Evidence to Policy, a monthly note series on learning what works, highlights studies that evaluate the impact of programs in the critical areas of human development --health, education, social protection, water and sanitation and labor. From how to best supply rural health clinics with drugs to what helps students do better in school, World Bank-supported impact evaluations provide governments and development experts with the information they need to use resources most effectively. As impact evaluations increasingly become more important to policymakers, this series offers a non-technical review of the many innovations the World Bank is supporting, and the growing number of rigorous studies analyzing the impacts of those innovations. The note series is managed by SIEF, which receives generous funding from the British government's Department for International Development and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).
The impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program targeting nutrition in young children showed good results, and now the Government of Bangladesh is scaling up the nutrition component of the program to reach more poor households.
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The Philippines is successfully using conditional cash transfers to improve health and education for the poorest families, but the program hasn't been effective at raising school enrollment for older children. Based on the evaluation, the government has increased the transfer amount for older children.
In Tanzania, an innovative conditional cash transfer program that relies on local communities to administer the payments has succeeded in helping the country’s poorest citizens. As the results of a recent impact evaluation indicate, cash transfer systems can be adapted to work well in low-income countries that don’t have a strong central government to administer them.
Power Point Summary
To help policymakers assess the effectiveness of Latvia's public works program, the World Bank supported an evaluation of the government-sponsored public works initiative, which was launched in response to the global financial crisis of 2008–2010.The evaluation found that the program successfully reached its intended target, helping Latvia's worst-off cope with the crisis by increasing their short-term incomes. For policymakers and development experts, this evaluation underscores the usefulness of public works programs as emergency social safety net instruments even in upper–middle income countries.
To understand the role that social protection programs can play in helping people feed themselves and their families, the World Bank supported an evaluation of an ongoing program in Ethiopia. This program includes a public works component for the poor. A complementary initiative works to build household agricultural assets so families can better provide for themselves. The evaluation found that these measures boost food security, helping households better manage year-round.
To learn whether cash grants and training can help poor, rural farmers develop alternative income sources so they better manage during weather “shocks” that harm or destroy crops, the World Bank evaluated a Nicaraguan government program that sought to assist families after a bad drought. Two years after the program ended, researchers found that families that received vocational training or small business grants were better protected against droughts than those who qualified only for conditional cash transfers.
This policy note reviews a World Bank-supported evaluation of Chile's Solidario social assistance program, which aims to reach families living in extreme poverty. The research shows that twinning regular social worker visits with changes to the programs themselves to increase access and better meet demand did lead to increased take-up of subsidies.
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