Evaluating the Impact of a Savings Program and Family-Based Intervention on Household Assets and Children’s Education, Health, and Psychosocial Wellbeing in Burundi

As one of the first randomized controlled trials on the impact of VSLAs, the results from the New Generation project provide important evidence that  VSLAs combined with entrepreneurship and financial literacy education can improve the economic outcomes of poor households. Limited statistical  power prevents us from being able to confidently report on the impact of the economic intervention alone on child protection and wellbeing outcomes. However, results suggest that while the  economic intervention improved household income and reduced family problems, it did not impact overall family functioning, reduce harsh discipline practices, or improve positive discipline, child  wellbeing or mental health. The evaluation did find that the family-based discussion sessions significantly reduced harsh physical and verbal discipline by caregivers in the home. However, although  children reported positive impact on their overall wellbeing, survey data from caregivers did not demonstrate that the discussion sessions had a significant impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes. The  results from this evaluation are an important contribution to a growing body of evidence related to economic strengthening and child protection in low-income and conflict-affected settings but findings reveal that there is still  much learning to be done to determine which interventions are most needed and result in the greatest improvements to child protection and wellbeing outcomes. 

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.