Download StudyGeneral

Study Overview

Reducing women’s care burden and improving their economic wellbeing through establishment of community-based childcare centers
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
Study Status:

Background: Investing in women and adolescent girls is a proven intervention in improving the wellbeing of families and communities, boosting local and national economies, and ensuring sustainable development. However, women continue to face structural and systemic barriers which hinder their access to services, productive resources, and opportunities. Women’s labor force participation is law partly due to childcare, which limits women’s time for paid work. Thus, free or subsidized childcare services where young children can be looked after are reported in helping women to shift their time-use patterns and thus increase their economic productivity. Objective: The aim of this study is to assess whether subsidized and enhanced quality community-based childcare services can improve women’s economic wellbeing and empowerment while promoting Early Childhood Development. Methods: The research will employ a mixed-methods design. For the quantitative study, 606 mother-child pair (i.e., 303 intervention and 303 control groups) will be involved. Quantitative data will be collected in two waves, at baseline and endline, from both the intervention and control groups using a standard and validated questionnaires. The questionnaire will include household characteristics, women’s employment and income, women’s autonomy and health, partner’s characteristics, and child health, nutrition status, and development, among others. The impact of the intervention on the outcome of interest will be measured empirically using difference-in-differences analysis.  Expected outcome: The findings will provide evidence-base for the impact of quality and affordable community-based childcare services on improving women’s wellbeing and empowerment while ensuring child development.

Registration Citation:

Free or subsidized childcare services where young children can be looked after would help women to shift their time-use patterns and thus increase their economic productivity while promoting early childhood development.

Health, Nutrition, and Population
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
Women's empowerment; Child Development; Childcare
Secondary ID Number(s):
PROJECT ID: 109800

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Dr. Tefera Darge Delbiso
Addis Ababa University
Name of Second PI:
Dr. Messay G/Mariam
Addis Ababa University

Study Sponsor

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Study Sponsor Location:

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
ChilFund Ethiopia
Type of Organization:

Intervention Overview


The intervention includes establishing community-based childcare center for the child and supporting the mothers to generate their own income. Specifically, the project:

  • Supports establishment/renovation of community-based childcare centers in consultations with government and community stakeholders;
  • Provide refresher trainings,  social and behavioral communication, regular coaching, and supportive supervision for childcare workers and community facilitators;
  • Undertakes awareness-raising and knowledge delivery activities via community conversation and parenting sessions;
  • Link community-based childcare centers with relevant service providers, such as health extension, and social workers;
  • Provides training on leadership, soft skills, entrepreneurship, business and financial management skills for the women;
  • Identifies and organizes existing women’s collective agencies – Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) – and support the SHGs through Providing training on SHGs establishment and organization; Identifying viable business; Providing initial inputs/materials and capital; and Monitoring and supportive supervisions.
Theory of Change:

With a well-designed and effectively implemented community-based childcare intervention, we anticipate bringing about improved economic wellbeing of women through reducing unpaid care workload and support of IGAs. It is also anticipated that there will be increased participation of women in decision-making on their social and economic affairs and their rights that will ultimately contribute to reduced unpaid care work burden and improved economic status.

Three major interrelated problems informed the theory of change and expected results of the implementation research: (1) women’s unpaid care work burden due to lack of business/entrepreneurship knowledge and skills of women, limited access to initial capital or credit/financial services, limited involvement of men in childcare, and low awareness and wrong perceptions about women’s rights; (2) lack of affordable, safe, and scalable childcare services, especially for children under the age of 3 years; and (3) lack of sound  policy and strategic frameworks and poor implementation, particularly on Early Childhood Care and Education policy of childcare service provision as a means of ascertaining women economic empowerment.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Children Believe; and Tesfa Berhan Child and Family Development
Type of Organization:
NGO (local)/Community Based Organization/Other civil society organization

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Difference in difference/fixed effects
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (specify)
Other (not Listed) Method:
Qualitative methods

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

Impact evaluation methods, an empirical method to quantify the causal effects of interventions on the outcomes of interest, will be used to analyze what happened with an intervention compared to an empirically estimated counterfactual of what would have happened in the absence of the intervention. The difference between the observed outcomes and the counterfactual outcomes, measured using a difference-in-differences (DID) analysis, provides and estimate of the contribution of the community-based childcare program on the outcomes of interest. The DID design compares changes over time and effect of confounders in intervention and control groups; and it provides an unbiased result while accounting for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity. A p-value<0.05 will be declared as significant and used to interpret the results.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

Outcome 1: Women’s income increased.

Outcome 2: Women’s decision making power enhanced.

Outcome 3: Early childhood development indicators improved. 

Outcome 4: Nutritional status of children improved. 

Unit of Analysis:
Individual Women-Child pair

H1: The intervention imcreases women’s income.

H2: The intervention emhances women’s decision making power.

H3: The intervention improves childhood development indicators, including Communication skills, Gross and Fine motro development, and Problem solving skills.  

H4: The intervention improves the nutritional status of children. 

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Number of Individuals in Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
303 (treatment) & 303 (Control)

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

The data used to measure the outcome will be a household survey. The survey questionnaire include questions on household characteristics, income and food security situation; women’s employment, earnings, credit access, autonomy and health; partner’s characteristics; and child health, nutrition status, development and childcare diary.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

Upload Study Materials:

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:

Other Materials

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
Program Files Links or Contact:
External Link:
External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped