The effects of non-food item vouchers in a humanitarian context: the case of the Rapid Response to Movements of Population program in Congo

Publication Details

John Quattrochi, Ghislain Bisimwa, Peter Van der Windt,Maarten Voors
Institutional affiliations
None specified
Grant-holding institution
None specified
Democratic Republic of Congo
Sub-Saharan Africa (includes East and West Africa)
Health Nutrition and Population
None specified
Gender analysis
None specified
Gender analysis
Equity Focus
Conflict Afflicted, Ethnic Minorities, Refugees
Evaluation design
Randomised Control Trials (RCT), Mixed Methods
Ongoing 3ie Funded Studies
3ie Funding Window
Humanitarian Assistance Thematic Window


Humanitarian actors have been present for over 20 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in response to an ongoing armed conflict and low-state capacity in the mountainous east of the country. There is an increasing demand from donors, policymakers and implementing agencies to know what works and why, to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively. In 2014, the Rapid Response to Population Movements (RRMP) programme operated in four provinces in eastern Congo: Oriental Province, North Kivu, South Kivu and Katanga. RRMP operates within a highly complex local context of low state capacity, on-going low-level violent conflict involving dozens of armed groups (some supported by neighbouring countries), weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illness, high rates of population displacement (many households are displaced multiple times), refugee inflows from neighbouring countries, myriad humanitarian and development actors, and the political uncertainty of a new democracy.

RRMP provides humanitarian assistance in four sectors: non-food items (NFIs), health, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The sector(s) addressed in any particular response depend on vulnerability scores generated during a multi-sectoral assessment (MSA). MSAs are carried out by RRMP implementing partners as soon as the Comité de Pilotage (CP) decides that an emergency meets RRMPs mandate. Each of the four provinces in which RRMP intervenes has a CP that meets weekly to discuss any alerts received since the last meeting.

Research questions

This evaluation will address the following question:

What is the effect of humanitarian assistance (specifically the provision of vouchers for NFIs provided to recently displaced or returned persons, and vulnerable host families, on health and well-being?


In intervention areas communities, RRMP assigns to each household a vulnerability score. Normally, only households with a score above a threshold receive assistance. The study aims to cover 1,000 households in total. Specifically, it expects to include 100 households in each of 10 RRMP interventions that are closest to but below the vulnerability threshold. Because these 1,000 households are below the vulnerability threshold they are among the most vulnerable households in the community, but would not have received assistance according to standard RRMP criteria. Among, these 1,000 households the half of them will be randomly assigned to receive NFI vouchers, and half to receive nothing. Fewer households may be included in a given intervention depending on the size of the intervention, the rate at which displacements occur, and the expected attrition. Qualitative methods will be used to deepen the theory of change, ensure that the quantitative survey instrument is appropriate for the context and provide information about the channels through which any causal effect operates, including direct and indirect effects (i.e. spillovers).

This award has been granted to Catholic University of Bukavu.

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