The Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF)


What SIEF does

The World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) supports scientifically rigorous research that measures the impact of programs and policies to improve education, health, access to quality water and sanitation, and early childhood development in low and middle income countries. The majority of the evaluation are randomized control trials (RCTs) and they were chosen through a competitive process open to researchers worldwide. Read more.

Funding rigorous evaluations

SIEF has funded 61 impact evaluations in 31 countries, including: Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, 
Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Read more.

Building capacity

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. Read more.


SIEF has funded 61 impact evaluations of programs in four areas critical to human development: early childhood nutrition and development, education, health, and water and sanitation. Detailed information about each evaluation is found through the links below.


Between 2007 and 2012, with funding primarily from the Government of Spain, SIEF funded a set of impact evaluations that reviewed a range of projects across a variety of human development areas. Further information about these evaluations and the results is available through the links below. 

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 - Second Edition handbook available in English.

Visit our Seminars page to see more of what SIEF is doing to share knowledge. 













Seminar: A Toolkit for Measuring Early Childhood Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries | Book Launch

Presenter: Elizabeth Prado, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis

Chair: Joan Lombardi, Senior Advisor, Bernard van Leer Foundation

Discussants: Reema Nayar, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, World Bank; Maureen Black, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, RTI International, University of Maryland School of Medicine 

Date: December 13, 2017

Location: World Bank J Building, Washington, DC

About:  This book is a practical guide for researchers, evaluators and others interested in assessing early childhood development in low- and middle-income countries. Readers will learn how to select, adapt and implement early childhood development measurements to produce reliable and actionable data on child development for better programs and policies.

Materials: Book WebpageSeminar RecordingPresentation

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Seminar: Combining supply- and demand side interventions to improve preschool attendance and school readiness | Evidence from Cambodia

Presenters: Adrien Bouguen, University of Mannheim; Jan Berkes, Education Global Practice, World Bank; Tsuyoshi Fukao, Education Global Practice, World Bank

Chair: Alaka Holla, Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF)

Discussant: Alonso Sanchez, Education Global Practice

Date: November 21, 2017

Location: World Bank Main Complex, Washington, DC

About:  The presentation discussed midline results from an ongoing impact evaluation project in Cambodia, funded by the World Bank's Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF). This cluster randomized controlled trial will estimate the impact of three components of a preschool expansion program supported by the Ministry of Education in Cambodia: construction of new community preschools, raising awareness about the availability and importance of early education through a home-based program, and raising awareness through door-to-door visits of village chiefs. Midline results show that constructing new preschools significantly increased enrollment, whereas the demand-side interventions did not.  Based on the midline survey conducted about eight months after program implementation, there were moderate effects on school readiness among 5-year-old children.

Materials: SIEF Webpage, Seminar Recording, Presentation

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ImageSeminar: Testing and scaling-up supply- and demand-side interventions to improve kindergarten educational quality in Ghana

Presenter: Sharon Wolf, University of Pennsylvania

Chair: Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for Human Development

Discussant: Amer Hasan, Senior Economist, Education Global Practice

Date: September 27, 2017

Location: World Bank Main Complex, Washington, DC

About: Preliminary results from the ongoing impact evaluation of a teacher professional development program for public and private kindergartens in Ghana were presented. The cluster randomized control trial, funded by the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund, is measuring the impacts of teacher training and a parenting awareness component on teacher professional well-being, classroom quality and children’s school readiness after one and two school years in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. This study includes 240 schools randomly assigned to either receive teacher training, teacher training plus parent awareness training, or to be in the control group. The intervention includes workshops and in-classroom coaching for teachers, and video-based discussion groups for parents. Preliminary findings after one year showed that impacts on school readiness were sustained, including in social-emotional development, executive function, and early academic skills for younger children. But there were some negative impacts seen on some aspects of teaching practice.

Materials:  SIEF webpageMidline ReportSeminar RecordingPresentation

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ImageSeminar: Can Classroom Observation and Coaching Improve Teacher Performance? The Case of Brazil

Presenter: Barbara Bruns, Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Development

Chair: Jaime Saavedra, World Bank

Discussant: Ezequiel Molina, World Bank

Date: July 13, 2017

Location: World Bank J Building, Washington, DC

About: Researchers evaluated an innovative program that focused improving the classroom effectiveness of teachers in service. In 2014, the state of Ceara in northeast Brazi state Ceará implemented a two-part strategy to improve teachers’ effectiveness: i) providing schools with an information “shock” (benchmarked feedback on  their teachers' classroom practice) and ii) access to expert coaching aimed at increasing professional interaction among teachers in the same school.

Materials: SIEF webpage

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ImageSeminar: The Impact of the Mobile Pedagogical Tutors | Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in rural Mexico

Presenters: Ciro Avitabile and Alonso Sanchez, World Bank

Chair: Reema Nayar, World Bank

Discussant: Salman Asim, World Bank

Date: July 12, 2017

Location: World Bank Main Complex, Washington, DC

About: The authors present the findings of the Mexican Mobile Tutors (APIs) program launched by the Consejo Nacional Para el Fomento de la Educacion (CONAFE) with the objective to support parents, children and teachers in a community based model that covers about 350,000 basic education students in Mexico.

Materials: SIEF webpage, Seminar Recording, Presentation (to come)

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ImageSeminar: Cheap Talk or Real Change? CDD, CTTs and Nutrition: A Chance to Put Our Money Where our Mouth Is

Presenter: Gayatri Acharya, World Bank

Chair: Ethel Sennhauser, World Bank

Discussants: Pablo Gottret and Shobha Shetty, World Bank

Date: June 21, 2017

Location: World Bank Main Complex, Washington, DC

About: Through the now closed Social Safety Nets Project in Nepal, a Community Challenge Fund was piloted to study the effectiveness of providing nutritional information alone versus information and cash on child nutrition and development. Presenters discussed challenges in the implementation and opportunities to support nutrition positive programs.

Materials: SIEF webpage,  Working Paper

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ImageSeminar: Promoting Early Childhood Development Through Safety Nets in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Presenters: Laura Rawlings, Andrea Vermehren and Patrick Premand, World Bank

Chair: Lynne Sherburne-Benz, World Bank

Discussant: Sophie Naudeau, World Bank

Date: September 27, 2016

Location: World Bank J Building, Washington, DC

About: This seminar discussed the policy case for linking social protection and early childhood development interventions, outlining opportunities and challenges in program design and implementation. Researchers presented how a behavioral intervention was integrated in a safety nets program in Madagascar, to strengthen linkages between social protection and early childhood development. Finally, results were presented from a recent impact evaluation on the value-added of behavioral accompanying measures to promote parenting practices conducive to early childhood development and nutrition as part of a safety nets project in Niger.

Materials: SIEF webpage

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ImageSeminar: Combining Pre-School Quality Interventions with Parenting Education: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Presenter: Berk Özler, World Bank

Date: January 14, 2016

Location: World Bank J Building, Washington, DC

About: Researchers evaluated a government program in Malawi, which focused on improving quality at community-based childcare centers (CBCCs) and complemented these efforts with a group-based parenting support program.

Materials: SIEF webpage

  • EGRA Toolkit
    A user manual that for countries beginning to work with EGRA in such areas as local adaptation of the instrument, fieldwork, and analysis of results.
  • Stallings User Guide
  • Impact Evaluation in Practice - Second Edition
    The updated version covers the newest techniques for evaluating programs and includes state-of-the-art implementation advice, as well as an expanded set of examples and case studies that draw on recent development challenges.
  • Measuring for Early Years
    Information and resources related to measuring the quality of early learning programs and early childhood skills
  • Examining Early Child Development in Low-Income Countries: A Toolkit for the Assessment of Children in the First Five Years of Life
    The primary purpose of this toolkit is to provide a resource for researchers from various disciplines interested in planning and evaluating programs or interventions aimed at improving the health and development of infants and young children. The toolkit aims to: provide an overview of issues affecting early development and its measurement; discuss the types of tests typically used with children under five years; provide guidelines for selecting and adapting tests for use in developing countries, and make recommendations for planning successful assessment strategies. The toolkit focuses on children who have not yet entered school, and are thus under six years old.
  • Measuring the Quality of Health Care in Clinics
    Until quite recently, governments and aid organizations have tried to improve health outcomes by investing in infrastructure, medical equipment, and drug supplies and by ensuring access to a certain number of qualified health workers. While these inputs are of course necessary for these functions, they are by no means sufficient. The presence of stethoscope is no guarantee that a medical provider will use it when necessary. A regular stock of modern drugs does not tell us if providers are prescribing tranquilizers for a simple cold or whether a provider can diagnose if a patient even has a cold. This note provides a brief overview of the surveys designed to measure the quality of care within clinics, focusing in particular on the quality of examination, diagnosis, and treatment offered to patients in the primary care setting.

This page lists a sample of publications from SIEF-supported impact evaluations. Please see individual evaluation pages for specific publications produced by SIEF research teams, including media coverage, presentations and videos. In addition, visit our Interviews and Blogs page, our Measurement and Data page, Videos page, our Impact page and other webpages for more products related to SIEF evaluations and our impact on policy.


World Bank publications

A toolkit for measuring early childhood development in low and middle income countries
December 2017
Lia C. H. Fernald, Elizabeth Prado, Patricia Kariger, and Abbie Raikes

The Toolkit provides a practical, “how-to” guide for selection and adaptation of child development measurements for children 0 to 8 years old to be used in low- and middle-income countries. Users can follow the proposed step-by-step process to select, adapt, implement, and analyze early childhood development data for diverse purposes and projects.

Supporting Disadvantaged Children to Enter Kindergarten: Experimental Evidence from Bulgaria
June 2017
Elise Huillery, Joost de Laat, and Paul Gertler

>> More World Bank publications here


Peer reviewed journal articles

The Impact of Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Services in Rural Indonesia
Sally Anne Brinkman, Amer Hasan, Haeil Jung, Angela Kinnell, Menno Pradhan
Journal of Labor Economics
July 2017

The role of preschool quality in promoting child development: evidence from rural Indonesia
Sally Anne Brinkman, Amer Hasan, Haeil Jung, Angela Kinnell, Nozomi Nakajima, and Menno Pradhan
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
June 2017

>> More peer reviewed journal articles here


Other publications

NBER Working Paper No. 23264
Living Up to Expectations: How Job Training Made Women Better Off and Men Worse Off
March 2017
Paloma Acevedo, Guillermo Cruces, Paul Gertler, and Sebastián Martínez

Promoting Positive Parenting Practices in Niger through a Cash Transfer Programme
Oumar Barry, Ali Mory Maïdok, and Patrick Premand
Early Childhood Matters 2017

>> More other publications here


Evidence to Policy briefs

Pakistan: Does Sharing Test Scores with Parents Improve Student Learning?

Tunisia: Can Entrepreneurship Education Improve Work Opportunities for College Graduates?

More policy briefs here >>

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    Cambodia: Scholarship Program

    An impact evaluation, supported by SIEF, measured the effect of scholarships on enrollment in lower secondary school. The evaluation found not only that children who received the scholarship were more likely to stay in school, but also that a $45 scholarship was as effective as a $60 one.
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    Morocco: Tayssir - A conditional cash transfer program to keep rural children in school

    The parents of 80,000 students or primary school-aged children were given cash subsidies in return for keeping their children in school. The evaluation found the cash had a positive impact on enrollment and in reducing the dropout rate and the repetition rate.
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    Mozambique: Helping Kids Succeed

    Researchers worked with Save the Children to design a randomized control trial (RCT) to measure whether getting children in preschool made a difference. The evaluation found children who attended preschool were 24 percent more likely to be enrolled in primary school at the end of the two years.
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    Tanzania: Cash transfers for health and education

    In 2010, the Government of Tanzania rolled out the conditional cash transfer program. The project had a significant positive impact on children’s health and on household savings and household independence within the community.
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    Teacher Training Programs - What Works?

    There are winners and losers in teacher training programs. The researchers decided to search for impact evaluations of teacher training programs with student learning outcomes, categorize the programs by their essential characteristics, and see which (if any) of those characteristics were associated with learning gains.
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    Zambia: Improving Drug Distribution System

    The researchers tested two methods for ensuring that often remote clinics were able to maintain stocks of essential medicines. A rigorous impact evaluation found that shipping drugs directly to clinics, instead of to a holding facility, and having a dedicated staff member to facilitate and track orders reduced stock outs of drugs needed to save lives.