring impact on entrepreneurship, confidence, preferences, social attitudes, locus of control, family living conditions including school outcomes for the children, well-being and happiness.

The idea behind the program is to reduce financial barriers and build capacity and confidence among the participants in the microfinance program, and to reduce prejudice in society by demonstrating the ability of women and disabled to manage and mobilize resources.

Key questions of our research are: Does the 'We can manage!' program improve the livelihoods of the participants in these groups, and in particular the disabled and their families? Does it make them more confident? Does it reduce prejudice in society? Clearly, if the program has a positive impact on these (or related) dimensions, it will have improved the situation for perhaps the most vulnerable group in society: the disabled (females) in the rural area of a poor country.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bjorvatn, Kjetil. 2015. "WeCanManage." AEA RCT Registry. July 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.769
Former Citation
Bjorvatn, Kjetil. 2015. "WeCanManage." AEA RCT Registry. July 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/769/history/4815
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Experimental Details


“We Can Manage!” (WCM) is a village savings and loans association (VSLA) organized by the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), targeting females and disabled people in rural Uganda. Each group in the association consists of 30 members, where the majority of both management and group members are female or disabled. The group members meet on a weekly basis, where each member saves one to five shares, each share typically worth 2000 Ush (0.8 USD).The saving is recorded in the savings book of the group. There is also saving for an emergency fund, typically 500 Ush per week. Loans are given to group members according to demand and need. NUDIPU helps organize the groups and provides training during the first year, on how to manage the group, savings, and loans, but does not provide any direct financial assistance.

The savings- and loans cycle is typically one year, after which there is a “share-out”, when all savings and interest payments are divided by the number of shares and paid out. The group then decides on whether to start a new cycle or not. In most cases, they do. VSLAs function like small, unregulated financial institutions, providing members with an accessible source of credit, a safe place to save regularly, and a solidarity fund for emergencies.

VSLAs stimulate savings by offering people a safe place to store their money (in VSLAs, money is stored in a cashbox, locked with three padlocks, and with three different members holding a key to the box, and with the box being stored in the house of a fourth member). The possibility of moving money out of the house, and out of the sight of husbands or other family members, may be an important rationale for joining a savings group (Anderson and Baland, 2002). Perhaps equally important, the VSLAs can serve as a commitment device (in case of hyperbolic preference) and a reminder (a “nudge”) to save (Ashraf, Karlan, Yin, 2006).

The intervention consists of field promoters from NUDIPU activating the groups assigned to treatment. The activation consisted of a training program and the facilitation of the startup period in the group, including technical assistance, both in terms of how to write a constitution, how to access the saving box and keys (which are provided to the groups at cost-price), and more generally how to run the group. The groups assigned to control were not activated, but informed that they had to wait until the piloting of this program was completed (which is equivalent to the completion of the present research project)
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will collect data on short-term outcomes from three sources of information: administrative school data, self-reported survey data, and incentivized experimental data.

1. Survey data
i. Happiness
ii. Trust
iii. Locus of control
iv. Payment of school fees

2. School data
i. Attendance
ii. School fees
iii. Performance

3. Experimental data
i. Confidence
ii. Willingness to compete
iii. Willingness to take risk

Happiness will be measured on a scale from 1-5, where 1 is “very unhappy” and 5 is “very happy”

Trust will be measured on a scale from 1-4, based on the question “How much do you trust people in your village?”, where 1 is “Not at all” and 4 is “I trust them a lot”.

Locus of control is a dummy variable, which takes the value 1 if the respondent agreed more with statement A than statement B (and zero otherwise), where statement A is “The things that happen in your life are of your own doing” and statement B is “You don't have much control over what happens in life, or in the direction your life is headed”.

School fees is the response to the question: “For how many children do you pay school fees?”

Attendance is a dummy for whether the child was present at school at the time of the school visit, with the identity of the child being confirmed by the research team.

We will also ask questions about attendance, payment of various school fees, and the child’s performance based on school records. However, based on experience from a pilot in March 2015, we know that these records will sometimes be unavailable and incomplete. We shall therefore consider Attendance as the main school outcome.

Confidence is based on expected performance in a memory game. The participants were shown 10 items for 15 seconds, and then asked to name as many of these items as possible. They were also told that other villagers had conducted the same exercise. Before playing the same game one more time, they were asked (1) how many items they thought they would remember (0-10), and (2) how many they thought the other villagers on average had remembered (0-10). Confidence is measured as the difference between the first and the second question, where a person is said to be more confident the more positive is this difference.

Willingness to compete is a dummy taking the value one if the participants choose the competition rate, and zero if they choose the fixed rate, in the memory game, where the fixed rate is 1000 Uganda Shilling for each item remembered, and the competition rate is 2000 Uganda Shilling for each item remembered, but only if the number of items remembered was at least as high as the village average, and zero otherwise.

We will also ask a question about Willingness to take risk, is an un-incentivized measure, based on the response to the following statement: “I am willing to take risks, in general”, where the scale ranged from zero to 10, with zero indicating “No, I am completely unwilling to take risks, in general” and 10 “Yes, I am completely willing to take risks, in general”. Since this is un-incentivized, and we don’t have a strong prior as to the direction of the treatment effect, we do not consider this to be a main outcome variable.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We initially recruited 75 groups from Manafwa, in Eastern Uganda. The target number of participants in each group was 30. A baseline survey was conducted during July and August 2013, with a total of 1916 participants. The survey contained a broad set of questions on socio-economic background, business knowledge, financial practices, confidence, optimism and trust. The implementation of the project was facilitated by NUDIPU, and with local clearance through meetings with the Executive Committee of Manafwa District Union (Disability leadership) as well as with the District Local Council leadership.

The groups were subsequently randomly allocated to the control group or to the treatment group. The treated groups were activated by NUDIPU Field Promoters in the period December 2013 – March 2014.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization procedure was as follows: First, in order to minimize spillovers between treatment and control groups, we constructed 63 unique “locations”, where a location could consist of more than one group in case a village supplied members into multiple groups. The groups linked by common village membership would then belong to the same location. In contrast, when a village only supplied participants into one group, the location would consist of a single group. Second, we randomly allocated the locations to treatment (31) or control (32). There are 35 groups in the treatment locations, and 40 groups in the control locations.
Randomization Unit
We randomized at the location level. In each location, the unit of observation is all the group members.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment: 31
Control: 32
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size (a-list) was powered to detect changes in payment of school fees. We know from baseline that 70% of the parents report that at least one child has been sent away from school due to lack of payment of school fees. This is consistent with the numbers reported to us from established WCM groups in Tororo and Kumi in a pilot study that we conducted April 2015: 70% reported to have been forced to hold children home from school due to the non-payment of school fees. The pilot revealed that, today, only 28% of them had similar problems. With an average of 7 parents on the a-list in each group, and taking into account clustering, we have a power of at least 90% (with a 5% confidence interval) to detect a 20 percentage point reduction in non-payment of schools fees.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: 890759f830367f47bf46ba8890d3b070

SHA1: 5acacc6a1957751eda895b5c47e0a66501812145

Uploaded At: July 20, 2015


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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
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