Evaluating Impacts of Nodal Anganwadi Centres in Bihar, India: A Quasi-Experimental Approach

The project, sponsored by 3ie, will be undertaking a rigorous impact evaluation of the Nodal Anganwadi Centre (NAWC) initiative under the Uddeepan programme, supported by the DFID, under the Sector-Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) programme of the Government of Bihar. The programme is currently being implemented in nine high-focus districts of the state. Under the research project, we will be following a combination of difference-in-difference methodology along with the application of regression discontinuity designs for evaluating impacts. Specifically, the project’s empirical aims include to evaluate the programme to assess its impact on the quality of services provided and functionality of AWCs including the nodal AWC; on household’s use of the AWC and household knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding best practices; and identification of factors contributing to the heterogeneity of program impacts on both AWCs and households. Accordingly, a baseline survey will be conducted in July 2015 in about 5400 households, drawn from 20 GPs (with three Anganwadi centres from each GP) in six districts (four implementing districts - Supaul, Araria, Purnea and Kishanganj and two controls – Khagaria and Katihar), and cover 15 households spanning the priority groups in each AWC. This will be followed by a final survey in mid-2016 allowing sufficient time for the programme’s roll-out and implementation. The project envisages strong engagement with the policy implementation process and key stakeholders in the state and ensuring buy-back of the evaluation results for informed decision-making. The results, apart from providing insights into the impacts arising on key programmatic dimensions outlined above, will help the implementing agency and the government to identify the priority areas for consolidating the benefits and facilitate better child health and nutrition outcomes by improving the quality and functionality of AWCs.