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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  • 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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  • Is Land Titling in Sub-Saharan Africa Cost-Effective? Evidence from Madagascar

    Jacoby and Minten (2007)

    Original Abstract:

    Formalizing land rights has been promoted as a way to encourage agricultural investment and stimulate land markets, yet little is known about the benefits of such policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the preconditions for success are less favorable. The analysis uses a large sample of plots from an intensively titled rice-growing area of Madagascar and compares land-specific investments, land productivity, and land values for titled and untitled plots cultivated by the same household. Having a title has no significant effect on plot-specific investment and correspondingly little effect on land productivity and land values. These results are broadly consistent with a simulation of a theoretical model of investment under expropriation risk calibrated to the same data. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that the current system of formal titling should not be extended in rural Madagascar and that any new system of land registration would have to be quite inexpensive to be worthwhile.

    Intervention settings: Rural: Lac Alaotra region.

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Household-level fixed effects estimation using cross-section data on multiple plots per household.

    Sample: 1,700 households owning 2,652 owner-cultivated rice plots in 38 communes.

    Findings: Land titling has only a modest (+6%) effect on land values. Land titling has no significant effect on land-related investment or productivity.

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  • Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger

    Aker (2010)

    Intervention settings: Rural (39% of markets were located in an urban center).

    Intervention description: Extension of mobile phone coverage.

    Methodology: Matched difference in differences.

    Sample: Traders and markets.

    Findings: Grain markets that are further apart from other markets or have poor road quality, or high transportation costs between them show stronger effects. Mobile phones have a greater impact as more markets gain coverage. Impact of mobiles on price dispersion increases slightly and becomes more statistically significant as more people have phones making the same technology have greater value.

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  • Inheritance Practices and Gender Differences in Poverty and Well-Being in Rural Ethiopia

    Kumar and Quisumbing (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    This article examines the role of men's and women's asset inheritance in poverty and well-being in rural Ethiopia. Data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (1997, 2004, and 2009) are used to investigate the following. (i) What is the long-term impact of gender differentials in inheritance on household consumption, poverty and food security? (ii) Are there significant differences in poverty and well-being between male-and female-headed households? The most important finding is that it is the amounts of inheritance received, and not whether women inherit at all, that have the most profound impacts. The area of land inherited is particularly important for women's long-term well-being. These findings underscore the importance of women's rights to inherit equally with men.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Probit and OLS models with Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (1997, 2004, 2009).

    Sample: 1,300 households (32% female-headed).

    Findings: Area of land inherited is a key determinant of women's long term well-being.

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  • Zap It to Me: The Short-Term Impacts of a Mobile Cash Transfer Program

    Aker and others (2011)

    Intervention settings: Rural: Tahoua region.

    Intervention description: Use of mobile phones to distribute unconditional cash transfers in targeted villages.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Recipient households in 96 villages.

    Findings: Participants in the Zap program incurred significantly fewer costs in the process of obtaining the cash transfer as compared to the placebo group or the manual cash transfer group. Zap program recipients saved approximately 30 minutes of time not spent traveling for each transfer, a total of 2.5 hours over the duration of the program. Zap HHs compared to both the manual transfer group and the placebo group purchased on average .86 more types food and non-food items with the cash transfer. (Finding was statistically significant and shows that the m-transfer encourages a larger variety of purchases.) These spending trends do not carry over into the analysis of health and school fee expenditures made with the transfer. (There are no statistically significant differences between the groups in spending on health or education.) HH diet diversity is .16 points higher in Zap villages as compared with placebo villages. (There was no statistically significant difference between the levels of consumption of staple foods but there were notable and statistically significant differences among consumption of fruit and fats.) No statistically significant differences across groups. No statistically significant differences among program types in ownership of durable assets HHs in the Zap program villages had on average .15 more non-durable assets as compared to the placebo group. (This finding suggests that "zap households were selling non-durable assets less frequently than those in placebo or cash villages.") Zap villages on average grew .36 more types of crops than those in the placebo villages. (Findings are driven by an increased likeliness for Zap village households to engage in female produced cash crops such as vouandzou and okra production.) No differences among groups in levels of spending for school fees or spending in markets outside the village.

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