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Can Asset Transfer & Asset Protection Policies Alter Poverty Dynamics in Northern Kenya?

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

A study to to improve understanding on the impacts that insurance and graduation programs have on the extent and depth of poverty over time. Furthermore, we aim to identify prospective complementarities between the two approaches to social protection.


Graduation programs and index insurance are being promoted as effective tools for reducing poverty.  This project will examine two such programs—the Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) product and the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP)—both of which are currently operating in high-poverty regions of northern Kenya and have received international support aimed at reducing poverty. 

Although there is a growing literature on the impacts of index insurance and graduation programs, there is still much to learn.  Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of various implementation strategies and leveraging potential complementarities remains mostly unstudied.


We are implementing a randomized control trial (RCT) consisting of treatments of IBLI and REAP treatments in Samburu County of Kenya. The RCT will contain four treatment arms: control, only REAP, only IBLI, and REAP + IBLI. A baseline, midline, and endline survey of 1,890 participating households will be collected in 2018, 2020, and 2022, respectively.

Table 1. Implementation frame of the RCT.


The groundwork for this project was laid in early 2016 when DfID and the AMA-BASIS lab at UC Davis expressed interest in a research agenda around comparing and contrasting index insurance, graduation programs and cash transfers as social protection tools. Over the following 12 months and multiple meetings between various stakeholders, the current research design examining the impact and complementarities between graduation programs and insurance emerged as being the most interesting to policy makers and practitioners.

Near the end of 2017, an agreement was signed between the AMA-BASIS lab, ILRI, and The Boma Project. A baseline of 1,890 households was successfully collected in February/March of 2018. Please see the Baseline Survey Field Report for more information on the survey tool and collection activities.  As of August, 2018, 317 coupons were used to insure a total value of 14.3 million shillings (~143,000 USD) of livestock. Boma began REAP treatments in April and have enrolled 168 businesses to date (August, 2018).



The BOMA Project & Takaful Insurance of Africa


BASIS: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access


2018 - 2022


Nathan Jensen


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