Data collectors test out their tablet computers to collect household level data for the Asili project.

Asili Evaluation Launch in DRC

A facilitator energizes a team of data collectors being trained to conduct the Asili project evaluation in Bukavu, DRC

Photos: Aisha Talib

Programs to reduce poverty and improve access to safe water are widely promoted to improve the health and well being of communities worldwide. But how does delivering these programs together in one community affect child health and survival? One Stanford team of researchers is leading a study to find out just that.

In December 2015, Aisha Talib, Program Officer in the Global Child Health Program, traveled to Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the new Asili project evaluation. An interdisciplinary group of Stanford researchers led by Dr. Bonnie Maldonado has been funded by USAID to evaluate the livelihood improvement approach of interlocking social enterprises  called Asili.

The eastern region of DRC is recovering from decades of conflict that destroyed infrastructure and livelihoods and caused massive displacement.

In this region, an estimated 71% of the population lives in poverty and child mortality is the 5th highest in the world: more than one child in seven dies before reaching age five.

Innovative strategies are needed to improve livelihoods while also delivering basic services in order to reduce poverty and, in turn, save children’s lives.

The American Refugee Committee (ARC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and have developed Asili, an innovative, scalable solution to reduce poverty and improve child survival in South Kivu province, DRC. Asili (foundation in Swahili) implements a suite of social enterprises to provide basic services and employment opportunities in South Kivu. Based on the Human-Centered Design (HCD) process led by, a model of multiple businesses to meet multiple needs was developed, linked under the Asili membership system.

Program Manager, Aisha Talib, launching the Stanford-designed evaluation of Asili.


"Asili is unique in the way it combines livelihood support and health interventions to improve the lives of children and families,” says Talib.

Stanford is working with the Congolese contract research organization, Centre Africaine de Researche et Developpment (CARDE) to undertake a baseline and end line survey in the intervention zones.

During her December trip, Talib worked with the CARDE team members to train 18 data collectors on the survey, Redcap software and tablets which were used for mobile data collection. Data was successfully collected from roughly 200 households in 2 communities.

Next steps for the project are data analysis and further baseline data collection in two new communities in June 2016.