Evidence database

Evidence of the effectiveness of anticipation is important for several reasons. Firstly, the selection and design of effective early actions is pivotal for implementation success. Secondly, evidence enables advocates and practitioners to demonstrate the impact of this emerging approach to humanitarian action. Thirdly, sharing and learning from each other’s successes and failures will help the anticipation community maximize its impact. 

This database complements the Early Action Database by collating evidence on the effectiveness of (potential) early actions. Its primary purpose is to help practitioners evaluate and compare early actions based on existing data. As anticipation is a relatively new concept, evidence from anticipatory humanitarian programs may be lacking for many actions. For this reason, to the extent possible, the database also includes evidence from Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Humanitarian Response interventions/actions that could be adapted to the anticipatory context (see the implementation context filter). This way, practitioners can still learn from what is known about specific interventions in non-anticipatory contexts.

While the database is primarily meant to inform the selection and design of anticipatory actions, as the evidence specific to anticipation grows, it may also help advocates build arguments for early action, and help Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning experts more easily identify and share studies relevant to their work.

Growing this database is a community effort.  If you know of a study/evidence not reflected in the database, please contact  Arielle Tozier de la Poterie.

After you use the database, please submit your feedback here to help us improve the database’s design and utility in the future.

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Results

52
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Study Title

Point-of-use water treatment and diarrhoea reduction in the emergency context: an effectiveness trial in Liberia

  • Country / Region

    Africa, Liberia

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Household water purification supplies

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce waterborne diseases

  • Sector(s)

    WASH, HEALTH

  • Implementation context

    Emergency Response

  • What the evidence says

    Point-of-use water treatment with the flocculant–disinfectant combined with improved storage reduced diarrhea incidence by 90% and prevalence by 83% as compared to households using improved water storage alone. This study had high compliance rates and residual chlorine levels. 

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Randomized controlled trials

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2006

  • Additional details

    Study also available in French and Spanish.

  • Read the study
Study Title

Poverty reduction impact of food aid in rural Ethiopia

  • Country / Region

    Africa, Ethopia

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Food-for-work, Food

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce loss of income/livelihood/livestock

  • Sector(s)

    FOOD SECURITY & LIVELIHOODS

  • Implementation context

    Development/DRR programs

  • What the evidence says

    The study finds that both food-for-work and general distribution reduce poverty. However, participation in food-for-work does not reduce the poverty gap and distribution among the poor. Free food distribution reduced all poverty measures. The results were heterogeneous across gender.

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Difference-in-difference
    Endogenous switching regression

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2012

  • Additional details

    Sample of 1480 households from household panel survey data. The programs evaluated seek to alleviate poverty after shocks, including natural disaster or the illness or death of a family member. 

  • Read the study
Study Title

Revisiting the “Cash versus Food” Debate: New Evidence for an Old Puzzle

  • Country / Region

    Various

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Food, Cash, Vouchers

  • Action purpose(s)

    Food security/nutrition

  • Sector(s)

    HEALTH, NUTRITION

  • Implementation context

    Emergency Response

  • What the evidence says

    The review concludes that all three modalities work compared to control groups, but that context, program design, and the indicators used matter significantly for outcomes (and comparative impacts). Evidence suggests that cash and vouchers are more efficient than food transfers, but that more rigorous studies are needed to confirm this outcome. 

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Randomized control trial
    Quasi-experimental

  • Study type

    Systematic review

  • Publication Type

    Other non-peer reviewed publication

  • Year of publication

    2015

  • Additional details

    The study reviews 10 impact evaluations comparing the effectiveness of programs providing cash, food, or vouchers (of varying value) in 10 different countries between 2006 and 2013.

  • Read the study
Study Title

School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

  • Country / Region

    Africa, Mali

  • Hazard

    Conflict

  • Early action

    School feeding, Food

  • Action purpose(s)

    Minimize disruption to education

  • Sector(s)

    EDUCATION

  • Implementation context

    Emergency Response

  • What the evidence says

    School feeding programs increase school enrollment by 10 percent, whereas attendance declined by 20 percent for children whose families received generalized distribution. These positive and negative results were more pronounced in high-conflict areas. School feeding also decreased children spent working, whereas generalized feeding did the opposite. 

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Propensity score matching
    Difference-in-difference
    Quasi-experimental

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2019

  • Additional details

    Sample of 3556 children. Compared school feeding to generalized good distribution (as part of social protection) to assess the impact of emergency food on children's education. 

  • Read the study
Study Title

Short-term WASH interventions in emergency response: a systematic review

  • Country / Region

    Various

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Household water purification supplies

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce waterborne diseases

  • Sector(s)

    WASH, HEALTH

  • Implementation context

    Emergency Response

  • What the evidence says

    This systematic review identified one report studying health outcomes for distributing chlorine tablets after a typhoon and flooding in Bangladesh. The review mentions a 55% diarrhea reduction was measured in children under five, but this effect was not-significant (RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19-1.03) and the quality of the evidence was very low.
    A systematic review of WaSH interventions in emergency situations identified five factors that influence the success of WaSH interventions: the taste and smell of the water, ease of use of the method, trust or fear regarding the method and those providing the intervention, perceptions of effectiveness (communities tend to overestimate effectiveness) and means of communication. Radio and face-to-face communication were preferred across contexts.

  • Research approach

    Mixed-methods

  • Research methods

    Varied

  • Study type

    Systematic review

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2017

  • Additional details

    A review of 106 studies identified 13 specific WASH interventions, including 28 studies of the distribution of liquid and tablet chlorine and PuR for household water treatment. Overall the study concludes that there is low quality but consistent evidence that WASH interventions improve health outcomes in emergency situations. 

  • Read the study
Study Title

Social Cost Benefit Analysis of the Early Action Fund (2017)

  • Country / Region

    Africa, Ethopia

  • Hazard

    Drought

  • Early action

    Household water purification supplies, Cash-for-work, Livestock feed, Borehole rehabilitation

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce negative coping strategies, Reduce loss of income/livelihood/livestock, Food security/nutrition, Reduce health impacts

  • Sector(s)

    WASH, HEALTH, NUTRITION, FOOD SECURITY & LIVELIHOODS

  • Implementation context

    Anticipatory Action

  • What the evidence says

    For every £1 spent on early action, target households received an average of £2.58 in value compared to humanitarian response alone. Beneficiary households received a value of £1.61 in social value per pound spent even if no crisis occurred. 

  • Number of direct beneficiaries

    525-2000 Households (depending on the intervention)

  • Research approach

    Mixed-methods

  • Research methods

    Social Cost-benefit analysis
    Return on investment

  • Study type

    Program evaluation

  • Publication Type

    Monitoring report

  • Year of publication

    2018

  • Additional details

    Save the Children executed a number of early actions designed to help households coping with failed rains. Although in practice different households received different interventions (and some interventions reached more households than others), the analysis assumes each household benefited from all interventions: livestock feed, cash-for-work, rehabilitation of community boreholes (human consumption), water purification tablets, and services provided through support for government animal health campaigns. 

  • Read the study
Study Title

Strategies to increase the ownership and use of insecticide‐treated bed nets to prevent malaria

  • Country / Region

    Asia, Africa, India

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Insecticide-treated bed nets

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce vector borne diseases

  • Sector(s)

    WASH, HEALTH

  • Implementation context

    Development/DRR programs

  • What the evidence says

    Providing education on how to appropriately use the bed nets may increase the number of both adults and children actually sleeping under the bed nets.
    Offering people incentives to use bed nets does not seem to influence whether people choose to use them.  

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Randomized controlled trials
    Non‐randomized controlled trials
    Controlled before‐after studies
    Interrupted time series

  • Study type

    Systematic review

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2015

  • Additional details

    A total of 10 studies were reviewed. Five looked at net ownership and conclude that people are more likely to own nets when programs distribute them for free than if they must be purchased. Four of these studies examined whether people who pay more for nets are more likely to use them and the impact of education on use.

  • Read the study
Study Title

The effectiveness of forecast-based humanitarian assistance in anticipation of extreme winters: Evidence from an intervention for vulnerable herders in Mongolia (2017-2018)

  • Country / Region

    Asia, Mongolia

  • Hazard

    Dzud

  • Early action

    Unconditional cash, Animal care kits

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce negative coping strategies

  • Sector(s)

    FOOD SECURITY & LIVELIHOODS

  • Implementation context

    Anticipatory Action

  • What the evidence says

    A greater number of Mongolian recipients of the cash and animal care kits sold livestock, but recipient households sold fewer animals on average than households in comparison communities. This study showed no discernable benefits on household's ability to afford basic necessities or on food consumption patterns.

  • Number of direct beneficiaries

    2000 Households

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Quasi-experimental

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2020

  • Additional details

    Cash grants of approx USD 100 were provided to beneficiaries. The findings are based on a sample of 446 households. It may be that the lack of impact is due to the relatively small value of the cash transfer.

  • Read the study
Study Title

The effectiveness of forecast-based humanitarian assistance in anticipation of extreme winters: Evidence from an intervention for vulnerable herders in Mongolia (2017-2018)

  • Country / Region

    Asia, Mongolia

  • Hazard

    Dzud

  • Early action

    Unconditional cash, Animal care kits

  • Action purpose(s)

    Mental health/well-being

  • Sector(s)

    HEALTH

  • Implementation context

    Anticipatory Action

  • What the evidence says

    The study was unable to detect a difference in stress levels between beneficiary and comparison groups in Mongolia. 

  • Number of direct beneficiaries

    2000 Households

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Quasi-experimental

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2020

  • Additional details

    Cash grants of approx USD 100 were provided to beneficiaries. The findings are based on a sample of 446 households. It may be that the lack of impact is due to the relatively small value of the cash transfer.

  • Read the study
Study Title

The effectiveness of forecast-based humanitarian assistance in anticipation of extreme winters: Evidence from an intervention for vulnerable herders in Mongolia (2017-2018)

  • Country / Region

    Asia, Mongolia

  • Hazard

    Dzud

  • Early action

    Unconditional cash, Animal care kits

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce loss of income/livelihood/livestock

  • Sector(s)

    FOOD SECURITY & LIVELIHOODS

  • Implementation context

    Anticipatory Action

  • What the evidence says

    Mongolian households who received anticipatory assistance lost 50% fewer horses than comparison households. Offspring survival rates for goats were 11 percent higher than in comparison communities, and 7 percent higher for young sheep. Beneficiaries who reported receiving assistance earlier (rather than later) experienced a statistically significant reduction in livestock mortality overall, suggesting that the timing of the assistance matters. 

  • Number of direct beneficiaries

    2000 Households

  • Research approach

    Quantitative

  • Research methods

    Quasi-experimental

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Peer reviewed journal

  • Year of publication

    2020

  • Additional details

    Cash grants of approx USD 100 were provided to beneficiaries. The findings are based on a sample of 446 households. It may be that the lack of impact is due to the relatively small value of the cash transfer.

  • Read the study
Study Title

The effects of vouchers for essential household items on child health, mental health, resilience, and social cohesion among internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Country / Region

    Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Hazard

    Conflict

  • Early action

    Vouchers

  • Action purpose(s)

    Reduce health impacts, Mental health/well-being, Social Cohesion, Resilience

  • Sector(s)

    HEALTH

  • Implementation context

    Emergency Response

  • What the evidence says

    Voucher fairs for essential home goods had a strong, positive effect on adult mental health and a moderately positive effect on social cohesion and resilience. There was no impact on child physical health. 

  • Research approach

    Mixed-methods

  • Research methods

    Randomized control trial
    Focus group discussions

  • Study type

    Impact assessment

  • Publication Type

    Monitoring report

  • Year of publication

    2019

  • Additional details

    Sample size was 769 beneficiaries. The study examined impacts on child's physical health, adult mental health, social cohesion, and resilience. Data was collected just before the event, 3-8 days after the fair, and another 5-6 weeks after the baseline.  

  • Read the study
Study Title

The impact of in-kind food assistance on pastoralist livelihoods in humanitarian crises

  • Country / Region

    Various

  • Hazard

    N/A

  • Early action

    Food

  • Action purpose(s)

    Food security/nutrition

  • Sector(s)

    FOOD SECURITY & LIVELIHOODS

  • Implementation context

    Development/DRR programs

  • What the evidence says

    There is some evidence that the provision of food aid to pastoralists may undermine their livelihood strategies, lead to changes in mobility patterns, such as sedentarization, strengthen herd growth, reduce livestock sales, and fill income gaps.  

  • Research approach

    Mixed-methods

  • Research methods

    Varied

  • Study type

    Systematic Review

  • Publication Type

    Dissertation

  • Year of publication

    2017

  • Additional details

    The review examines 24 studies (of over 23,000 initially identified) and notes that the quality of evidence in all of these studies is medium-to-low according to DFID guidelines for assessing evidence. Only findings of medium strength are reported here.

  • Read the study

The evidence database is still under development and is subject to change based on feedback and input from our partners.


Do you have a question?

Growing this database is a community effort. If you know of a study/evidence not reflected in the database, please feel free to contact me.

Arielle Tozier de la Poterie

Global advisor Early Action and Research

German Red Cross

Raise your Question

 

Teaser image by Musfarayani/IFRC