Caring about carework: experimental evidence on rural childcare provision

Last registered on July 26, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Caring about carework: experimental evidence on rural childcare provision
Initial registration date
July 22, 2021

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 26, 2021, 11:28 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

The World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
The World Bank

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Existing observational evidence and a nascent experimental literature suggest that women’s childcare responsibilities contribute to gender inequality in low-income countries and dampen economic growth. We contribute to this literature by conducting the first field experiment of rural childcare provision. We randomly select pairwise-matched villages in the Kongo Central province of the DRC to receive community-based childcare services for 12-14 months. Within treatment villages, half of eligible mothers are prioritized for the intervention, allowing for an estimation of spillover effects. Two follow-up surveys will be conducted to estimate impacts on women’s and households’ time-use, economic engagement, welfare outcomes and children’s development.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Donald, Aletheia and Julia Vaillant. 2021. "Caring about carework: experimental evidence on rural childcare provision ." AEA RCT Registry. July 26.
Experimental Details


Our setting is Kongo Central, a rural western province of the DRC. The DRC ranks among the poorest countries in the world. Within agriculture, which employs over two-thirds of women in the DRC, the production of women farmers is 18% lower than that of men and their productivity is 11% lower. Gender gaps are even larger when comparing men and women in the same households (World Bank 2021). The study evaluates whether rural community-based childcare provision can help close these gaps.

The intervention is a participative childcare service offered to selected (treatment) villages. The community is responsible for identifying and providing a suitable and safe infrastructure that can host the childcare centers and identifying a community member to serve as the childcare center manager (‘encadreuse’). Parents are responsible for co-financing meals.

The project equips the center identified by the community with a first aid kit, kids’ toys, basic sanitary equipment and Covid-19 prevention kits. The project also trains each selected encadreuse for two weeks using an Early Childhood Development (ECD) curriculum developed specifically for this intervention by Save the Children to ensure a high standard of care. The encadreuses follow this curriculum during the center’s opening hours to stimulate children's socio-cognitive development.

In every treated village, the number of centers is based on the number of eligible women’s children: one center if the village has 6-14 treatment children and 2 centers for 15-24 children. The project is supervised by the research team in collaboration with the DRC’s Ministry of Education.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
• Labor force participation (overall and by sector)
• Time spent on economic activities
• Time spent on carework
• Agricultural production (crop value)
• Agricultural productivity (crop value/ha)
• Child development (pre-numeracy and literacy, executive function, motor skills, socio-emotional skills)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
• Income
• Dietary diversity
• Self-reported well-being
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The sampling frame of this experiment consists of 111 villages within the DRC province of Kongo Central. A listing activity (census) was conducted across four territories (Songololo, Mbanza Ngungu, Lukula and Sekebanza) to identify these villages, which had two fulfill four primary criteria.

The community had to:
i. be accessible (as defined by our implementing partner)
ii. be interested in hosting a community childcare center
iii. be able to host a center (having a viable and safe building to host the center free of cost, as well as a woman that the community felt comfortable putting in charge of the center)
iv. have at least 10 eligible households.

Households were defined as eligible if they had at least one mother with a child aged 1 to 5 years in October 2019 that was not yet enrolled in a formal school and was interested by the childcare service.

Once this sampling frame was selected, we performed pairwise Mahalanobis matching using an optimal greedy algorithm to randomly assign eligible villages to treatment and control groups, resulting in 56 treatment villages. Childcare centers are opened in the treated villages, control village do not receive the intervention. The number of childcare centers is determined by the number of eligible children (up to 14 children per center).

We then performed a second level of randomization, so as to identify spillover effects in larger villages (>20 eligible households). This household-level randomization was conducted through a public lottery. In every treatment village, all eligible households were invited to draw green and red balls from a basket, after having drawn their ranking order. All eligible mothers in a household share the same treatment status (all treatment or all control).

Our primary experimental comparison will be between treatment households in treatment villages and control villages. In larger villages (>20 eligible households) we will also conduct secondary tests to identify suggestive differences between treatment and control households in treatment villages, and control households in treatment versus control villages.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Cluster randomization done in office by a computer and individual randomization done through a public lottery.
Randomization Unit
Household- and village-level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
111 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 1500 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The ~1500 households are repartitioned as follows:

~500 treatment households in treatment villages
~500 control households in treatment villages
~500 control households in control villages
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials