Africa

  • Can Skills Training Programs Increase Employment for Young Women? The Case of Liberia.

    World Bank (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    The Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project in Liberia consists of six-months of classroom training followed by six-months of placement and support (including micro-enterprise advisory services and internship and job placement assistance). Participants are trained in business development skills, job skills, and life skills, and the program includes a capacity-building component for local partners. The aim is to smooth the transition from the classroom to wage or self-employment. According to midline results from 2012, the program led to a 50% increase in employment among trainees, increased average weekly income by 115%, and significantly increased girls' savings.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Vocational, business development, and life skills classroom and on-the-job training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-27 years old with basic literacy and numeracy skills, currently not in school.

    Findings: Employment increased by 50%. Incomes increased by 115%.

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  • Intentions to Participate in Adolescent Training Programs: Evidence from Uganda

    Bandiera et al (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Almost one-third of the population in developing countries is under age 15. Hence improving the effectiveness of policy interventions that target adolescents might be especially important. We analyze the intention to participate in training programs of adolescent girls in Uganda, a country with perhaps the most skewed age distribution anywhere in the world. The training program we focus on is BRAC's Adolescent Development Program, which emphasizes the provision of life skills, entrepreneurship training, and microfinance. We find that girls who are more likely to benefit from the program are more likely to intend to participate. The program attracts girls who are likely to place a high value on financial independence: single mothers and girls who are alienated from their families. The program attracts girls who are more likely to benefit from training: girls who believe they could be successful entrepreneurs but currently lack the quantitative skills to do so. Reassuringly, girls who are in school full-time are less likely to intend to participate. We also find that the program attracts girls from poorer villages but we find no evidence that poorer girls within each village are more likely to want to participate. Finally, girls from villages who have previously been exposed to NGO projects are less likely to intend to participate.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Group-based unconditional cash transfer.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Men and women 16-35 years old.

    Findings: 80% of beneficiaries use grants for vocational training and business asset purchases. Employment increases by 50% for women and 25% for men. Income increases by 50%.

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  • Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY): Providing Social Support, Savings, and Microcredit Opportunities for Young Women in Areas with High HIV Prevalence

    Erulkar et al (2006)

    Original Abstract:

    The document reports on the Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY) project in Nairobi, Kenya. The project aimed to reduce the vulnerability of out of school adolescent girls and young women, aged 16-22, to HIV infection and other illnesses by improving their livelihood options through microfinance interventions. The document includes a description of the project, an overview of microfinance in Africa, a discussion of the limits of the project's initial microcredit model, an analysis of the project's impact, and recommendations for the way forward.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Microfinance.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-22 years old, who are out-of-school and live in low-income and slum areas of Nairobi

    Findings: Low repayment and high program dropout.

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  • Vocational Education Voucher Delivery and Labor Market Returns: A Randomized Evaluation Among Kenyan Youth

    Hicks et al (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This report describes the ongoing Technical and Vocational Vouchers Program (TVVP) in Kenya and provides early results from the intervention. Implementation began in 2008 with the recruitment of approximately 2,160 out-of-school youths (ranging in age from roughly 18 to 30). Study participants were drawn from the Kenya Life Panel Survey, an unusual on-going panel dataset of detailed educational, health, and cognitive information for over 7,000 adolescents in western Kenya. Of the 2,160 youths that applied to the TVVP, a random half were awarded a voucher for vocational training, while the other half served as the control group. Of the voucher winners, a random half were awarded a voucher that could only be used in public (government) institutions, while the other half received a voucher that could be used in either private or public institutions. The project also included a cross-cutting information intervention, which exposed a randomly selected half of all treatment and control individuals to information about the actual returns to vocational education. This report focuses on program take-up, the demand for vocational training and the impacts of the information intervention on institution and course selection, participant attendance, the short-term impacts of training on labor market expectations and outcomes for a representative subset of program participants, and training center characteristics. The report also provides some suggestive evidence on the supply-side impacts of the program.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Awarded voucher for either public (government) institution or private institution. Half of the group was also expsed to information about actual returns to vocational education.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 2,160 men and women aged 18-30 (63% women) who were out of school.

    Findings: Influenced more women to enroll in traditionally male-dominated (and higher-paying) courses of study.

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  • The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana

    Goldstein and Udry (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    We examine the impact of ambiguous and contested land rights on investment and productivity in agriculture in Akwapim, Ghana. We show that individuals who hold powerful positions in a local political hierarchy have more secure tenure rights, and that as a consequence they invest more in land fertility and have substantially higher output. The intensity of investments on different plots cultivated by a given individual correspond to that individual's security of tenure over those specific plots and, in turn, to the individuals' position in the political hierarchy relevant to those specific plots.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Akwapim South District, Eastern Region.

    Intervention description: None.

    Methodology: Household-level fixed-effects estimation.

    Sample: 252 married couples; 519 plots in 4 village clusters owned by 240+ married couples; each couple was interviewed 15 times during a two-year period.

    Findings: Security of tenure has an important effect on land productivity (via investments in soil fertility) and security of tenure is related to an individual's position in the political and social hierarchy, with most women relatively disadvantaged. Insecure tenure leads to substantially lower profits per hectare for women compared to men.

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  • Crop Price Indemnified Loans for Farmers: A Pilot Experiment in Rural Ghana

    Karlan, Kutsoati, McMillan and Udry (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    Farmers face a particular set of risks that complicate the decision to borrow. We use a randomized experiment to investigate (1) the role of crop-price risk in reducing demand for credit among farmers and (2) how risk mitigation changes farmers' investment decisions. In Ghana, we offer farmers loans with an indemnity component that forgives 50 percent of the loan if crop prices drop below a threshold price. A control group is offered a standard loan product at the same interest rate. Loan uptake is high among all farmers and the indemnity component has little impact on uptake or other outcomes of interest.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Eastern.

    Intervention description: Farmers offered loans with or without crop price insurance and financial literacy training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Farmers (15% female).

    Findings: Take up rates were high (92% of farmers offered loans and crop price insurance, 86% of farmers offered loans only). Gender did not have a significant effect on take up.

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  • Strengthening Economic Rights and Women's Occupational Choice The Impact of Reforming Ethiopia's Family Law

    Hallward-Driemeier and Gajigo (2011)

    Intervention settings: Nationwide

    Intervention description: Reform of Ethiopia's 2000 Family Code: Raised the minimum age of marriage for women, removed the ability of the husband to deny permission for the wife to work outside the home and required both spouses' consent in the administration of marital property.

    Methodology: Difference in using DHS survey data collected in Ethiopia in 2000 and 2005.

    Sample: 15,367 women (14,070 in follow-up).

    Findings: Women more likely to work in occupations that require work outside the home, in paid and full-time jobs, and in higher-paid positions. Effect of law seems strongest for young, single women, which seems to be from the increase in the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years.

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  • Incentives to Learn

    Kremer, Miguel and Thornton (2009)

    Original Abstract:

    We report results from a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program for adolescent girls in Kenya. Girls who scored well on academic exams had their school fees paid and received a cash grant for school supplies. Girls eligible for the scholarship showed significant gains in academic exam scores (average gain 0.12-0.19 standard deviations) and these gains persisted following the competition. There is also evidence of positive program externalities on learning: boys, who were ineligible for the awards, also showed sizeable average test gains, as did girls with low pretest scores, who were unlikely to win. Both student and teacher school attendance increased in the program schools. We discuss implications both for understanding the nature of educational production functions and for the policy debate surrounding merit scholarships.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Busia and Teso districts

    Intervention description: Merit scholarships awarded to 6th grade girls.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: Students

    Findings: Test scores increased by 0.19 standard deviations. Teacher attendance increased by 4.8 percentage points (by 7.6 percentage points in the 6th grade).

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  • Poverty and Productivity in Female-Headed Households in Zimbabwe

    Horrell and Krishnan (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    A household survey conducted in rural Zimbabwe in 2001 is used to compare the position of de facto and de jure female-headed households to those with a male head. These households are characterised by different forms of poverty that impinge on their ability to improve agricultural productivity. However, once inputs are accounted for, it is only for growing cotton that female- headed households' productivity is lower than that found for male-headed households. General poverty alleviation policies will benefit the female-headed household but specific interventions via extension services and access to marketing consortia are also indicated.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: OLS and Heckman selection model.

    Sample: 300 households (69 female-headed).

    Findings: Compares the position of de facto and de jure female headed households to male headed households. Initially perceived differences in agricultural productivity disappear when inputs are taken into account, particularly land holdings.

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  • Kaizen for Managerial Skills Improvement in Small and Medium Enterprises: An Impact Evaluation Study

    Sonobe, Suzuki, and Otsuka (2011)

    Intervention settings: Urban.

    Intervention description: KAIZEN Production management training - to reduce non-value adding operations. Multifaceted classroom training and on-site KAIZEN training. Sample received both trainings, one or the other, or none.

    Methodology: RCT - Randomized invitation to participate.

    Sample: 100-180 male and female firm owners with typical revenues of $200-300,000 USD per year.

    Findings: Entrepreneurs in the sample knew little about standard business practices and attached low value to learning management, but the training improved participants' business practices and recognition of importance of management knowledge. Male owners 20% more likely to participate in training given invitation than females. One year older increases probability of participating by 1-2%.

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