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Study Overview

Impact Evaluation of Mercy Corps' BEGE: Life Skills Training on Food Security, Economic Resilience, and Psychosocial Wellbeing in Nigeria
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This evaluation by of Mercy Corps’ Broadening Emergency and Graduation Efforts (BEGE) activity in Nigeria, focuses on delivering lifesaving, life-sustaining interventions and enhancing adaptation of displaced, returned, and host households to shocks and systemic constraints within crisis-evolving Borno State. This impact evaluation aims to measure the effect of a common humanitarian approach in crisis contexts – providing technical skills training followed by an asset transfer – compared to an add-on life skills training on households’ food security, economic, and psychosocial wellbeing outcomes. 



Registration Citation:
Health, Nutrition, and Population
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
Psychosocial Wellbeing
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Reimar Macaranas
Casual Design
Name of Second PI:

Study Sponsor

The Humanitarian Assistance Evidence Cycle (HAEC)
Study Sponsor Location:
United States

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Casual Design
Type of Organization:
Private firm
United States

Intervention Overview


The primary objective of BEGE is to improve the economic and psychosocial well-being of households affected by food insecurity and financial constraints in Nigeria. The program targets households in Borno State, particularly those affected by conflict and displacement. This study focuses on one component of the BEGE activity that aims to transition host and internally displaced person (IDP) households from humanitarian assistance (food aid) into early recovery through livelihood training and related support. These interventions target host community households with access to farmlands, IDPs that move from formal camps to settle into the host community, and households that received food aid in the past but have shown progress on food security and nutrition indicators to graduate to early recovery interventions. The households are targeted to receive a package of the following interventions with the goal of graduating them out of the humanitarian caseload:

  • Food assistance for four rounds during the lean season (4 months).
  • Multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA), a one-time capital injection of approximately 60 USD that all households receive.
  • Technical training on agricultural and livestock production to improve their food availability and access through their own production and market engagement.
  • Asset transfer of small ruminants and feed. Households receive either goat or poultry and accompanying feed.
  • Other interventions such as provision of fuel efficient stove; WASH or shelter support; supplementary nutritional assistance in cases of malnutrition and pregnant or lactating women; and protection and adolescent safe spaces.

Additionally to the existing package, participants will receive life skills training.

Theory of Change:

The theory of change for the Borno Empowerment and Livelihoods Improvement Programme (BEGE) outlines several key aspects that the impact evaluation will focus on. BEGE aims to improve the economic and psychosocial well-being of vulnerable households in Borno State, Nigeria, by addressing food insecurity and financial constraints. The intervention includes for shock-affected households, life skills training in addition to a combination of food assistance during the lean season, alongside technical livelihood skills and asset transfers that capitalize on their pre-existing skills and capacities, can effectively enhance household food security, and graduate these households out of the humanitarian caseload.

These mechanisms serve as the pathways through which the program seeks to create lasting positive changes in the lives of its beneficiaries. By understanding these mechanisms and how they interact within the context of BEGE, the impact evaluation aims to provide insights into the program's effectiveness in improving the well-being and economic stability of vulnerable households in Borno State.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Mercy Corps
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
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Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
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Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

The evaluation utilizes a mixed-methods approach to comprehensively assess its impact on participating households. The quantitative component employs a cluster randomized controlled trial (C-RCT) method with the intervention being assigned at the community level. Half of the clusters would be randomly selected to receive the control package, and the other half would receive the treatment package, with the sole difference being the add-on life skills training. To ensure comparability between the treatment and control groups, the study uses a matching procedure based on pre-intervention indicators, conducted as a multi-step process to create matched pairs of clusters within each LGA. 

Regression analysis will be employed to measure the impact of add-on life skills training on all outcomes between the treatment and comparison groups. All variables will be analyzed at the household level. The evaluation activities will use Ordinary Least Squares for continuous outcomes and linear probability models for binary outcomes. The ANCOVA model will only be used to measure impact on food security outcomes. Robustness checks, such as balance tests, attrition analysis, and sensitivity analyses, are conducted to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.

Additionally, primary qualitative data will also be collected as part of the study using semi-structured interviews. Respondents for qualitative interviews will be conducted with a subset of the quantitative sample and will be selected purposively based on the quantitative data. 

The evaluation also includes a cost-economy and cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the efficiency of the BEGE program in achieving its intended outcomes.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

The evaluation focuses on several key outcome variables across economic, food security, and psychosocial domains: 

  • Food security outcomes: Percent of households with poor, borderline, and acceptable Food Consumption Scores (FCS), Mean and median Reduced Coping Strategy Index (rCSI), and Percent of households with little to no hunger, and moderate Household Hunger Scale (HHS) scores.
  • Economic outcomes: Financial and economic indicators on income, consumption (expenditure), debt, savings, production, livelihood diversification, and build of productive assets will be measured to understand how life skills translate into improved spending habits, regular savings, effective debt management, agricultural production management, and livelihood strategies at the household level.
  • Psychosocial outcomes will be measured using the aspirations and confidence to adapt index from  USAID’s resilience measurement framework.
Unit of Analysis:

This study seeks to understand what works to graduate conflict-affected households out of humanitarian assistance into early recovery/resilience. Specifically, the impact evaluation aims to answer three primary research questions:

  1. How do food security outcomes vary for households that receive technical livelihood training, compared to those that receive technical livelihood skills and an “add-on” life-skills component?
  2. How do economic outcomes vary for households that receive technical livelihood training, compared to those that receive technical livelihood skills and an “add-on” life-skills component?
  3. How do psychosocial outcomes vary for households that receive technical livelihood training, compared to those that receive technical livelihood skills and an “add-on” life-skills component?
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
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Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
The are 853 households (17 clusters) in the control group and 653 households (17 clusters) in the treatment group.

Supplementary Files

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Outcomes Data

The data set used to measure outcomes in the evaluation of (BEGE) comprises responses from household surveys conducted in Borno State, Nigeria. These surveys gather detailed information on various aspects related to economic activities, food security, coping strategies, household hunger scale, and psychosocial factors. The data set includes responses from households that have participated in BEGE interventions. Additionally, qualitative data from semi-structured interviews will be collected.
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Treatment Assignment Data

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Data Analysis

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Study Materials

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Registration Category

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

Completion Overview

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Preliminary Report:
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Data Availability

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Other Materials

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Study Stopped