Building trust through an SMS intervention to encourage attendance to early childhood services in Colombia

Last registered on February 24, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Building trust through an SMS intervention to encourage attendance to early childhood services in Colombia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008726
Initial registration date
January 05, 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
January 07, 2022, 7:26 PM EST

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

Last updated
February 24, 2022, 2:17 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes
PI Affiliation
Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar – ICBF)
PI Affiliation
Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar – ICBF)
PI Affiliation
Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar – ICBF)
PI Affiliation
Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar – ICBF)

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-09-01
End date
2022-04-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This intervention aims to determine whether SMS messages can encourage caregivers of young children (aged five or less) to increase their trust and use of in-person early childhood services provided by the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar - ICBF). Since the beginning of the pandemic, attendance for ICBF services fell substantially, with 78% of caregivers responding that the main barrier for attendance was fear of infection from COVID-19. For this trial, 719 ICBF service units nationwide were randomized into one control and two treatment groups, the first in which caregivers receive text messages designed to combat risk aversion and the second who receive messages that reinforce positive social norms that early childhood education is a civic duty. In total, 15,100 caregivers received 12 SMS messages during October and November 2021. This research will evaluate the impact of the intervention to reduce self-reported fear of COVID-19 infection among caregivers and the potential increase in attendance rates for ICBF’s early childhood education services.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Ham, Andres et al. 2022. "Building trust through an SMS intervention to encourage attendance to early childhood services in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. February 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8726
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This intervention aims to determine whether SMS messages can encourage caregivers of young children to increase their trust and use of in-person services provided by the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar - ICBF). Since the beginning of the pandemic and its ensuing lockdown measures, attendance for ICBF services fell substantially, with 78% of caregivers responding that the main barrier for attendance was fear of COVID-19. Two forms os SMS messages will be sent: the first aiming to combat risk aversion and the second to reinforce positive social norms with respect to education. The effectiveness of any SMS will be evaluated, as well as differences between the two types of text messages.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-25
Intervention End Date
2021-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Total days of attendance per month, dummy indicator for attendance.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The main constructed variable is the dummy for attendance. Given that ICBF has information on daily attendance, we can see an effect on mean number of days in which the child goes to in-person services. However, we want to observe any break points between attendance, e.g. from 0 to 1 days, from 1 to 2, days, and so on to determine if the intervention has a particular inflection point.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Responses to telephone survey on fear of covid and willingness to send their child to ICBF services, specifically: what is the main reason why your child is not attending in-person ICBF services? (multiple responses allowed)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
A telephone survey to all caregivers intends to measure the reasons for not attending before and after the intervention, in order to help understand the mechanisms that may explain any results in our primary outcomes. Note, we assume response rates between 20-50% on this survey given previous evidence on the effectiveness of these surveys.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
ICBF has 73,000 educational service units (SU) through which it provides early childhood services to children and pregnant women. In partnership with ICBF, we randomly selected 719 SU and randomly divided those units in three groups: control, treatment 1 and treatment 2. 244 service units were assigned to control group, 235 were assigned to treatment 1, and 240 were assigned to treatment 2. The first group receives text messages designed to combat risk aversion and the second receives SMS that reinforce positive social norms that education is a civic duty. These randomizations included clusters by macro regions, which guarantees that we have representative samples for all 4 macro-regions of Colombia (Amazonía-Orinoquía, Centro-Oriente, Norte, Pacífico-Occidente).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer with pre-treatment administrative data.
Randomization Unit
Clusters. Educational centers, stratified across four macro-regions (Amazonía-Orinoquía, Centro-Oriente, Norte, and Pacifico-Occidente)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
719 educational centers
Sample size: planned number of observations
15,100 children and between 25-50% of that number in the telephone surveys.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
244 educational centers in control, 235 educational centers in treatment 1 (risk aversion SMS), and 240 educational centers in treatment 2 (social norms SMS).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Days attended: Mean 2.39 (5.57). Minimum detecable effect with ICC of 0.65 estimated from pre-treatment data = 1.17 days Dummy for attendance (>2 days equals unity): Mean 0.17 (0.37). Minimum detecable effect with ICC of 0.72 estimated from pre-treatment data = 0.08 percentage points Willingness to return to in-person attendance (survey): Mean 0.62 (0.49). Minimum detecable effect with ICC of 0.22 estimated from pre-treatment data = 0.06 percentage points
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-Analysis Plan

MD5: c04beaba8170eeef89a6998a3613c9e0

SHA1: 55562d5e49b720cba08907df823136fcb2995e40

Uploaded At: January 14, 2022

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials