Creating informed demand and impacts through innovative and cost effective extension in Kenya

Publication Details

3ie Funded Evaluation TW13.1020. A link to the completed study will appear here when available.

Andrew Mude, Nathan Jensen, Duncan D. Khalai, Rupsha Banerjee, Diba D Galgallo
Institutional affiliations
International Livestock Research Institute
Grant-holding institution
International Livestock Research Institute
Sub-Saharan Africa (includes East and West Africa)
Agriculture and Rural Development
None specified
Gender analysis
None specified
Gender analysis
Equity Focus
Indigenous Groups
Evaluation design
Randomised Control Trials (RCT)
Ongoing 3ie Funded Studies
3ie Funding Window
Agricultural Insurance Thematic Window


This study will examine innovative approaches that use combinations of m-learning courses, short message service (SMS) and interactive voice response (IVR) tools for insurance agents and prospective clients to improve uptake of an index-based livestock insurance among pastoralists in Kenya.   


This evaluation will take place across six counties in Kenya namely Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River and Wajir. This study will focus on an index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) product developed by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for pastoralists, most of who are remotely located. IBLI is marketed by agents hired, trained and tasked with the responsibility of marketing and sales activities. The current approach of relying on intensive face-to-face meetings to train agents is unsustainable and with little evidence of successfully generating informed demand. The proposed intervention employs an innovative approach of blending different forms of training and extension using m-learning, SMS and IVR platform for agents and prospective clients to test the effectiveness of these alternative methods on insurance knowledge and uptake.

Research questions

  1.  How to most cost-effectively educate agents and the pastoral populations in northern Kenya about insurance?
  2. What role does an insurance agent’s command of the product play in the amount of insurance that s/he sells?
  3. What role does a client’s understanding of the insurance product play in determining the welfare impacts that coverage will have on that client?


Intervention design

This study proposes two types of interventions: agent-targeted and client-targeted. Agent-targeted interventions consist of m-learning course training, a SMS refresher course and an IVR job-aid content, along with an initial face-to-face training. Client-targeted interventions consist of SMS courses, IVR-based FAQ platforms and radio campaigns.

Theory of change

Pastoralists in northern Kenya rely on livestock for majority of their income. Droughts periodically decimate herd-wealth and reduces milk and offspring income dramatically. Theoretically, insurance should support the resilience of pastoral households by mitigating the impacts of drought on income and reducing the need to employ negative coping strategies. But, insurance can only help households that have correct knowledge of the product which requires effective and accurate extension services. These could either target prospective clients directly or could aim to train insurance sales agents and extension officers so that they can provide effective extension services. Informed demand in turn plays an important role in sustained uptake, in improving welfare in the shorter term, securing pastoral livelihoods and building resilience to drought in the longer term.

Evaluation design

Each of the six counties will be divided into sub-counties to reduce spillover. Sub-counties will be randomly allocated to one of four treatment arms: 1) agent training control, client extension control, 2) training control, extension treatment, 3) training treatment, extension control, 4) training treatment, extension treatment. The agent control will receive the status quo training method, which usually consists of a single face-to-face training at the beginning of the sales season. The agent training treatment will use a blended approach, including a shorter version of the face-to-face training, followed by an informational session on the m-learning application, the SMS course, and the IVR tool. The control client extension activities will remain as Takaful Insurance of Africa’s status quo, agent-led marketing activities such as town hall meetings, door-to-door outreach, and radio interviews. The extension treatments will be available to all residents of an extension treatment area and will include radio campaigns that promote the product, the SMS course, the IVR platform and information on how to access to those platforms.

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