Evaluation of Resilient Economic Development (RED) intervention in Malawi

Last registered on March 31, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Evaluation of Resilient Economic Development (RED) intervention in Malawi
Initial registration date
March 31, 2022

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
March 31, 2022, 3:30 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Bocconi University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Trinity College Dublin
PI Affiliation
World Bank

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.

The Resilient Economic Development gains (RED) program will be implemented by Save the Children in rural villages in the Zomba district of Malawi. The 5-year multifaceted program will focus on improving child health and developing the resilience capacity of Malawian households through a package of interventions that target livelihood strengthening and diversification as well as education. The evaluation is designed to test the impacts of the full package of interventions in treatment clusters (groups of villages) relative to control clusters.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gars, Jared, Selim Gulesci and Diego Ubfal. 2022. "Evaluation of Resilient Economic Development (RED) intervention in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. March 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8503-1.0
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Experimental Details


The RED program is organized around three primary objectives: (i) increased predictable year-round household income and expenditure on children; and (ii) improved diets from sustainable food systems for children under-five, adolescents and women, especially pregnant and lactating women. To achieve these overall objectives, the program will implement two components of activities. The first component includes specific interventions to increase household income, which include training and organization of marketing clubs to increase farmers’ connections to value chains, establishing village savings and loans groups, providing vocational and business training to develop the skills and marketability of youths and women of childbearing age and link them to relevant industries, establishing a scheme to distribute goats and encouraging the rearing of livestock. The second program component will complement these interventions and promote investment in child wellbeing. Care groups will be established to increase knowledge about practices related to breastfeeding and complementary feeding, to train women and youths in shopping, farming, and cooking for proper nutrition, and to improve households’ knowledge of proper techniques in water and sanitation.

All households in the treatment group are eligible to receive both components of RED program, while all households in the control group are will not receive either of the two primary components. In the study area, there is also a third component that seeks to ensure that economic and nutrition pathways are protected from shocks and stress. All villages in the treatment and control villages will receive the third component. The programing for the third component will build the capacity of disaster risk management structures and volunteers such that they can effectively support the communities, in particular youth and women, to protect their lives, property, health, livelihoods, and productive assets, as well as environmental assets, while promoting and protecting children and human rights. The evaluation is therefore designed to test the additional impact of the package of interventions in the first two components of the program over and above that of the interventions in the third component.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We aim to test the impact of the multifaceted program on a range of key outcomes including household income, consumption, activity choice, poverty status and child wellbeing, including education utilization, anthropometric outcomes and child marriage. The evaluation also aims at describing the mechanisms through which the program affects the main outcomes, including mothers’ parenting and sanitation knowledge, household livelihood diversification, dietary change, market linkages and child development outcomes.

The key questions that guide the evaluation are:
1. Does the RED program improve agricultural production, household income, consumption and poverty status?
2. What is the impact of the RED program on promotion of market linkages?
3. What is the impact of the RED program on mothers’ parenting and sanitation knowledge?
4. What is the impact of the RED program on children’s health and educational outcomes?
5. Through what mechanism(s) does the RED program work?
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This evaluation is a cluster-randomized control trial in which clusters of villages delineated within the same group village head (GVH) are randomly assigned to either receive the full package of RED program, including its three components (i.e., treatment group) or to only receive the interventions in the third component of RED program (i.e., control group). We measure impacts by collecting data on households located within these clusters. The project implementation will take place both at the cluster and household levels. The use of the clusters as the unit of randomization (instead of the household or villages) was chosen to minimize spillovers in information sharing and participation in certain program components, such as market clubs. The study design includes stratification at the GVH level. There are, on average, two or more clusters within each GVH.

During baseline data collection, eligible households residing in the target clusters with (i) children aged 5 years or less (ii) women of childbearing age (15-49) and (iii) youth aged 16-24 who had dropped out of school were randomly selected for data collection. A subset of roughly 24 households were selected per cluster. All surveyed households in treatment clusters were eligible to receive all three components of the RED program package.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization unit is a cluster of villages
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
82 clusters split equally into control and treatment
Sample size: planned number of observations
The total number of household observations at baseline is 1934 (970 in control and 964 in treatment)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
41 clusters in the control group and 41 clusters in the treatment group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bocconi Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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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