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Study Overview

Title:
Impact and feasibility of integrated agriculture-nutrition training through early-childhood development centres in Malawi.
Study is 3ie funded:
No
Study ID:
RIDIE-STUDY-ID-57992ac2a8598
Initial Registration Date:
07/27/2016
Last Update Date:
07/27/2016
Study Status:
Ongoing
Location(s):
Malawi
Abstract:
The purpose of this evaluation is to provide evidence on the cost-effectiveness of delivering an integrated package of nutrition specific and sensitive services (agriculture) through pre-schools and parenting groups, on the health and nutrition of young children and their households in rural areas of Malawi. The main research questions of the evaluation include: 1) What is the impact of integrating nutrition and agriculture with early childhood development (ECD) (including pre-schools and parenting groups) on feeding and child care practices, diets and nutritional status of children aged 0-5 years? 2) What is the impact of integrating nutrition and agriculture with ECD on pre-school meal provision, attendance and enrolment? 3)What are the main factors that influence the impact of the intervention on children’s nutritional status and preschool attendance? A cluster randomised trial will be implemented in 60 rural communities with preschools supported by Save the Children’s ECD program in Zomba district, Malawi. The evaluation will follow a mixed-method approach with two rounds of surveys, including a baseline and a follow-up after approximately one year of implementation.
Categories:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Health, Nutrition, and Population
Multisector
Other
Additional Keywords:
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Aulo Gelli
Affiliation:
IFPRI
Name of Second PI:
Mangani Katundu
Affiliation:
Chancellor College, U. of Malawi

Study Sponsor

Name:
PATH
Study Sponsor Location:
United States

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Chancellor College, University of Malawi.
Type of Organization:
Research institute/University
Location:
Malawi
Intervention

Intervention Overview

Intervention:
In Malawi, the national ECD program led by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare (MoGCSW ) targets all children aged 0-8 years. Community based preschools known as Community-Based Childcare Centers (CBCCs) and parenting groups are the two main components of the ECD program. The integrated nutrition and agriculture intervention is aimed at improving the diets, feeding, health and hygiene knowledge and practices in households with infants and young children. This will include promoting optimal feeding and caring practices through parenting groups; engaging parents, adolescents and other adults in the community in the planning and preparation of meals for children within CBCCs; improving agricultural production of nutritious foods and food diversification by using CBCC gardens as a learning site for communities; forming Village Savings and Loans groups to help communities save and access funds to purchase supplies for the CBCC garden and CBCC meals or to start new home gardens; and by organising farmers into collectives to increase their purchasing and selling power. The training materials and approaches used will draw on existing materials developed and validated.
Theory of Change:
Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?
Yes

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Save the Children
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Save the Children
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Yes
Start Date:
09/01/2015
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:
A cluster randomised trial (CRT) will be implemented in 60 rural communities with CBCCs supported by Save the Children’s ECD program in Zomba district, Malawi. The evaluation will combine quantitative and qualitative methods, including a baseline and a follow-up survey after approximately two years of implementation, including child, caregiver, household, CBCC and village level data collection. The 60 Communities will be randomly assigned to one of two treatment arms: 1. Control group: Communities with CBCCs supported by Save the Children’s ECD program with no nutrition or agricultural support. 2. Intervention group: Communities with CBCCs supported by Save the Children’s ECD program with nutrition and agricultural support. The proposed integrated intervention package will be implemented in 30 of the 60 rural communities after the baseline survey and extended to the control communities after the end-line survey.
Outcomes (Endpoints):
The main indicators for the evaluation are summarized below: -Food consumption: Individual intake, nutrient adequacy, diet diversity score (3-6y olds) -Household practices: Infant and young child feeding practices, dietary adequacy. Health and hygiene practices -Health & nutrition status: Anthropometry (Weight-for-age, height-for-age, weight-for- age and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) for 0-5 year olds) -Pre-school participation : Enrolment, attendance (3-6 y olds) -Agriculture: Production, sales -Gender: Women's asset ownership, time use and productivity -Meal service: Quality of CBCC meals, portion sizes, frequency.
Unit of Analysis:
Household and children.
Hypotheses:
The channels through which the intervention has an impact on nutrition involve improved diets via increased consumption of nutritious foods, and through improved nutrition, health and hygiene practices. The intervention can have an impact on diets of children enrolled in CBCCs and their siblings, through a combination of direct transfers (e.g. school meals) and indirect channels involving behaviour change campaigns promoting consumption of nutritious foods and improved nutrition practices at household level. From an agricultural perspective, the intervention focuses on increasing production in CBCC gardens and home-gardens by increasing yields through input provisions or training on farming practices. The intervention can also influence the basket of products being produced. The intervention is expected to have a positive impact on 1) Preschool enrolment and attendance, 2) Children’s diets and household diet diversity; 3) Infant and young children’s nutrition and child caring practices; 4) Agricultural production and marketed surplus. A limited impact is expected on 1) Micronutrient status, child development; school readiness; physical growth; 2) Agricultural income.
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Village
Number of Clusters in Sample:
60
Number of Individuals in Sample:
1200 households with children in 3-6 age group (primary reference age group), may also include younger siblings.
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
600 households per treatment arm

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Data

Outcomes Data

Description:
The evaluation will follow a mixed-method approach including a baseline and a follow-up after approximately one year of implementation, including child, caregiver, household, CBCC and village level data collection.
Data Already Collected?
No
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Yes
Description:
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

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:

Findings

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

Data Availability

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

Other Materials

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

Study Stopped

Date:
Reason: