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

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.

Intentions to Participate in Adolescent Training Programs: Evidence from Uganda

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts

Expanding access to commercial credit is a key ingredient of financial development strategies. There is less consensus on whether expanding access to consumer credit helps borrowers, particularly when loans are extended at high interest rates. Popular skepticism about "unproductive," "usurious" lending is fueled by research highlighting behavioral biases that may induce overborrowing. We estimate the impacts of expanding access to consumer credit at a 200% annual percentage rate (APR) using a field experiment and follow-up data collection.

Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya

M-Pesa is a mobile phone based money transfer system in Kenya which grew at a blistering pace following its inception in 2007. We examine how M-Pesa is used as well as its economic impacts. Analyzing data from two waves of individual data on financial access in Kenya, we find that increased use of M-Pesa lowers the propensity of people to use informal savings mechanisms such as ROSCAS, but raises the probability of their being banked. Using aggregate data, we calculate the velocity of M-Pesa at between 11.0 and 14.6 person-to-person transfers per month.

Risk Sharing and Transactions Costs: Evidence from Kenya's Mobile Money Revolution

We explore the impact of reduced transaction costs on risk sharing by estimating the effect of mobile money on household consumption. Over a two-year period, household adoption increased from 43 to 70 percent, while the number of cash-in and cash-out agents increased four-fold. Using panel data we collected, we found that while shocks reduce per capita consumption by 7 percent for non-user households, the consumption of households with access is unaffected. The mechanism underlying this effect is an increase in remittances received, in number, size and diversity of senders.