For years, One Acre Fund has rigorously tested the impact of its program on harvest yields and profits of participating farmers. However, questions remained on the ways in which the program was impacting other facets of farmers’ lives. For example, we wanted to know: In what ways were farmers investing any extra income? Do these investments lead to better life prospects? How is the program affecting aspects like health, education, and nutritional status?
To better understand the impact on farmers’ lives in a more holistic manner, in 2015 One Acre Fund initiated a “Quality of Life” study. This longitudinal study is currently following cohorts of One Acre Fund farmers in both Kenya and Rwanda (the largest country programs) and examining how their outcomes across a broad section of their lives – including health, education, nutrition, and financial literacy – change over time compared to changes which occur for a control group in a similar adjacent area. In addition to this differences- in-difference study design, we are using propensity score matching to control for any observable differences between the program and control groups. Both techniques will help us mitigate selection bias that comes from comparing farmers who self-selected into the program with those who have not.