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Expanding Access to Clean Water for the Rural Poor: Experimental Evidence from Malawi

Mar 2020
By  Pascaline Dupas, Basimenye Nhlema, Zachary Wagner, Aaron Wolf, Emily Wroe
Using data from an 18-month randomized trial in rural Malawi, we estimate large and sustained health impacts of a program that provides monthly coupons for free water treatment solution (diluted chlorine) to households with young children. Such a program is no less effective and considerably more cost-effective than asking Community Health Workers (CHWs) to distribute free chlorine to households. That's because only about 30% of households use free chlorine, targeting through CHWs is worse than self-targeting, and water treatment promotion by CHWs does not increase adoption.