Background Diverse economic empowerment programmes (eg, microcredit, village-led savings and loan, cash and productive asset transfers) for the poor have demonstrated mixed results as vehicles for improved economic stability, health and women's empowerment. However, limited rigorous evaluations exist on the impact of financial and non-financial outcomes of these programmes, especially in conflict-affected areas.
Methods The team evaluated the effectiveness of an innovative livestock productive asset transfer intervention—Pigs for Peace (PFP)—on economic, health and women's empowerment outcomes with participants in households in 10 villages in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Residual change analysis was used to examine the amount of change from baseline to 18 months between the intervention and delayed control groups, controlling for baseline scores.
Findings The majority of the 833 household participants were women (84%), 25 years of age or older, married, had on average 3 children and had never attended school. At 18 months postbaseline, the number of participants in the PFP households having outstanding credit/loans was 24.7% lower than households in the control group (p=0.028), and they had an 8.2% greater improvement in subjective health (p=0.026), a 57.1% greater reduction in symptoms of anxiety (p=0.020) and a 5.7% greater improvement in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (p<−0.001). At 18 months postbaseline, partnered women and men reported a reduction in experience and perpetration of all forms of intimate partner violence, although not statistically significant between groups.
Interpretation The findings support scalability of a livestock productive asset transfer programme in rural and conflict-affected settings where residents have extremely limited access to financial institutions or credit programmes, health or social services and where social norms that sustain gender inequality are strong.
Trial registration number NCT02008708.
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