Control Group Study

External Impact Assessment

Our team collects extensive data to evaluate the effectiveness of our program within the communities we serve.

Year after year, we’re encouraged to see that Seed Effect members are improving their lives in every sector we are measuring. And now, thanks to an independent control group study recently completed by Dr. Stephen DeLoach of Elon University, we can see how these results compare to the general population.

Seed Effect members, Benson and Flora, hold their chicks with pride.
The couple raises chickens to sell eggs in the market and feed their family.

Comparing Seed Effect Members to Non-Participants

In 2018, Dr. DeLoach began an independent impact assessment of Seed Effect’s program to examine whether Seed Effect members experienced increased self-reliance and empowerment compared to non-participants in the same communities. DeLoach’s control study consisted of 1,491 individuals surveyed between 2018 to early 2020. This included 939 South Sudanese refugees and 552 Ugandans.

Results of the study support that Seed Effect’s program does have significant positive effects for both refugee and host community participants. DeLoach’s review includes the impact of participation on asset accumulation and reports that “relative to non-participants, members of 

Seed Effect’s groups on average experienced significant increases in most asset categories over the course of one year.”

As seen in Figure 2, non-participants reported a decrease in the value of livestock owned while Seed Effect members experienced a significant increase (+628% in comparison) as detailed in Table 1. This increase, DeLoach found, is seen in both the refugee and host community participants alike.

DeLoach notes that this is especially important because of the unique challenges facing refugees. He writes, “Because refugees have been forced to leave their communities and livelihoods, they are likely to lack the social structure to support them economically. Seed Effect offers opportunities to accumulate savings and wealth to build livelihoods and insure against major expenses.”

Seed Effect member, Abraham Chandiru, with his wife on their family farm.

“Overall, the relatively large impact revealed in this assessment underscores the value of Seed Effect’s program within the UNHCR’s refugee aid and development framework by demonstrating the viability of groups as an important mechanism to promote refugee self-reliance.”

DeLoach concludes,

“By providing [Seed Effect] training and opportunities, refugees are able to become self-reliant by accumulating wealth that insures them against unexpected emergencies…”

Dr. Stephen DeLoach serves as Professor and Chair of Elon University’s department of Economics. After earning a Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University, he joined Elon’s Love School of Business in 1996. He has published 26 peer reviewed articles in development economics, labor economics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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