The PReSERVE program, implemented by Food for the Hungry, will provide an integrated set of livelihood deepening (LD) interventions aimed at improving food security and reducing poverty among vulnerable households in targeted PSNP communities in Amhara Region. The primary objective of the impact evaluation will be to measure the marginal impact of the LD interventions on improving livelihoods and food outcomes in the targeted communities.
The proposed evaluation contributes to a growing literature analyzing the effect of multifaceted “graduation models” implemented to target the reduction of poverty and broader enhancement of welfare in low-income countries (Banerjee et al. 2015, Bedoya et al. 2021, Brune et al. 2021, Bossuroy et al. 2022). Evidence has suggested that intensive multisectoral programs, often entailing asset transfers valued at $500 or more as well as consumption support, training and coaching visits, and other supplemental services can have sustained positive effects on consumption, assets, and other household-level outcomes (Bandiera et al. 2017, Banerjee et al. 2021a, Banerjee et al. 2021b). These interventions generally entail a cost per recipient household of $1000 or more, of which at least 75% is received by the household in the form of direct cash or asset transfers.
However, the evidence base around lighter-touch and lower-cost interventions is more limited. We identify livelihoods deepening as a lighter touch intervention based on the intervention services received by households: they have access to credit but do not receive asset transfers, and while they receive transfers through the PSNP, the value of those transfers based on overall PSNP programmatic guidelines is lower than what is generally observed in other graduation models. This raises the important question as to whether this lighter-touch and lower-cost model can still be effective in generating transformational livelihoods impacts – a finding that has important implications for overall program design and cost-effectiveness in the graduation model space. This project will contribute to the literature by providing new evidence about the effects of a livelihoods-focused set of interventions for an extremely poor set of households (PSNP beneficiaries) in poor communities in rural Ethiopia.