AMF has provided regular, public updates on the large, ongoing net distribution in the Ntcheu district of Malawi. Expected data collection has occurred and the distribution has proceeded close to schedule. AMF's distribution partner, Concern Universal, has been transparent about problems it has encountered, and seems to have a robust process to catch problems (such as attempts to steal nets) when they arise.
As discussed in our 2011 review of AMF, in late 2011, AMF sent about 250,000 nets to its distribution partner, Concern Universal, to distribute to households in the district of Ntcheu, Malawi. As of March 8, Concern Universal reported that it had distributed 242,745 nets to households in the district; for its final distribution location, Concern Universal requires another 16,574 nets. The final distribution will take place in late March/early April.1
This distribution was not a result of GiveWell's top recommendation (the distribution was planned before we made AMF our #1 charity); however, AMF has told us that future distributions are likely to resemble this one, and we therefore report in detail below on the progress of this distribution.
Progress to date:
Concern Universal reports that theft "has made the project team not to rely so much on the HSAs when distributing but instead rely on the village members who are the beneficiaries."6 Concern Universal mentioned that they had never found instances of theft from villagers helping with the distributions.7
Concern Universal appears to have a relatively robust process for both preventing and catching cases of fraud. The updates note that there are Concern Universal staff members present at the distributions with HSAs, and also make clear that Concern Universal is aware of potentially problematic situations where nets might be stolen.8
In at least one case, Concern Universal noted when a number of villagers did not collect their nets, and investigated whether this was a case of HSAs registering fake names.9
We provide a full update on AMF's future plans in our blog post.
We expect an overview report on how the Ntcheu distribution went as well as photos and video within a few months of the end of the distribution.
Post-distribution surveys to check the condition and usage of the nets are scheduled 6, 18, 30 and 42 months after the distribution ends.
Rob Mather, Email to GiveWell, March 8, 2012.
Concern Universal, "Pre-Distribution Survey Data"
Against Malaria Foundation, "Distribution Plan."
Data from Concern Universal, "Distribution Updates" compiled in GiveWell, "Nets Tables."
Concern Universal, “Distribution Update(January 23-28, 2012)," Pg 3.
"We have involved the village leadership (headman etc. and members of the Village Health Committee) closely at the distribution stage rather than just using the HS to distribute the nets with our team. This is because we have come across several cases of attempted theft by HSAs but none to date from the village leadership." Robin Todd, quoted in Rob Mather, email to GiveWell, March 8, 2012.
For example: "One HSA confessed that he added ghost names to the initial register which were not removed during verification. He thought that he would be the one responsible for distributing the nets and earmarked 90 nets for himself as a result of these ghost names which he apparently planned to sell. He was unhappy to find out that CU staff would be present for all distributions hence meaning that he was unable to take these nets." Concern Universal, “Distribution Update (December 16-31, 2011)," Pg 2.
"Heavy rains have also been another challenge in that it is making the distributions to take long to finish per distribution point as the beneficiaries have to fetch shelter for some time till the rains stop. This is mostly occurring in places where the distributions are taking place on open grounds where shifting the nets to the shelters has potential to expose the nets to theft. Bridge wash away has also been another challenge in that we had to reallocate one distribution point meaning beneficiaries had to cross the river to access the nets. These challenges are delaying the distribution process hence the distribution staff have been forced at times to work under darkness so that they finish the day’s distribution. However we have been receiving good support from both health centre personnel and the local lead" Concern Universal, “Distribution Update (January 23-27, 2012)," Pg 3.
"At Kasinje health centre, 95.1% of the sleeping spaces are under mosquito nets now since 21,810 nets were received by the beneficiaries of the 22,932 sleeping spaces requiring the nets. There are five villages (Gambatula, Mchokera, Mitongwe, Donyo and Saguga) under the health centre that have not been issued with the nets. This is due to communication breakdown for the Gambatula, Mchokera and Mitongwe villages, as the beneficiaries anticipated that the distribution will be one day ahead as for Donyo and Saguga. We are investigating the existence of these villages as no beneficiaries have so far claimed that they haven’t received their nets from such villages. We believe that they were fabricated villages. We have planned to arrange a day during the mop up week to verify this and serve the three villages with the nets they are supposed to receive. "Distribution Update (January 23-28, 2012)," Pg 2.
"There was a high return of 120 nets from one village of Sanjani under Dzunje health centre as the concerned beneficiaries were not known by the villagers. We suspect that this was a case of registration fraud." Concern Universal, "Distribution Update (January 16-21, 2012)," Pgs 1-2.
"There was also a data issue at Ntonda health centre in the villages of Dambule 1 and 2. It was observed that most beneficiaries from Dambule 1 also existed in Dambule 2 data base hence they had already accessed their nets from Dambule 1. This situation had not been dealt with during data cleaning as it was only when both villages were asked to collect nets from the same distribution point that it became clear that there had been duplicate entries. The team distributes from 10 distribution centres at the same time everyday meaning that it is practically impossible for villagers to collect two nets from different sites by double registering." Concern Universal, "Distribution Update (January 9-14, 2012)," Pg 2.
"The major challenge during the week was that were a good number of villagers claiming that their names had been skipped. It turned out upon investigations that many of these people had not bothered to participate in the registration process as they did not believe that nets would actually be distributed as apparently there had in the past been registrations which were not then followed up by the actual delivery of intended items." Concern Universal, Concern Universal, "Distribution Update (January 30-Februry 4, 2012)."
Robin Todd, quoted in Rob Mather, email to GiveWell, March 8, 2012.