No Lean Season
Social infrastructure | Bangladesh and Indonesia | Test and Transition
The development problem: Policies aimed at reducing overall poverty often disregard the impact of seasonal changes. Standard poverty statistics do not consider seasonal hunger in the official data collection and analysis and there is no direct way to determine how many of the world’s poorest people suffer from seasonal hunger. The latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2015 indicates that globally, roughly 300 million of the world’s rural poor suffer from seasonal hunger.
Seasonal hunger often occurs between planting and harvest in agrarian economies. During this time, rural families, particularly the landless poor who supply agricultural labour on others’ farms experience hunger as their food stock dwindles and the demand for agricultural labour falls.
The innovation: Evidence Action's No Lean Season offers subsidies (grants or no-interest loans) to low-income agricultural workers as an incentive to migrate during the famine season to urban areas where higher wages can be earned. This intervention is supported by a series of randomised evaluations carried out between 2008 and 2014 that have demonstrated very large and persistent welfare gains for families at risk of famine from the take-up of seasonal migration for employment.
GIF’s investment: With this investment, GIF is supporting two RCTs – one for a scale roll-out of the program in Bangladesh and another a pilot RCT in Indonesia. GIF’s grant would also support the associated global strategy and management costs through mid 2019.
Why we invested:
- The programme is an innovative way of harnessing the benefits of migration and addressing the relatively neglected problem of seasonality of poverty.
- Strong evidence of the programme’s sustained cost-effective impact on the welfare of the rural poor facing seasonal hunger.
- Robust study designs and strong plans to generate evidence that will contribute to evidence generation on lean season distress mitigation and temporary internal migration.
- Highly capable team, with a proven track record in scaling up evidence-based programmes.