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Creating Informed Demand for Drought Insurance through
Digital Extension Education in Kenya

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Project Description

The goal of this project is to increase informed demand for Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) among pastoralists by identifying cost-effective strategies for training insurance sales agents and conducting direct-to-pastoralist extension activities in remote regions.

Research Overview


Our partners rely on their sales workforce to advertise and educate prospective insurance clients. Naturally, these sales agents should have a comprehensive understanding of the product themselves. Up until now, this understanding has been built through costly face-­to-face training workshops conducted just before each biannual sales window.

Although these efforts have proven to be partially successful, they are expensive, and the knowledge of trained sales agents often falls short of expectations. As of yet there have been few options for providing information directly to clients or tracking knowledge transfer from agent to clients. The result is that not only are the costs associated with selling IBLI high, those managing the process have very little information with which to improve their efforts.

Research Activities

Remote learning offers several potential advantages over the traditional face-to-face training, including more sustained interactions, consistent and better-timed training, reduced cost, and real-time monitoring of individual agents’ training progress and product knowledge. However, because agents complete their courses remotely, they do so under less direct supervision, which can lead to low effort and/or low completion rates.

This initiative investigates the extent to which mobile-based resources can substitute for or supplement the expensive face-to-face training in remote locations. We are developing a new mLearning (mobile learning) training application, SMS refresher courses, interactive voice response (IVR) job tools, and methods for remotely collecting data from clients aimed at maximising the cost-effectiveness of training insurance sales agents in the region. In addition, we are piloting integrated radio campaigns and SMS and IVR extension resources targeted directly to clients.

Implementation of the agent training and extension activities will be varied across space and time, and all the digital platforms collect information on participation, which will allow us to track knowledge transmission between the interventions and their participants and from agent to their clients, and then examine how knowledge impacts uptake.

Findings to Date

We have successfully developed and piloted an mLearning course, an SMS-based refresher course, and an IVR system for both agents and clients.  We are now working to improve their content and delivery. The updated content is scheduled to be experimentally tested across northern Kenya during the second half of 2019.

Implementing Partners

  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

  • Takaful Insurance of Africa

Funded by

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Project Timeline

January 2016 - Current


Nathaniel Jensen

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