Established in 1975, BRAC’s research and evaluation division (RED) works towards addressing continuous challenges confronted by development initiatives, while aiming to frame the credibility and research support to BRAC's development programmes. Working as a separate division under the supervision of the executive director, RED plays an important role in monitoring progress and evaluating the impact of our development interventions.
An important drive for RED's research on TUP is to deliver the broader intellectual challenge of developing a better understanding of extreme poverty in Bangladesh, and draw stylised programmatic principles that should underpin effective programme design.
TUP programme evaluation: Impact
An impact assessment studies for the first phase (2002-2006) was implemented in 15 of the poorest districts, covering 100,000 specially selected ultra poor households. The studies showed that the programme had significant positive impact on the livelihoods of the participant households.
Impact assessment study for the first phase of the programme, using panel data collected over a span of seven years (2002-2008), shows that the programme has positive impacts on real income, food security and asset accumulation, and that the impacts are mostly sustainable in the long-run (after seven years of intervention). The study documents that magnitude of the impact on per capita income increases over time.
Productive asset holding, although transferred by the programme, increased significantly and sustained over long term, indicating that the programme helped the participant households generate a sustainable productive asset base.
With regard to savings, in 2002 (baseline) only 8 per cent of programme women participants had cash savings but this proportion increased to 94 per cent in 2005 and then 98 per cent in 2008. Among women from the comparison group, this proportion increased from 21 to 30 per cent and then to 34 per cent over the same period. Programme participation has been also found to have positive impact on outstanding borrowing and lending behaviour of the participants. As for the indicator related to self-perceived food security, in 2002 (baseline), chronic food insecurity among the participant households was significantly high compared to the compared non-participant households. In 2005, proportion of participant households with chronic food insecurity had fallen by 47 per cent , while for the non-participating households, it had fallen by 11 per cent.
Using 10 specific indicators related to food security, asset holding, home gardening etc, the study showed that 8 per cent of the participant households met 7 out of 10 criteria at the baseline but the proportion increased to 92 per cent in 2008. Corresponding proportion among non-participants increased from 25 per cent in 2002 to 64 per cent in 2008.
Qualitative exploration reveals that determination, confidence, social networking and asset management skills are the key factors to use the support provided by the CFPR programme most effectively.
On the other hand, impact assessment study for second phase of the programme uses 2007-2011 panel data (randomised control trial). The study shows evidence of substantial positive impact of the programme on labour force participation and occupational choices of women from the targeted communities. Compared to a similar distribution across activities in both targeted and control communities at the baseline (2007), two years later (ie, in 2009), all the eligible women in treatment communities were in the labour force, and almost all of them were engaged in self-employment. On the contrary, women in control communities experienced no noticeable change relative to baseline. This trend remained similar even after four years (ie, in 2011). The study also shows that after four years of intervention, annual real income of the participant women increased by 33 per cent due to programme intervention. On the other hand, per capita real food and non-food expenditures increased by 4 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.
The Research and evaluation division of BRAC has conducted baseline (2012) and follow up (2014) surveys to evaluate phase 3 of the CFPR-TUP programme. Preliminary findings echo the positive results obtained by the studies conducted during the earlier phases of the programme.