South Asia

  • Enhancing Adolescent Financial Capabilities through Financial Education in Bangladesh

    Amin et al (2010)

    Intervention settings: Mixed

    Intervention description: Financial literacy.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 620 women (ages: 14-19 years old).

    Findings: Increased knowledge on savings and budgeting, but no significant changes with regard to knowledge of loan options. Significantly higher numbers reported savings on their own (versus relying on family members), keeping records of expenditure and preparing a budget.

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  • Profile of Adolescent Girls: Findings from the Baseline Survey for Social and Financial Empowerment of Adolescents (SoFEA) Programme

    Bhattacharjee and Das (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This study provides baseline profile of the adolescents from both SoFEA intervention areas and adjacent areas. Adolescent girls from the intervention areas are divided into two groups: girls from new SoFEA intervention areas and girls from areas with SoFEA intervention on the existing ADP clubs (hereafter denoted as ADP-layered). The adolescents surveyed from new SoFEA and ADP-layered SoFEA are not necessarily all participating members of the programme, because the baseline surveywas conducted on the potential adolescents before club formation. Ultimately, some of them may not have participated in the SoFEA programme. The baseline survey conducted in January and February 2010 collected information on the adolescent girls socio-demographic profile, their level of awareness regarding health, social and legal issues, financial literacy, their perception of marriage, gender roles, their overall status in personal and family settings, as well as their parents perceptions of the girls on these issues. Data on enrollment status of the adolescents show that approximately two-thirds ofthe adolescent girls (from a total of 6,176 girls) were currently enrolled in school. Among all the girls who had ever attended school, more than half have completed or were currently studying in classes 6-9. The main cause of girls withdrawing from school was marriage. Engaging in household chores was another common reason for leaving school. For others, difficulty in bearing educational expenses was the impetus for discontinuing school. Baseline data showed that the proportion of girls receiving any kind of vocational or livelihood training is low for girls from the different sample clusters. The most common types of training taken by girls were tailoring, cooking, poultry rearing, and handicrafts. With respect to income generation, the data reveal that an insignificant proportion (4-8%) of the adolescents were engaged in income generating activities, but this proportion seemed to be highest (8%) among girls from the ADP-layered SoFEA clubs. Households socioeconomic status appeared to be a significant determinant of the girls involvement in the income generating activity (IGA), with the indication that girls from financially better-off families were less likely to be involved with IGAs and vice versa. Level of education, enrollment status, receiving vocational training, and having cash savings were also found to be important in determining the girls IGA-involvement. The SoFEA programme's initiative towards providing livelihood training is, therefore, expected to have a direct contribution in the form of increased IGA-involvement of the targeted adolescent girls.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Life-skills training, livelihood training, financial literacy, savings and credit facilities and community sensitization.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 6,000 women.

    Findings: No significant impact on financial literacy or earnings.

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  • The Effect of a Livelihoods Intervention in an Urban Slum in India: Do Vocational Counseling and Training Alter the Attitudes and Behavior of Adolescent Girls?

    Mensch et al (2004)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper examines whether an experimental intervention for girls aged 14-19 that provided reproductive health information, vocational counseling and training, and assistance with opening savings accounts in slum areas of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India had an effect on their attitudes and behaviors. A quasi-experimental pre- and posttest design was used in which adolescent girls aged 14-19 residing in the interventionarea slums were compared with girls of the same age residing in control-area slums. Although the livelihoods program was acceptable to parents and feasible to implement, the project had only a minimal impact on the behavior and attitudes of adolescent girls in the experimental slums. The greatest changes between the baseline and the endline surveys were found in those outcomes that most closely reflected the content of the intervention. Girls exposed to the intervention were significantly more likely to have knowledge of safe spaces, be a member of a group, score higher on the social skills index, be informed about reproductive health, and spend time on leisure activities than were the matched control respondents. No effect was found on gender-role attitudes, mobility, self-esteem, work expectations, or on number of hours visiting friends, performing domestic chores, or engaging in labor-market work.

    Intervention settings: Urban.

    Intervention description: Reproductive health education, vocational counseling and training, and assistance with opening savings accounts.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Young women aged 14-19.

    Findings: No effect on number of hours engaging in labor-market work or performing domestic chores. Women were significantly more likely to have knowledge of safe spaces and be a member of a group.

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  • Providing Microfinance and Social Space to Empower Adolescent Girls: An Evaluation of BRAC's ELA Centres

    Shahnaz (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    Lately there has been a surge in the variety of approaches to assist the adolescents, specially the girls, in building up their lives and livelihoods. With financial assistance from Nike Foundation, BRAC started combining financial and social interventions in 2005 by setting up ELA (Employment and Livelihood for Adolescents) Centres for the ELA microfinance group members. This study is intended to assess the usefulness of this combined approach. It is based on a panel dataset of ELA Centre participants and non-participants, which tried to capture changes using qualitative tools. Despite a number of methodological drawbacks, we found indication of the programme being useful in reducing the chances of early marriage, engaging the participants in economic activities, increasing their mobility and involvement in extracurricular reading. Qualitative exploration indicated much stronger effects than our survey estimates, which may have happened because of the participants' over-attribution of their status on their participation, which is biased by self-selection. On the other hand, there are some indications that the surveys failed to capture some changes due to methodological limitations. Nonetheless, it appears that girls at disadvantaged position in terms of education and parents' openness to girl's empowerment are less likely to participate in the programme. It points the need for targeting such girls. Moreover, the skill development training should include a generic module on financial literacy focusing on budgeting, financial management, insurance schemes etc. There is still scope of improvement in general awareness on health issues. The materials that are provided to the centre should include more health specific knowledge based issues.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Reproductive health education and vocational skills training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Young women 14-20 years old.

    Findings: 35% increase in income generation.

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  • Do Labor Market Opportunities Affect Young Women's Work and Family Decisions? Experimental Evidence from India

    Jensen (2012)

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Recruiters from business process outsourcing industry held information and recruitment sessions in villages.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Young women.

    Findings: Young women from these villages were significantly less likely to ge married or have children. They were also more likely to enter the labor market or obtain more schooling or postschool training.

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  • Study of Self-employed Women's Association (SEWA) program in India


    Intervention settings: Rural

    Intervention description: Program provided health care, child care, banking and insurance services.

    Methodology: Cross-sectional comparisons of participants and non-participants, and participants' reports on how program changed their lives.

    Sample: Mothers and children who attended centers in two districts 10 years ago.

    Findings: 42%-53% of mothers report increased productivity, employment days and family savings.

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  • How Access to Credit Affects Self-Employment: Differences by Gender during India's Rural Banking Reform

    Menon and Rodgers (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    Household survey data for 1983-2000 from India's National Sample Survey Organization are used to examine the impact of credit on self-employment among men and women in rural labor households. Results indicate that credit access encourages women's self-employment as own- account workers and employers, while it discourages men's self-employment as unpaid family workers. Ownership of land, a key form of collateral, also serves as a strong predictor of self- employment. Among the lower castes in India, self-employment is less likely for scheduled castes prone to wage activity, but more likely for scheduled tribes prone to entrepreneurial work.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling and credit.

    Methodology: Instrumental variable probit models for likelihood of being self-employed with 1983-2000 NSSO.

    Sample: 408,385 individuals (43% women).

    Findings: Credit access encourages women's self-employment as own-account workers and employers; land ownership also serves as a strong predictor of self-employment.

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  • Women's Property, Mobility, and Decisionmaking: Evidence from Rural Karnataka, India

    Swaminathan et al. (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    Recent research has shown that a substantial gap exists in asset ownership between men and women. In this paper, we examine the impact of rural women's property ownership on their mobility and autonomy in decisionmaking. The results are based on data collected by the authors in the state of Karnataka, India (The Karnataka Household Asset Survey 2010-11), which has individual-level asset ownership and valuation information. The research was undertaken in order to measure the extent of gender disparities in asset ownership and wealth in the state, and to build on the empirical literature that discusses the importance of asset ownership for women. Using logistic regression models, we find that owning a house or a plot of agricultural land enhances women's ability to travel to the market, health center, and other places outside the community, and to make decisions about their employment, health, and use of money independently. These processes, while important for women's own welfare, are also instrumental in improving the welfare outcomes of the entire household, particularly those of children. The impact of women's asset ownership and enhanced decisionmaking abilities on children's nutritional outcomes cannot be overstated. The findings of this paper thus bring to focus the need to intensify policy interventions aimed at increasing women's asset base and bridging the gender asset gap.

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: Logit models with 2010-11 Karnataka Household Asset Survey.

    Sample: 4,677 individuals (53% women).

    Findings: Home ownership and land ownership both have positive effects on women's mobility outside the home, and on their ability to make decisions about their own work, health and expenditures.

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  • The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation

    Banerjee et al (2013)

    Original Abstract:

    Microcredit has spread extremely rapidly since its beginnings in the late 1970s, but whether and how much it helps the poor is the subject of intense debate. This paper reports on the first randomized evaluation of the impact of introducing microcredit in a new market. Half of 104 slums in Hyderabad, India were randomly selected for opening of an MFI branch while the remainder were not. We show that the intervention increased total MFI borrowing, and study the effects on the creation and the profitability of small businesses, investment, and consumption. Fifteen to 18 months after lending began in treated areas, there was no effect of access to microcredit on average monthly expenditure per capita, but expenditure on durable goods increased in treated areas and the number of new businesses increased by one third. The effects of microcredit access are heterogeneous: households with an existing business at the time of the program invest more in durable goods, while their nondurable consumption does not change. Households with high propensity to become new business owners increase their durable goods spending and see a decrease in nondurable consumption, consistent with the need to pay a fixed cost to enter entrepreneurship. Households with low propensity to become business owners increase their nondurable spending. We find no impact on measures of health, education, or women's decision-making.

    Intervention settings: Urban (Hyderabad).

    Intervention description: Group liability credit in the amount of $200 (at market exchange rates, or $1,00 in PPP-adjusted rates) offered to groups of 6 to 10 women. Loan amounts may increase up to double on successful repayment. Also offered mortgage and insurance products, and savings accounts.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 2,800 adult, very poor women from slums.

    Findings: 32% higher new business creation. Positive impact on business formation among female-headed HH and on business investment among HHs with existing businesses. Female-headed HH in intervention areas more likely to start new business. No significant impact on average total per capita expenditure; or women's business revenues, profits or number of employees. No impact on number of employees in women's businesses. No significant impact on women's business revenues or profits. No impact on women's decision-making on HH spending.

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  • Managing Resources, Activities and Risk in Urban India: The Impact of SEWA Bank

    Chen and Snodgrass (2001)

    Original Abstract:

    This study measures the impact of microfinance services of Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) on low-income women of Ahmedabad, in India. The explicit hypothesis was that specific impact may be found at three different levels - household, enterprise and the individual level. The data used for cross section and longitudinal statistical tests was from surveys conducted in 1998 and 2000 for 798 respondents. The researchers also carried out complementary analyses. The clients of SEWA were poor and belonged to backward sections of society. They faced severe discrimination and worked as micro entrepreneurs, subcontractors or casual laborers.

    Intervention settings: Urban

    Intervention description: Group liability credit (various types of training), savings and microinsurance.

    Methodology: Quasi-experimental, statistical comparison of members and non-members, and panel data.

    Sample: 798 very poor women working in informal sector (41% microentrepreneurs; 36% subcontractors; 22% casual laborers; only 1% salaried.) Most make under $1/day and belong to Backward of Scheduled castes or tribes (and all suffer severe gender/social class discrimination).

    Findings: Informal sector earnings of clients' households increased. Postive impact on total business earnings of HH. Small impact on number of employees of HH microenterprises. No impact on women's businesses.

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