The Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF)

How do we do an impact evaluation? What needs to be considered? What the best approach? We’ve gathered together materials that can be useful to beginners an experts alike. Feel free to suggest new resources for us to include.

SIEF sponsors quarterly workshops to train regional policymakers, researchers and development field staff in the nuts and bolts of impact evaluation. Workshops use materials from the Impact Evaluation in Practice handbook available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Materials from the workshops are available on our workshops page. 





The building blocks for a successful and productive life are needed early on, when children’s brains and bodies begin to grow. Delays are hard to reverse. A solid body of evidence shows that young children who receive appropriate nutrition, health care and emotional and cognitive stimulation are better prepared for school and learning. Investing in children returns big payouts both in the short term and later on. Children who get the right start in life, starting with good nutrition and health care during their mothers’ pregnancies, will become healthier and more productive adults and are will be prepared for raising their own healthy children. SIEF-supported researchers are working to find the best and most cost-effective ways to deliver a range of early childhood nutrition, health and development programs in low-income countries. Read more about early childhood development and impact evaluation in our Cluster Note







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

  • Principal investigator: Marjorie Chinen, American Institutes for Research; Johannes Bos, American Institutes for Research
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • 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 target pregnant women and parents with children under age three with programs for nutrition and child stimulation.


Bulgaria: Closing the Early Learning Gap between Roma and Non-Roma Children in Bulgaria through Pre-School Participation: Inclusive Outreach and (Un)conditional Support Approaches

  • Principal investigator: Elise Huillery, Sciences Po
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Bulgaria, the early learning gap between Roma and non-Roma children is a challenge for parents and policymakers. While more than 75 percent of all children aged three to six nationally are enrolled in school, the majority of Roma children are not. To address this challenge, the Trust for Social Achievement, a Bulgarian NGO supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, will implement a program in more than 150 poor communities that seeks to address preschool participation in a variety of ways: encouraging active outreach to parents by local NGOs and authorities, offering free preschool for selected beneficiaries, and providing a conditional financial grant for some selected communities. Researchers will measure the effectiveness of the components - jointly and independently - in order to help policymakers understand how they can boost the number of Roma children attending preschool and improve children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development.


Burkina Faso: Reducing poverty and malnutrition in Burkina Faso through integrated early childhood interventions

  • Principal investigator: Damien de Walque, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Proper infant and early childhood development is critical to give children a healthy start to life. The challenge is especially profound in sub-Saharan Africa, where millions of young children are at risk of cognitive and physical delays because of poverty, poor nutrition and lack of stimulation. The Government of Burkina Faso, with World Bank support, is rolling out a social safety net program to improve food security and child development by giving very poor families direct cash transfers. The evaluation will look at the added benefit of interventions to improve parenting and health and nutrition practices. The results will help inform a government scale up the cash transfer program to serve as a cornerstone of the national safety net system for reducing long-term chronic poverty and building household resilience.


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

  • Principal investigator: Orazio Attanasio, University College London, Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: In Colombia, researchers will evaluate the medium-term effects of a home-based early childhood development intervention. The program 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 findings 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 such programs can be scaled up effectively


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

  • Principal investigators: Stefanie Brodmann, World Bank; Florencia Devoto, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; Emanuela Galasso, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Djibouti, malnutrition, unemployment, and extreme poverty are key human development challenges. To address malnutrition among children younger 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 of reducing malnutrition in young children.


India: Early Childhood Development for the Poor: Evaluating the Impacts in India

  • Principal investigator: Costas Meghir, Yale University
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In India, stunting from malnutrition and ill health remains a big obstacle for health child development. In the Indian state of Odisha, where more than half of young children are stunted, this evaluation will test the impact of psychosocial stimulation and nutritional education for children who are 9-15 months, providing evidence on the effectiveness of different approaches, including home visits and group meetings, for improving mother-child interaction and boosting nutrition.


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

  • Principal investigators: Harold Alderman, World Bank; Jed Friedman, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2013 - 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.


India and Pakistan: SPRING: Linking Implementation Strength, Outcomes and Lessons Learned to Inform Scale Up

  • Principal Investigator: Betty Kirkwood, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: India and Pakistan both have an enormous number of children at risk for poor development because of malnourishment and lack of appropriate stimulation when they are young. The Sustainable Program Incorporating Nutrition and Games, or SPRING, uses home visits by community-based health workers to improve development. In both countries, SPRING is being implemented in concert with government programs that support child development, and the results of the evaluations will help policymakers better understand what is effective and scalable. 


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

  • Principal investigator: John Strauss, University of Southern California
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In 1989, Indonesia began a program to expand access to midwives in villages. By the time the program reached scale in 1998, 54,000 nurses had been 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 the children (who are now young adults) of mothers who had access to midwives.


Kenya: EMERGE Reading

  • Principal investigators: Lia Fernald, University of California at Berkeley; Pamela Jakiela, University of Maryland; Owen Ozier, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2015 - 2019
  • Evaluation:  Kenya is one of the best-educated low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and yet many primary school students read below grade level. Reasons include poor quality of teaching and the fact that many children start primary school without having been introduced to reading and books beforehand. Researchers are evaluating a low-cost program that produces and distributes children’s storybooks to households with children between ages two and six, to increase school readiness. 


Madagascar: Addressing Chronic Malnutrition in Madagascar

  • Principal investigator: Lia Fernald, University of California, Berkeley; Emanuela Galasso, World Bank; Christine Stewart, University of California, Davis; Ann Weber, University of California, Berkeley
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Madagascar has one of the highest rates of childhood stunting in the world. Over half of children are chronically malnourished, and more than one-fourth are severely malnourished. Researchers will evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of combining different nutrition and child development interventions to help the government of Madagascar optimize the impact of its community-based nutrition program on nutritional and child development outcomes.


Malawi: Effects of Quality Improvement Strategies on Early Childhood Development in Community-Based Childcare Centers in Malawi: A Randomized Trial

  • Principal investigators: Lia Fernald, University of California, Berkeley; Berk Ozler, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: Children’s social and cognitive readiness for school is crucial for later success. In Malawi, the government seeks to improve child development outcomes through better preschools. Researchers will study the effects of teacher incentives and training, parental education, and learning materials for children on their physical, emotional, and cognitive development and their readiness for primary school.


Mali: Impact and cost effectiveness of an integrated parenting, nutrition and malaria prevention package in Mali

  • Principal Investigators: Siân Clarke, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Yvonne Griffiths, University of London; Moussa Sacko, Institut Nationale de Recherche en Santé Publique; and Josselin Thuilliez, Sorbonne
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Mali is one of the world’s least developed countries and suffers from some of the highest rates of anemia and malaria in the world. In Sikasso region in southern Mali, where this evaluation will take place, 45 percent of children under the age of five are stunted, 88 percent are anemic and malaria is rampant. In southern Mali, Save the Children supports Early Childhood Care and Development centers to help prepare young children for primary school, but many children already arrive malnourished or stunted from lack of nutrition. The evaluation will measure the impact of using a new monthly parenting program to give caregivers micronutrient supplement powders for their young children to improve early development.


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

  • Principal investigators: Sophie Naudeau, World Bank; Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2019
  • 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.


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

  • Principal investigator: Gayatri Acharya, World Bank; Prashant Bharadwaj, University of California, San Diego
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • 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.


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

  • Principal investigator: Patrick Premand, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Niger, a large share of the population suffers from chronic food insecurity and 45 percent of children under age five are stunted. The Office of the Prime Minister of the Government of Niger is implementing a large-scale safety nets project. As part of the project, poor rural women receive a regular cash transfer, while also participating in accompanying measures that aim to improve a range of parenting practices. A team of researchers is working with project implementers to evaluate the effectiveness of the cash transfers and the value-added of the parenting training on nutrition, health and cognitive development of children under the age of five.






Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest routes for reducing poverty and ensuring equal opportunities for girls. While the number of children attending school has surged in the last decade, about 60 million primary-age children, mostly in developing countries, remain out of school. Enrollment is not the only problem. Students attending school are not learning: More than one of every three primary school students in the world cannot read, write, or do basic mathematics. Education reforms have traditionally focused on increased spending to improve the quality of education. However, such policies have done little for student learning. As such, policy attention is focusing on accountability, information, and incentives for both public and private schools. SIEF-supported researchers are working with governments and non-governmental organizations around the world to measure the impact of innovative programs to strengthen the quality of education, providing policymakers with evidence they can use to improve the lives of their students and the well-being of their countries. Read more about the background to our impact evaluations on accountability and education in the Cluster Note. Here is the background information about our more recent call for proposals on early childhood development and on engaging non-state actors in education




Brazil: Ceara Teacher Feedback Program

  • Principal Investigators - Barbara Bruns, World Bank; Leandro Costa, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Brazil, policy makers in the state of Ceara are looking at how providing information to schools about best teaching practices, as well as offering peer learning opportunities, can help boost the performance of less effective teachers. Researchers will evaluate the various methods in effort to locate low-cost alternatives to traditional, center-based training. 


Chad: Paying Community Teachers: Impact of the Payer and Transfer Mechanism

  • Principal investigators: Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University; Leigh Linden, University of Texas at Austin; Helene Cloutier, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2015 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Chad, almost all children go to primary school, but students perform poorly on assessments and many leave school before finishing. Teaching quality tends to be low, and many primary school teachers are contract teachers, not civil servants, and their payments are low and often delayed. As part of efforts to strengthen the education system, the Government of Chad is instituting a new way to pay contract teachers in rural parts of the country. The evaluation will measure the impact of different payment methods -- such as electronic payments through mobile phones -- on teacher behavior and student learning. 


Ghana: Supervision and Incentives for Increased Learning: The TCAI High Performance Program

  • Researchers: Annie Duflo, Innovations for Poverty Action; Jessica Kiessel, Innovations for Poverty Action; Moussa Blimpo, University of Oklahoma
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evalution:  Ghana has made major strides in education in recent years, registering a completion rate of nearly 100 percent for primary school and 81% for junior high in 2010-11. Despite large investments in basic education, however, learning outcomes have proven far from satisfactory. Fewer than one-third of primary school children have tested proficient in English or mathematics in recent years, and one-fifth of third-graders were unable to read a single word in English in a 2009 assessment. As part of a campaign to improve the quality of education, the Government is seeking to increase the amount of time primary school teachers spend using targeted instruction, which groups students by ability rather than grade. The evaluation will examine how increased training and supervision in this area impacts teacher performance and student success.


Guinea: Performance-Based Incentives for Teachers in Guinea

  • Principal investigators: Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; Deon Filmer, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: As in many developing countries, educating the poorest students in Guinea remains a challenge. Often, providing additional funding to schools is not enough to improve learning. The Government of Guinea aims to improve student learning by enhancing teacher performance through an incentive pilot scheme that includes a financial reward, social recognition, and teacher training. Third and fourth-grade teachers from 420 schools participated in the pilot. Researchers will evaluate the impact of these incentives on student achievement.


Haiti: Education Service Delivery Support

  • Principal Investigators: Moussa Blimpo, University of Oklahoma; Melissa Adelman, World Bank; David Evans, World Bank; Noah Yarrow, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2015
  • Evaluation: Teacher absenteeism is high and school closures are common in Haiti, where nearly 90 percent of schools aren’t run by the government and teacher absences are high. Researchers are working with the Ministry of Education on a program that uses cell phone cameras and wireless internet connections to verify teacher attendance. The evaluation will help determine whether the cell-phone monitoring has an effect on teacher attendance, and ultimately, student learning. 


India: Non-Financial Extrinsic and Intrinsic Teacher Motivation in Government and Private Schools in India

  • Principal investigators: Sangeeta Goyal, World Bank; Andrew Fraker, IDinsight; Neil Buddy Shah, IDinsight; Ronald Abraham, IDinsight; Deeptha Umapathy, IDInsight; Sangeeta Dey, World Bank; Lant Pritchett, Harvard University
  • Timeline:  2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In India, the rise in enrollment has been accompanied by a steady drop in student achievement:  the proportion of third-graders who know how to do subtraction, for example, decreased from 45 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2011. One reason is that the quality of teachers is low, with teachers themselves scoring poorly on math and language tests. To strengthen learning outcomes, NGOs seeking to boost education outcomes are experimenting with non-financial incentives to better motivate teachers using extrinsic motivation such as public recognition, as well as intrinsic motivations such as monthly meetings to help foster a sense of community and responsibility. The evaluation will gauge the cost-effectiveness of these strategies and their impact on teacher and student performance in both government and affordable private schools.


Mexico: Impact Evaluation of a Low Cost Private School Model

  • Principal investigator: Lucrecia Santibanez, RAND Corporation
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: Many public schools in Mexico are failing to educate students, particularly schools in poorer areas. Recent tests show that most 15-year-olds do not have basic competency in math, and almost 20 percent do not have basic reading skills. Reforms to improve education in Mexico move slowly, and parents rarely have a voice. This research will evaluate the impact of Christel House de Mexico, a low-cost, rigorous private school for poor children that also works to ensure parental commitment. This study will provide new research to address the knowledge gap in the literature on the impact of private provision of high-quality, affordable schooling for the poor in developing country contexts. 


Mexico: Increasing Education Accountability through Community-Based Pedagogical Assistants

  • Principal Investigators:  Ciro Avitabile, World Bank; David Evans, World Bank; Peter Holland, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Mexico, where there is a large discrepancy in the quality of education between urban and rural schools, policy makers are looking for ways to decentralize decision making and encourage parents in indigenous communities to get more involved in their children’s schooling. As part of this effort, researchers are evaluating the effects of a program in Chiapas, one of the poorest states in Mexico,  that sends mobile pedagogical assistants to underperforming remote primary schools to give parents information about the schools and provide classroom support to teachers. The assistants, who are recent university graduates, review school performance, distribute education information throughout the community, and tutor struggling students. Researchers will evaluate the effects of the program on student learning. 


Mozambique: Randomized Impact Evaluation of Various Early Literacy Interventions in Mozambique

  • Principal investigators: Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank; Sophie Naudeau, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: Studies have shown that teacher training combined with accountability strategies can result in improved student learning outcomes in early grades. More research is needed to disentangle the effect of the public information and training. The Government of Mozambique has implemented a pilot program to raise student achievement through teacher training and by providing families with information about reading test results. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies on educational outcomes.


Nigeria: Understanding the Dynamics of Information for Accountability

  • Researchers: Olatunde Adekola, World Bank; Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank; Robert Garlick, Duke University; M. Abul Azad Alam, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2018
  • Evaluation: Nigeria has launched key reforms in education, including a program making basic education compulsory. Enrollment rates, especially among the poorest families, are still insufficient in basic and secondary education, and the quality of schooling remains low.  In 2006, as part of a new round of reforms, the government unveiled a ten-year plan to improve access, equity and quality in education. One initiative aimed at high schools will provide parents with more information about the academic performance of their children’s schools using a combination of school meetings, flyers, text messages and phone calls.  Researchers will evaluate the impacts of this initiative, as well as the frequency of information delivery, on student performance and parent, teacher and school behavior. 


Pakistan: Community Engagement for School Committees in Pakistan

  • Principal investigators:  Salman Asim, World Bank; Margo Hoftijizer, World Bank; Umbreen Arif, World Bank
  • Timeline:  2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: Governments in developing countries often support school-based management committees as a way to get parents and community members more involved in education in order to improve the quality and ensure community voices are heard. However, it’s unclear how useful these committees are and how to get them to work more effectively.  This evaluation in Pakistan aims to measure the effect of  different approaches to boost parental involvement in attempts to improve school functioning and student learning.


Pakistan: Investing in the Education Market: Strengthening Private Schools for the Rural Poor

  • Principal investigators: Tahir Andrabi, Pomona College; Asim Khwaja, Harvard University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In developing countries, low-cost private schools often offer better education than public schools. But in Pakistan, several external conditions are constraining low-cost private school growth and effectiveness, including access to credit and technical resources. Researchers will seek to overcome these constraints by implementing a project that offers three models of financial support to schools: grants, loans, and equity financing.


Rwanda: Selection and Motivational Impacts of Performance Contracts for Rwandan Primary School Teachers

  • Principal Investigators: Owen Ozier, World Bank; Clare Leaver, University of Oxford; Pieter Serneels, University of East Anglia; Andrew Zeitlin, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Pay-for-performance programs have become an increasingly popular way to boost teacher incetives and improve student learning. But little is known about the effects of these programs on the overall composition of a country’s teacher corps, especially in low income countries. Does the salary boost create incentives for more skilled and passionate young professionals to become teachers? Or does it have the opposite effect, in that it minimizes intrinsic motivation and instead attracts people interested only in a more attractive salary? Researchers are working with the Ministry of education to measure the impact of pay-for-performance in order to help recruit and keep better teachers. 


South Africa: Voice, Exit, and Awareness: A Randomized Evaluation of an Information Campaign in South African Primary Schools

  • Principal Investigators: Robert Garlick, Duke University; Owen Ozier, World Bank; Jacobus Cillers, World Bank; Stephen Taylor, South African Department of Basic Education; Andrew Zeitlin, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Standardized test results—which can help authorities identify schools that are excelling or in need of assistance, and can empower parents and teachers with useful information—are an important first step in making sure schools are accountable to the communities they serve.  South Africa recently instituted national standardized tests for public primary and ninth grade students, but educators have not widely disseminated test results. Researchers are exploring how to best present and distribute test performance data, including comparative school data. The evaluation will examine how different distribution approaches, along with opportunities for parent-teacher dialogue, affect parent, teacher and student actions, as well as more broad learning outcomes.


Tanzania: Designing Effective Teacher Incentive Programs

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Deon Filmer, World Bank; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Tanzania, where teacher quality remains low, national test scores have dropped in recent years, and teacher absenteeism remains a challenge, policy makers are interested in exploring the ways in which performance-based incentives can improve learning.  The Ministry of Education has launched a program to improve teacher motivation through incentives, such as recognition, awards and prizes. The evaluation will compare the impact of short- and long-term incentive programs on teacher behavior and student learning. It will also examine the effectiveness of incentives aimed directly at students.


Tanzania: Testing Information-for-Accountability and Teacher Incentive Interventions for Improving Education Service Delivery

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Deon Filmer, World Bank; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: In Tanzania, student learning has been hampered by high rates of teacher absenteeism. The Government of Tanzania seeks to address these problems through non-financial performance-based incentives for teachers and improved information to community members and families on student and school performance. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches.


Uganda: Contrasting Efficiency of Education Service Delivery in Public and Private Sectors

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank, James Habyarimana, Georgetown University, Felipe Barrera, Harvard University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In 2007, Uganda became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to implement a universal secondary education program, and since then, enrollment has jumped by 400 percent. To accommodate the surge in student numbers, the Government began building public-private partnerships and providing financing to private schools. Despite the increasing importance of private schools, however, little analysis has been done on the quality of education they deliver. The Ministry of Education and Sports is exploring ways to improve teaching in both public and private schools by providing teachers with feedback, practical tips and rewards. The evaluation will measure how these actions impact teacher and student performance in private schools, and the findings will be compared with a similar public school initiative.


Uganda: Does Class-Size Mediate the Effectiveness of Teacher Quality Interventions?

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Harvard University; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Uganda, enrollment in primary and secondary schools is increasing rapidly without corresponding increases in the number of teachers. Researchers will study the impact of class size on teaching quality and learning through pilot programs that reduce the number of students in classes by running separate and shorter teaching shifts and give performance-based incentives, teaching tips and feedback to teachers.






In many developing countries, weak health systems and the prevalence of often-preventable diseases undermine efforts to reduce poverty and improve opportunities for people to build better lives for themselves and their children. SIEF-supported researchers are working with health ministries and non-governmental organizations to measure the effectiveness of new and existing initiatives to strengthen access to and quality of care, including better services for women and girls. The evidence generated will make it possible for development practitioners and policymakers around the world to learn what’s working and how they can apply these lessons for better health care and coverage for all. Read more about health and impact evaluation in our Cluster Note.





India: Impact of social accountability interventions on healthcare delivery and health outcomes in Uttar Pradesh, India

  • Principal Investigators: Manoj Mohanan, Duke University; Harsha Thirumurthy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Timeline: 2014 – 2017
  • Evaluation: Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, with a population of more than 200 million, has among the lowest per-capita incomes in the country. Infant and child mortality rates are especially high and some 380,000 children under the age of five die every year. The Government of Uttar Pradesh, which seeks to improve its health care system, is piloting social accountability interventions and considering them for scale-up as part of a World Bank-supported project. Researchers are working with the government to evaluate the effectiveness of these campaigns.


India: Leveraging Patients' Social Networks to Overcome Tuberculosis Under-detection in India

  • Principal investigators: Jessica Goldberg, University of Maryland; Mario Macis, Johns Hopkins University 
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: About 3.5 million people in India are estimated to have tuberculosis, and one third of them either haven’t been diagnosed or aren’t receiving treatment. Infected people are often from the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and it’s difficult to make sure they know about treatments and how to minimize the spread of disease. The India-based non-governmental organization Operation ASHA, which operates 200 tuberculosis treatment centers, is piloting a program that pays current patients for referring people who might have tuberculosis to government testing centers. Researchers working with the group will carry out a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program and the results will help tuberculosis experts worldwide understand what can – or cannot – improve outreach and treatment to those at risk.


Kenya: Advancing the Science of Delivery: A Proposed Impact Evaluation of Inspection Regimes in Health Care and Their Impact on Patient Safety Standards and Quality of Care

  • Principal investigators: Jishnu Das, World Bank; Guadalupe Bedoya, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2018
  • Evaluation: In Kenya, where clinics have limited budgets and health care quality is low, researchers are looking at how increased monitoring and providing information to patients about the clinics that serve them can improve the quality of care. The Government of Kenya wants to develop better approaches for monitoring and improving health care throughout the country, and this evaluation will provide the government with evidence for policies to strengthen the quality of care in private and public facilities.


Nepal: Impact Evaluation of a Health Insurance Pilot

  • Principal investigators: Tekabe Belay, World Bank; Santadarshan Sadhu, Institute of Financial Management and Research (India)
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Nepal’s out-of-pocket health costs are rising and inequalities in access to health care are increasing. To combat this, the Ministry of Health and Population has been working to develop a strategy for universal health coverage. A proposed pilot project aims to determine the best insurance policy and overall financing strategy. Researchers hope to identify effective financing methods for the provision of comprehensive and equitable health services in low-income settings. 


Nigeria: Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies: Testing Demand and Supply-Side Approaches to Maternal and Child Health

  • Principal investigators: Pedro Rosa Dias, University of Sussex; Marcos Vera-Hernandez, University College London; Marcus Holmlund, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Nigeria, approximately one million mothers and children die every year from preventable diseases. Three-quarters of these deaths wouldn't happen if existing healthcare services were used. Nigeria seeks to reduce deaths from preventable diseases by improving use and quality of healthcare services available for women and children through its Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Maternal and Child Health Program. Researchers will evaluate various interventions within the program. 


Philippines: Impact of Incentives and Information on Quality and Utilization in Primary Care (i3QUIP)

  • Principal investigators: Junko Onishi, World Bank; Taejong Kim, Korean Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management; John Basa, Philippines Health Insurance Corporation
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2019
  • Evaluation: In the Philippines, the government has sought to improve the effectiveness of primary health care by expanding coverage of PhilHealth's social health insurance benefit package. Researchers will examine the impact of three measures being implemented: (i) direct payments to providers with increased autonomy on the distribution of the amount, (ii) increased disclosure of information, and (iii) a combination of direct payments and increased disclosure of information.


Tanzania:“RESPECT Study for women at high risk of HIV infection in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania”

  • Principal investigators: Damien de Walque, World Bank; William H. Dow, University of California, Berkeley; Admirabilis Kalolella, Ifakara Health Institute
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: HIV prevention remains a top priority for the global health community, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 percent of the world’s estimated 25 million HIV-infected people currently live. Information campaigns to discourage risky sexual behavior have had limited success. Researchers are exploring the impact of using financial incentives to encourage safe sex in order to stem the spread of HIV. The evaluation in Tanzania will focus on high risk populations, such as female sex workers, to see if cash payments conditional on testing negative for HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections can help reduce risky behavior. 





Improved water supply and sanitation are critical for health and development, especially of young children, by reducing the transmission of disease. Toilets and easily accessible water supply systems provide women and children with security and dignity. They also can help raise school attendance, reduce healthcare costs and ultimately, strengthen productivity. For too many, this is still out of reach: More than 2.5 billion people don’t have access to basic sanitation, 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open, and more than 780 million people do not have regular access to clean drinking water. Improving water and sanitation makes good business sense as well, because poor sanitation and its effects depresses a country’s economic potential. SIEF-supported researchers are evaluating what mix of informational campaigns, financial instruments and incentives, and provision of sanitation infrastructure can successfully boost sustained access and usage. The evidence collected will give governments powerful evidence for making policy decisions that will ultimately bring tangible improvements in people’s well-being. Read more about water and sanitation and impact evaluation in our Cluster Note.





Bangladesh: Impact of Low-Cost In-Line Chlorination Systems in Urban Dhaka on Water Quality and Child Health

  • Principal investigators: Stephen Luby, Stanford University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Bangladesh, limited water supply and poor sanitation infrastructure in dense slums is associated with high rates of child diarrhea and stunting. Central treatment and delivery of water supply is prohibitively expensive for municipal governments to implement in low-income areas. A new in-line chlorination system has been developed to deliver the right dose to dispensed water at existing handpumps in Dhaka. Researchers seek to determine the effectiveness of using automated chlorination at public water dispensing stations to improve water quality and child health outcomes.


Ethiopia: The impact of enhanced, demand-side sanitation and hygiene promotion on trachoma and sustained behavior change in Ethiopia

  • Principal investigator: Matthew Freeman, Emory University
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2018
  • Evaluation: Trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, is widespread in Ethiopia, where it’s caused some 6 million cases of vision impairment. The majority of those effected live in rural areas with limited access to clean water, sanitation and basic hygiene.  Antibiotics can reduce the prevalence of trachoma, but better sanitation is also needed, since exposed fecal matter allows flies to breed and spread the infection-causing bacteria.  Researchers, with support from the Government of Ethiopia, are examining the effects of a community-led total sanitation and hygiene campaign as a complement to other trachoma control programs. 


India: Incentivizing Sanitation Uptake and Sustainable Usage through Micro Health Insurance

  • Principal investigators: Orazio Attanasio, University College London
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2017
  • Evaluation: India accounts for 33 percent of the global population without access to safe water and adequate sanitation. At the same time, the number of Indians with health insurance coverage is low, and out-of-pocket expenditures pay for most health care costs. Researchers will examine the links between a sanitation intervention, health insurance claims and health status in poor areas of rural India. The sanitation intervention creates awareness and provides access to credit to construct safe sanitation systems. The research team will also explore and test whether a health care program can be provided as an incentive for communities to sustain their safe sanitation over time. 


India: Technical Proposal for the Impact Evaluation of Second Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (Jalanidhi-II)

  • Principal investigator: Luis Alberto Andres, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2015 - 2018
  • Evaluation:  In the Indian state of Kerala, the World Bank is working closely with the government to implement and expand the Second Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (Jalanidhi-II), which provides piped water connections to individual households. Researchers will evaluate the effects of improved water and sanitation access on the health and education of these rural communities, as well as on social and economic empowerment, particularly women, who are no longer tasked with collecting water for their household. 


Kenya: Turning Pipe Dreams into Reality: Improving access to water and sanitation services in a Nairobi Slum

  • Principal investigators: Sebastian Galiani, University of Maryland; Paul Gertler, University of California, Berkeley
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Kenya, researchers will study the effects of hygiene promotion campaigns and providing subsidies on people's decision to connect to piped water and sewage services. The results will help development experts in Kenya and elsewhere determine how to encourage behavioral changes that can lead to improved hygiene, health and living standards for poor residents.


Nicaragua Sustainable Water and Sanitation Sector Project

  • Principal Investigator: Josh Gruber, University of Maryland
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2019
  • Evaluation: Poverty in Nicaragua is concentrated in rural areas, where more than 40 percent of the population lives. Just over a third of people in rural areas don’t have piped in water and lack access to adequate sanitation. The World Bank has developed a new rural water supply sanitation project, known as PROSASR, to help the Government of Nicaragua improve water and sanitation for the rural poor. An impact evaluation, conducted with the government, will measure how well the program does at strengthening water and sanitation services to ensure everyone has good access. The results will inform the government’s future policymaking in this area.


The Philippines Pantawid Pamilya CCT Sanitation Impact Evaluation

  • Principal Investigators: Paul J. Gertler, University of California, Berkeley; Joshua Gruber, University of California, Berkeley
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Access to basic sanitation is still one of the largest development challenges in the Philippines. About a quarter of the population don’t have access to latrines and other improved sanitation facilities, putting especially children at risk of diarrheal illnesses that can stunt growth, harm health and make it hard for them to reach their potential. The Government of the Philippines, working with the World Bank, is implementing and evaluating a new program that will twin subsidies or loans with promotional campaigns to convince households to acquire and use toilets. The results of the evaluation will help the government decide what is the best approach for ending open defecation. 

A key objective of SIEF is to strengthen the ability of researchers and policymakers to use monitoring and evaluation to build evidence on the effectiveness of programs to improve people’s lives through better health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation and social protection. SIEF sponsors quarterly workshops to train regional policymakers, researchers and development field staff in the nuts and bolts of impact evaluation. The goal is to encourage and support increased use of impact evaluation and to create a community of practice among development experts and policymakers. Workshops are invitation only and geared to specific development organizations, researchers, NGOs and government officials.

Workshops use materials from the Impact Evaluation in Practice handbook available in English, French and Spanish.










Ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity requires evidence to identify those programs and policies that will have a real impact. The World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) makes this happen by investing in impact evaluations of innovative human development programs in low-and middle income countries, and by working directly with policymakers and other key stakeholders to use the results and build better policies and programs that successfully improve people’s lives. 

SIEF is a multi-donor trust fund created in 2012 with the support of the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and currently also receives support from the London-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which seeks catalytic change for children including promoting early childhood development and evidence-based solutions. SIEF focuses on four human development areas that are crucial to improving the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable: Early Childhood Development and Nutrition, Basic Education, Health Systems and Service Delivery, and Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene. 

SIEF partners with leading impact evaluation researchers and those who develop and implement innovative programs — both within governments and within non-governmental and other organizations. In the process, we ensure active engagement with key stakeholders and we support teams to make evidence accessible and policy relevant.

What is impact evaluation?

Knowing what works, what doesn’t, and why, is essential for crafting effective human development programs. Impact evaluation is a tool for measuring a program’s effectiveness. If policymakers know which programs help kids do better in school, increase maternal and child health, or boost employment, for example, they can build on those successes to create more—and more effective—programs to help the world’s poor.

Impact evaluations provide this evidence by comparing a program’s outcomes with what would have happened without the program, often referred to as a “counterfactual.” Specifically, evaluations compare beneficiaries of the program being evaluated with a comparison group of people sharing the same characteristics such as poverty level and education, for example, but who didn’t receive the program. This is usually done by randomly assigning the program intervention to control and treatment groups before the program is launched, and then comparing differences in outcomes once the program is implemented.

By isolating the impact of the program, impact evaluations provide policymakers and practitioners with valuable information for deciding whether they want to scale-up a program, change it or even cancel it.