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Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) - Early Childhood Nutrition, Health and Development Cluster

Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF)
SIEF - Impact Evaluation Cluster Note: Early Childhood Nutrition, Health and Development


The Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund is a new multi-donor trust fund that supports research to evaluate the effectiveness of programs to improve people’s lives and alleviate poverty. The fund, which was started with the assistance of the British Government’s Department for International Development, recently announced the results of its first call for proposals. Thirty projects were picked for initial funding, among them 10 in the area of Early Childhood Nutrition, Development, and Health. Projects in this research cluster are listed below.

Building Parental Capacity to Help Child Nutrition and Health: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Location: Bangladesh
  • World Bank contact: Ayesha Vawda
  • Principal investigator: Julia Lane, American Institutes for Research
  • Timeline: March 2013 to March 2015
  • Evaluation: In Bangladesh, malnutrition among children in poor rural areas leads to high incidents of stunting and poor health, delaying development. Supporting mothers to help their children has shown some positive results, but less is known about how to engage fathers. Researchers will evaluate low-cost integrated interventions, which will combine nutrition with child stimulation for pregnant women and parents with children under the age of three.

The Medium Term Effects of a Home-based Early Childhood Development Intervention in Colombia

  • Location: Colombia
  • World Bank contact: Emanuela Galasso
  • Principal investigator: Orazio Attanasio, University College London, Institute for Fiscal Studies

  • Timeline: June 2013 to December2014
  • Evaluation: In Colombia, researchers will evaluate the medium-term effects of a home-based early childhood development intervention that seeks to improve nutrition and development in the first two years of life through home visits to encourage children’s psycho-social development and use of micronutrient supplements. The finding will be used to help policymakers and others understand the extent to which nutrition and parental involvement at an early age carry lasting effects into the medium term and how effectively such programs can be scaled up.

Piloting the First Integrated Nutrition/Workfare Social Safety Net in Djibouti

  • Location: Djibouti
  • World Bank contact: Stefanie Brodmann
  • Principal investigators: Stefanie Brodmann, World Bank; Florencia Devoto, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; and Emanuela Galasso, World Bank

  • Timeline: December 2011 to June 2015
  • Evaluation: In Djibouti, malnutrition, unemployment, and extreme poverty are key human development challenges. To address the challenge of malnutrition among children less than 24 months old, the government of Djibouti piloted a safety net intervention that combines temporary employment (one beneficiary per household) with a component to promote better nutrition through informational classes. Researchers will examine the effectiveness of linking child nutrition and workfare as a means to reducing malnutrition in very young children.

Impact of Supplemental Feeding During Pregnancy on Schooling and Cognitive Development through Adolescence

  • Location: Gambia
  • World Bank contact: Mattias Lundberg
  • Principal investigators: Mattias Lundberg, World Bank, and Sophie Moore, Medical Research Council
  • Timeline: January 2013 to June 2014
  • Evaluation: From 1989 to 1994, pregnant women in an area of Gambia were given nutritional supplements as part of a cluster randomized trial. An earlier evaluation of the trial found that the supplements reduced the prevalence of low birth weight and perinatal mortality. Children whose mothers received the supplements have been tracked, providing an opportunity to study the long-run consequences of nutrition supplements during pregnancy. Researchers will assess the impact of the supplemental feeding on the children’s schooling decisions and performance.

Making Integration the Operative Concept in the Indian Integrated Child Development Strategy

  • Location: India
  • World Bank contact: Ramesh Govindaraj
  • Principal investigators: Jed Friedman, World Bank, and Harold Alderman, World Bank
  • Timeline: November 2013 to July 2017
  • Evaluation: In India, researchers will measure the cost and impact of nutrition services and child stimulation in low-income settings by evaluating a package of services currently being offered to the youngest children in a nationwide child development program.

Early Childhood Nutrition, Availability of Health Service Providers and Life Outcomes as Young Adults: Evidence from Indonesia

  • Location: Indonesia
  • World Bank contact: John Giles
  • Principal investigator: John Straus, University of Southern California
  • Timeline: November 2012 to June 2016
  • Evaluation: In 1989, Indonesia began a program to expand access to midwives in villages. When the program reached scale in 1998, 54,000 nurses were trained in midwifery and placed in communities. Researchers will evaluate the effects of the midwife program on the educational decisions and outcomes, cognitive abilities, employment, and life satisfaction of children (who are now young adults) of mothers who had access to midwives.

Addressing Chronic Malnutrition in Madagascar

  • Location: Madagascar
  • World Bank contact: Jumana Qamruddin
  • Principal investigators: Lia Fernald, University of California, Berkeley; Emanuela Galasso, World Bank; Christine Stewart, University of California, Davis; Ann Weber University of California, Berkeley
  • Timeline: July 2012 to December 2015
  • Evaluation: Madagascar has the world’s sixth highest rate of stunting in children. Some 53 percent of all children in the country are chronically malnourished and more than one-fourth are severely malnourished. Researchers will conduct a multi-arm randomized controlled trial to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of combined interventions designed to tackle chronic malnutrition. The trial will help the government of Madagascar to enhance the quality of the current community-based nutrition program.

Randomized Impact Evaluation of Integrated ECD (Early Childhood Development) and Intensive Early Nutrition Activities among Vulnerable Communities in Mozambique

  • Location: Mozambique
  • World Bank contact: Sophie Naudeau
  • Principal investigators: Sophie Naudeau, World Bank, and Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank
  • Timeline: June 2012 to December 2016
  • Evaluation: In Mozambique, researchers will measure the effectiveness of two related programs that provide nutrition, early child stimulation, and parenting information sessions to children, pregnant women, and parents of young children. The project builds on a successful small-scale pilot intervention and will help experts in this field determine the scalability, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of such projects, and the usefulness of integrating early childhood development and nutrition programs rather than pursuing them separately.

Evaluating the Impact of Information and “Framed” Unconditional Cash Transfer on Nutritional Outcomes

  • Location: Nepal
  • World Bank contact: Gayatri Acharya
  • Principal investigators: Gayatri Acharya, World Bank, and Prashant Bharadwaj, University of California, San Diego
  • Timeline: October 2012 to October 2015
  • Evaluation: Children under the age of five in Nepal suffer from one of the highest rates of malnutrition and stunting in the world. Moreover, pregnant women tend to have sub-optimal weight gain during pregnancy. The government of Nepal seeks to rectify these problems by removing two barriers to good nutrition: lack of knowledge about nutrition and lack of income needed to make better nutritional choices. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of providing information alone or information and cash on improved nutrition for pregnant women and young children.

Cash Transfers, Parenting Training and Holistic Early Childhood Development in Niger

  • Location: Niger
  • World Bank contact: Patrick Premand
  • Principal investigator: Patrick Premand, World Bank

  • Timeline: January 2012 to June 2015
  • Evaluation: In Niger, more than 50 percent of the population is estimated to be food insecure and 22 percent of the population suffers from chronic food insecurity. As a result, half of all children are stunted for their age. The government of Niger seeks to alleviate this problem by improving nutrition and fostering holistic early childhood development through cash transfers and parenting training. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of cash transfers and of parenting classes on the nutrition, health, and cognitive development of children under the age of 5, and on the health of women of reproductive age.

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