Last September, Michael Harhay and Dylan Small (Doctoral student and Professor, respectively, University of Pennsylvania) along with their talented team of Harvard and FXB co-researchers, submitted a comprehensive study for publication. “An assessment of the FXBVillage Program in Uganda and Rwanda” paper is the product of over three years of extensive monitoring and evaluation and aimed to evaluate the sustainability and effectiveness of the USAID-supported FXBVillage programs in Uganda and Rwanda. We are absolutely delighted to share the promising findings with you!
Using data from the FXBVillage’s Harvard-developed monitoring and evaluation methodology, the team used baseline and three-year follow up surveys to compare the status of beneficiary households before and after program completion and a sample of households surveyed as part of national Demographic Health Surveys. The results suggested that the FXBVillage program encourages positive outcomes across multiple variables despite a few limitations. Limitations to the study included the lack of simultaneously followed control groups due to the ethical concerns of providing aid to one group versus another, the inability to control for country-specific contexts (such as government institutions, existing health sector infrastructure, etc.), as well as the potential for inflationary bias from self-reports from beneficiaries. Regardless of the minor setbacks, the study concluded that the FXBVillage program induced marked improvements across a broad range of indicators concerning economic security, health and nutritional status, safe water and sanitation, psychosocial well-being, and educational resources and participation.
Additionally, the report hypothesized that the relatively high levels of community ownership and participation due to the FXBVillage’s community-led approach and innovative programming likely drove the positive results. The FXBVillage’s unique strategy of engaging community members early on in the program development phase and hiring (instead of volunteer recruitment) of full time, local staff enabled communities to be fully invested and responsible in their own outcomes.
Finally, the study did conclude that more work and research would be required to further examine the longer-term costs, effectiveness, and sustainability of the FXBVillages in both countries. However, we at FXB are convinced that the FXBVillage methodology works and are already celebrating the encouraging news from these initial findings!
Harhay’s study only proves what we have known all along – that the FXBVillage Model that Albina developed gives the poorest of the poor families real solutions to lift themselves out of acute poverty. We look forward to sharing more evaluations of the FXBVillage methodology and hope you will support us in making sure that every individual in this world lives the dignified lives that she deserves.