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.