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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  • Rural Land Certification in Ethiopia: Process, Initial Impact, and Implications for Other African Countries

    Deininger, Ali, Holden, and Zevenbergen (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    Although many African countries have recently adopted highly innovative and pro-poor land laws, lack of implementation thwarts their potentially far-reaching impact on productivity, poverty reduction, and governance. We use a representative household survey from Ethiopia where, over a short period, certificates to more than 20 million plots were issued to decribe the certification process, explore its incidence and preliminary impact, and quantify the costs. While this provides many suggestions to ensure sustainability and enhance impact, Ethiopia's highly cost-effective first-time registration process provides important lessons.

    Intervention settings: Nationwide.

    Intervention description: Rural land certification.

    Methodology: Probit, Tobit.

    Sample: 2,300 households (16% women-headed) in 115 villages (kebeles).

    Findings: Land was registered with rapid speed, in a participatory nature, and at low cost. The process did not favor the wealthy and was not biased against women. Study was preliminary and descriptive, and did not show detailed evidence of certification impacts on productivity and land market behavior.

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  • Employment Generation in Rural Africa: Mid-term Results from an Experimental Evaluation of the Youth Opportunities Program in Northern Uganda

    Blattman et al (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    Can cash transfers promote employment and reduce poverty in rural Africa? Will lower youth unemployment and poverty reduce the risk of social instability? We experimentally evaluate one of Uganda's largest development programs, which provided thousands of young people nearly unconditional, unsupervised cash transfers to pay for vocational training, tools, and business start_up costs. Mid_term results after two years suggest four main findings. First, despite a lack of central monitoring and accountability, most youth invest the transfer in vocational skills and tools. Second, the economic impacts of the transfer are large: hours of nonhousehold employment double and cash earnings increase by nearly 50% relative to the control group. We estimate the transfer yields a real annual return on capital of 35% on average. Third, the evidence suggests that poor access to credit is a major reason youth cannot start these vocations in the absence of aid. Much of the heterogeneity in impacts is unexplained, however, and is unrelated to conventional economic measures of ability, suggesting we have much to learn about the determinants of entrepreneurship. Finally, these economic gains result in modest improvements in social stability. Measures of social cohesion and community support improve mildly, by roughly 5 to 10%, especially among males, most likely because the youth becomes a net giver rather than a net taker in his kin and community network. Most strikingly, we see a 50% fall in interpersonal aggression and disputes among males, but a 50% increase among females. Neither change seems related to economic performance nor does social cohesion a puzzle to be explored in the next phase of the study. These results suggest that increasing access to credit and capital could stimulate employment growth in rural Africa. In particular, unconditional and unsupervised cash transfers may be a more effective and cost-efficient form of large-scale aid than commonly believed. A second stage of data collection in 2012 will collect longitudinal economic impacts, additional data on political violence and behavior, and explore alternative theoretical mechanisms.

    Intervention settings: Urban and Rural

    Intervention description: Cash grant of $304 per average beneficiary.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 2,000 individuals (aged 16 to 35) then placed into groups.

    Findings: Hours spent on income-generating activities increases by 24%. Earnings increase 18% but statistically insignificant (linear estimate).

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  • The impact of mobile phone coverage expansion on market participation: panel data evidence from Uganda

    Muto and Yamano (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    Uganda has experienced recently a rapid increase of area covered by mobile phone. As the information flow increases due to the mobile phone coverage expansion, the cost in crop marketing is expected to decrease, particularly more so for perishable crops, such as banana, in remote areas. We use panel data of 856 households in 94 communities, where the number of the communities covered by the mobile phone network increased from 41 to 87 communities over a two-year period between the first and second surveys in 2003 and 2005, respectively. We find that the proportion of the banana farmers who sold banana increased from 50 to 69 percent in the communities more than 20 miles away from district centers after the expansion of the mobile phone coverage. For maize, which is another staple but less perishable crop, we find that mobile phone coverage did not affect market participation. These results suggest that mobile phone coverage expansion induces market participation of farmers who are located in remote areas and produce perishable crop.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Expansion of mobile phone coverage.

    Methodology: Fixed-effects instrumental variable estimation.

    Sample: Households in 94 communities where information was collected about men and women in HH.

    Findings: Participation of farmers in marketing bananas (a perishable crop) increased from 50-69% in communities more than 20 kilometers from district centers. No effect on participation of maize marketing (a less perishable crop).

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  • Impact of Farmer Field Schools on Agricultural Productivity and Poverty in East Africa

    Davis and others (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Farmer field schools (FFSs) are a popular education and extension approach worldwide. Such schools use experiential learning and a group approach to facilitate farmers in making decisions, solving problems, and learning new techniques. However, there is limited or conflicting evidence as to their effect on productivity and poverty, especially in East Africa. This study is unique in that it uses a longitudinal impact evaluation (difference in difference approach) with quasi-experimental methods (propensity score matching and covariate matching) together with qualitative approaches to provide rigorous evidence to policymakers and other stakeholders on an FFS project in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The study provides evidence on participation in FFSs and on the effects of FFSs on various outcomes. The study found that younger farmers who belong to other groups, such as savings and credit groups, tended to participate in field schools. Females made up 50 percent of FFS membership. Reasons for not joining an FFS included lack of time and information. FFSs were shown to be especially beneficial to women, people with low literacy levels, and farmers with medium-size land holdings. FFS participants had significant differences in outcomes with respect to value of crops produced per acre, livestock value gain per capita, and agricultural income per capita. FFSs had a greater impact on crop productivity for those in the middle land area (land poverty) tercile. Participation in FFSs increased income by 61 percent when pooling the three countries. FFSs improved income and productivity overall, but differences were seen at the country level. Participation in FFSs led to increased production, productivity, and income in nearly all cases: Kenya, Tanzania, and at the project level (all three countries combined). The most significant change was seen in Kenya for crops (80 percent increase) and in Tanzania for agricultural income (more than 100 percent increase). A lack of significant increases in Uganda was likely due to Uganda's National Agricultural Advisory Services. When disaggregating by gender, however, female-headed households benefited significantly more than male-headed households in Uganda.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Farmer field schools with 50% female participation.

    Methodology: Difference in differences estimation with propensity score matching.

    Sample: Poor households (50% female-headed) randomly selected, with and without farmer field schools.

    Findings: FFS increased the value of crops grown and agricultural income per capita (61% in the pooled sample), especially among women.

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  • Commitments to Save: A Field Experiment in Rural Malawi

    Bruné, Giné, Goldberg and Yang (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper reports the results of a field experiment that randomly assigned smallholder cash crop farmers formal savings accounts. In collaboration with a microfinance institution in Malawi, the authors tested two primary treatments, offering either: 1)"ordinary"accounts, or 2) both ordinary and"commitment"accounts. Commitment accounts allowed customers to restrict access to their own funds until a future date of their choosing. A control group was not offered any account but was tracked alongside the treatment groups. Only the commitment treatment had statistically significant effects on subsequent outcomes. The effects were positive and large on deposits and withdrawals immediately prior to the next planting season, agricultural input use in that planting, crop sales from the subsequent harvest, and household expenditures in the period after harvest. Across the set of key outcomes, the commitment savings treatment had larger effects than the ordinary savings treatment. Additional evidence suggests that the positive impacts of commitment derive from keeping funds from being shared with one's social network.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Provided either an ordinary savings account to rural smallholders with direct deposits of sales revenue from participating agri-businesses or both an ordinary savings account and a "commitment" savings account.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 3,150 (6% women) poor and low-middle income farmers in 299 clubs.

    Findings: Increased land under cultivation (9.8%), use of agricultural inputs (26.2%), crop sales from subsequent harvest (22%), and HH expenditure during post-harvest (17.4%). No gender-specific effects are reported.

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  • Impacts of Land Certification on Tenure, Security, Investment, and Land Markets: Evidence from Ethiopia

    Deininger, Ali and Alemu (2009)

    Original Abstract:

    While early attempts at land titling in Africa were often unsuccessful, the need to secure land rights has kindled renewed interest, in view of increased demand for land, a range of individual and communal rights available under new laws, and reduced costs from combining information technology with participatory methods. We used a difference-in-difference approach to assess the effects of a low-cost land registration program in Ethiopia, which covered some 20 million plots over five years, on investment. Despite policy constraints, the program increased land-related investment and yielded benefits significantly above the cost of implementation.

    Intervention settings: Rural: East Gojjam zone of the Amhara region.

    Intervention description: Low-cost land registration scheme covering 20 million plots over 5 years.

    Methodology: Difference in differences estimation using four rounds of panel survey data spanning 8 years.

    Sample: 900 plots owned by households from 7 villages in 3 districts.

    Findings: Significant positive effect on the three outcomes examined: i.e., perceived tenure security, land-related investments and participation in land rental markets.

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