We believe that by empowering women living in extreme poverty, we can influence positive changes for their children and families – but where’s the proof? While there is a clear link between economic strengthening and different aspects of child well-being, especially nutrition and education, there is little existing evidence for the impact on children of economic strengthening programs and child protection sensitization.

Given our commitment to evidence-based programs, Trickle Up is conducting a randomized control trial to study the impact of our programs on child protection and well-being. In partnership with the University of Chicago, Women’s Refugee Commission, and our local partner ADEFAD, Trickle Up is conducting a three-arm randomized control trial to assess the impact of Trickle Up’s Graduation program aimed at female caregivers on child protection and well‐being.

The project evaluates the Graduation Approach with and without an additional child protection sensitization and mentoring component, in comparison to a waitlisted control group, who will participate in our Graduation programs at the end of the evaluation. There are 120 women participating in each arm of the trial, who were selected because they have children aged 10-15. Our goal is to increase understanding of how Graduation and complementary services can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, while simultaneously helping 360 families lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

The results of this trial will build our knowledge of the intersection between economic strengthening and child protection. We hope to share these results to influence child protection policies and programs in contexts of extreme poverty. This study will inform Trickle Up’s future programs and government policy related to improving child well‐being and preventing violence against children in extremely poor households.

Project Objectives

  • To strengthen the global knowledge base on the role of household economic strengthening and the potential importance of additional awareness raising and mentoring on children’s rights, well-being, and protection.
  • To inform both economic strengthening and child-focused programs in Burkina Faso and beyond.

Project Data

  • 86% of children surveyed reported going to bed hungry in the previous month.
  • 31% of children reported having experienced emotional violence
  • 14% reported having experienced physical violence.

Preliminary analysis after one year:
Findings to date show that the Graduation Approach has had significant economic benefits on savings, assets, and income. Graduation reduced poverty-related stress symptoms and improved the status of women in their households and communities. Findings after one year suggest that the Graduation Approach alone has limited direct impact on many child-related outcomes. However, the integration of a child protection component to Graduation does appear to have a significant impact in reducing exposure to violence and improving child well-being.

The full results of this study will be available in Fall 2017.

Yatenga Province, Nord Region, Burkina Faso

Start Date: 10/1/2013
End Date: 7/31/2016

Number of Participants: 360

Vulnerable Populations

Women, Rural, Youth, Extreme Poor

Project Components

Asset Transfer, Coaching, Savings/Self-Help Groups (savings and credit services), Technical Livelihood Skills Training, Financial Literacy and Capability Training, Household and Group-Level Sensitization and Case Management on Child Protection and Wellbeing

Our Partners

Association d’Aide aux Enfants et aux Familles Démunies (ADEFAD)’s mission is to contribute to improving the conditions and the livelihoods of rural populations of Burkina Faso through the promotion of women’s grassroots initiatives, protection and promotion of the rights of rural women through their empowerment, support to mothers to promote education for vulnerable children, and promotion of the rights of girls particularly in the fight against female genital mutilation. ADEFAD was created in 1995 in Ouahigouya, Yatenga Province, Burkina Faso, and has been Trickle Up’s partner since 2008.

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration is dedicated to working toward a more just and humane society through research, teaching, and service to the community. Trickle Up and the School of Social Service Administration have been research partners since 2015.

The Women’s Refugee Commission improves the lives and protects the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis by researching their needs, identifying solutions, and advocating for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice. Trickle Up and the WRC have been research partners since 2015.

Participant Profiles