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Researching the Outcome and Impact of the Nutritional Improvements through Cash and Health Education (NICHE) Programme on the First 1,000 Days of Life in Kitui County, Kenya - Inception Report (October 2016)

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With technical support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kitui County Government has developed the NICHE programme. NICHE aims to target 3,800 households with children under two years of age and/or pregnant women (Manji, 2015), and was established by UNICEF with funding from European Union (EU) Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE) in Kenya programme, to test whether focusing on combining nutritional counselling with additional cash assistance can improve nutrition outcomes. The NICHE inception report prepared by Manji (2015) outlines the proposed work, and suggests that the additional cash transfers are delivered on top of the Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC) or the World Food Programme (WFP) Cash for Assets programme (CFA).

The impacts of nutritional counselling and additional cash transfers will therefore be compared to only receiving existing cash transfers, as it is the add on effects of existing cash which are of interest.

There are many partners involved in this initiative. They include: the EU, which is providing financial support for the programme; UNICEF which is handling the overall programme management; the Government of Kenya (GoK), providing leadership at the national and county level; WFP who will be supporting in the identification of the beneficiaries from CFA; Population Services (PS) Kenya whose role will be to undertake focused nutritional counselling;
International Medical Corps (IMC) who will support in identifying the target households and ensure cash transfers are delivered on time; and Kimetrica Limited, whose role is to evaluate the impact of additional cash transfers and nutritional counselling.

As the lead research institute, Kimetrica will be responsible for designing, implementing and reporting on a robust methodology to evaluate the impact of the NICHE programme during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. This will involve gaining an understanding of previous methodologies, the existing cash beneficiary systems, the proposed approaches, and coordinating with relevant partners in the timing and targeting of the interventions in line with the proposed research design. Kimetrica will interpret the TOR “Researching the Outcomes and Impact of the Nutritional Improvements through Cash and Health Education (NICHE) Programme on the First 1000 Days of Life in Kitui County Kenya” and seek to fullfill the requirements of the study through consultations with stakeholders and overall guidance from UNICEF.