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Study Overview

Gauging the impacts of Cash for Work emergency programming in Somalia
Study is 3ie funded:
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Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
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Somalia currently faces severe drought conditions caused by five consecutive poor rainy seasons. Most of the country experienced a hotter and drier than normal Jilaal season prolonging the severe effects of the historic drought affecting pastoral communities over the past decade. The drought has had detrimental effects on harvests, livestock, and income, leading
to an unprecedented level of food insecurity (FEWSNET and FSNAU, 2022). The Famine Early Warning Systems Network and the Food Security and Nutritional Analysis Unit estimate that 6.5 million Somalis will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse acute food insecurity outcomes in 2023. Somalia currently receives large-scale humanitarian assistance to mitigate a worsening food security outcome in 2023.

FAO Somalia is contributing to the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Drought Response and Famine Prevention Plan through the “Providing Emergency Life-saving Food
and Livelihood Support to Drought-affected Communities in Somalia” project. This project seeks to improve the food security for the most drought-affected populations in rural Somalia
(FAO 2022). The project is organized around five interventions: 

  1. Cash +
  2. Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) and Cash-for-Work (CfW)
  3. Transitional Cash and Livelihood Programme (TCLP)
  4. Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM)
  5. Desert Locust Control and Surveillance

The Office of Evaluation of FAO is evaluating the first two components—the short-term cash-based interventions. This pre-analysi plan report presents the design of the Cash-for-Work intervention (CfW).

Registration Citation:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Environment and Disaster Management
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
Somalia; Cash-for-Work; humanitarian emergency; difference-in-difference
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Silvio Daidone
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Name of Second PI:
Clemencia Cosentino
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Study Sponsor

Study Sponsor Location:
United States

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Savana Consultancy and Research Service Ltd.
Type of Organization:
Private firm

Intervention Overview


Through its Cash-for-Work (CfW) intervention, FAO provides temporary employment opportunities in public projects, such as road construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of public infrastructure. The primary objective of CfW programmes is to offer income support to vulnerable individuals, while facilitating the development of essential community assets. In
2022, FAO engaged 11,300 households across 21 districts in CfW activities to provide them with a direct source of cash, while also contributing to the rehabilitation of critical productive,
rural, communally-owned infrastructure. Guided by the criteria provided by FAO, local communities identify assets in need of rehabilitation. These assets include small-scale water
and soil conservation structures like water catchments, irrigation canals, contour bunds, and feeder roads. In addition, public works may also involve small-scale bush clearing and
afforestation activities along rehabilitated water catchments.

Theory of Change:

The Cash for Work (CfW) programme revolves around its dual objectives of providing cash income to poor and vulnerable rural households affected by climate shocks, while
simultaneously restoring community assets that enhance local productivity and foster long-term development. The theory of change for this two-pronged approach in addressing
poverty and resilience is characterized by the following components:

  1. The safety net component entails the provision of cash assistance to beneficiary households as remuneration for their participation in public works. The main objective of this component is to generate income for beneficiary households. This will also: a) ensure that eligible households can meet their immediate needs, and have access to essential resources, particularly food; b) enhance household’s capacity to manage risks, leading to greater diversification of livelihood strategies; c) alleviate the psychological constraints that impede decision-making and perpetuate household poverty and vulnerability.; d) strengthen social cohesion and positive community dynamics through participation in social networks of reciprocity and formal group membership.
  2. The productive component of the CfW programme strengthens the resilience of local economies. When public works coincide with the slack agricultural season, the CfW  program can: a) create off-farm labor opportunities, diversifying beneficiaries' livelihoods in the short term; b) enhance social cohesion and trust
Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

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:
Combine difference-in-difference with inverse probability weighting

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

See pre-analysis plan


Outcomes (Endpoints):

We calculate summary indexes by adopting the standardized weighted mean approach (Anderson, 2008), using the comparison group as the default reference group for standardizing:

  1. Resilience index.
  2. Food security index

  3. Income diversification index.

  4. Self-efficacy index

  5. Social cohesion index

More detailed are provided in the Pre-Analysis plan

Unit of Analysis:

H1: CfW transfers will increase household resilience and reduce the adoption of negative coping-strategies.

H2: CfW transfers will increase food security of beneficiary households.

H3: CfW transfers will increase income diversification.

H4: CfW will improve psychological well-being.

H5: CfW will improve social cohesion.

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Number of Individuals in Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Treatment group: 840 households in 56 villages (15 households per village). Comparison group: 840 households in 56 villages (15 households per village)

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Somalia-OED CfW Pre-analysis plan.pdf
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

The household questionnaire includes the following modules: Roster and wage labor, Land, Crop use, Livestock holding, Agricultural assets, Non-farm enterprises, Consumption, Coping strategies, Transfers, Access to basic services, Subjective resilience, Social cohesion and trust, Self-efficacy
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
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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

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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:
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External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped