Long-Term Impact Evaluation of the Malawi Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement Program

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica
Oct 01, 2019
Authors
Ariel BenYisahy, Kristen Velyvis, Katherine Nolan, Lila Khatiwada, Carrie Dolan, Danice Brown Guzmán, Tom Purekal, Arif Mamun, and Sara Wilf

Key Findings:

  • No evidence indicated that children in the WALA program had rates of stunting or underweight status that were statistically different from the rates in comparison villages.
  • There was limited evidence that WALA village residents continued to use WALA-promoted practices around agriculture, health, and other sectors, and there were no differences in longer-term adoption of these practices between WALA and comparison villages.
  • The lack of sustainability could be explained by program features, such as new irrigation systems rendered ineffective by droughts, and climate and market shocks faced by villages in southern Malawi after the program ended.

Mathematica and other partners in the Expanding the Reach of Impact Evaluation (ERIE) consortium conducted a long-term impact evaluation of the Wellness and and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program. The program was designed to improve food security and resilience for more than 200,000 chronically food-insecure households in southern Malawi. The Office of Food for Peace of the United States Agency for International Development funded the program, which implemented a number of activities in villages across eight districts. Activities were designed to improve health, nutrition, agricultural, natural resource management, economic diversification, as well disaster preparedness.

This report by Mathematica, the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, and AidData shares insights about the sustainability of WALA interventions and the long-term impacts of WALA on resiliency, child nutrition, health, and education. The ERIE team employed rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods to compare villages in the program with villages that did not have the program to determine whether there were impacts that could be attributed to WALA, and how and why impacts did or did not occur.