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Implementing a 10,000 refugee household public lottery in eight days — lessons from Kiryandongo, Uganda

Rico Bergemann 19 December 2019

GiveDirectly staff waiting to assign participants to the next free lottery station. ©IDinsight/Rico Bergemann

IDinsight Associate Rico Bergemann checks the number of ping pong balls in one of the lottery buckets. ©IDinsight/Penny Davis

After the participant has picked the ping pong ball, the GiveDirectly Field Officer, Joyce, shows the participant the picked group number. ©IDinsight/Rico Bergemann

A participant picks his number from a lottery bucket. The buckets are covered with kitenge material to block the view into the bucket. ©IDinsight/Rico Bergemann

To avoid long lines and backlogs during the WFP food and cash distribution, multiple lotteries took place at the same time. ©IDinsight/Rico Bergemann
  1. 1. In a phase-in design, all study participants ultimately receive the ‘treatment’ or intervention. However, instead of everyone receiving it at the same time, which would prevent any comparison between recipients and non-recipients (or: ‘treatment’ and ‘control’), the recipients receive the intervention sequentially. This allows comparing those who have not yet received the intervention to those who have. There is usually an ethical reason underlying a phase-in design. In the case of this project, there is a large body of existing evidence suggesting positive effects of cash transfers (albeit ongoing discussions on negative spillovers)
  2. 2. Based on our sample, the average household size in Kiryandongo settlement should be about 9 household members. Note the GiveDirectly provides the cash transfer per households registered with UNHCR/ OPM, and not per individual.
  3. 3. For example, where people live and the languages spoken in their household.
  4. 4. 87% of respondents who picked numbers 17–20 (‘control group’) thought the process was fair, compared to 92% of respondents who picked numbers 1 or 2 (‘treatment group’). And 81% of respondents who picked numbers 17–20 thought the lottery was the fairest approach possible, compared to 89% of respondents who picked numbers 1 or 2.