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Girls’ Economic Empowerment—The Best Contraceptive? A Randomized Controlled Trial in Tanzania

  • 2012-2014
  • Project
Tungodden, Bertil, Chr. Michelsen Institute; Economic and Social Research Foundation; Development Pioneer Consultants

Study: “Girls’ Economic Empowerment—The Best Contraceptive? A Randomized Controlled Trial in Tanzania”
PI(s): Tungodden, Bertil
Co-PI(s): Somville, Vincent; Lindkivst, Ida; Berge, Lars Ivar Oppedal; Kida, Tausi; Sekei, Linda Helgesson
Affiliation(s): Chr. Michelsen Institute; Economic and Social Research Foundation; Development Pioneer Consultants
Institutional Partner(s): RCN (2012 Joint RFP (PopDev))
Project Dates:
Start: 2012
End: 2014
Data Source(s): RCT
Methods: Randomized Controlled Trial
Geographic Location(s): Tanzania

Description:
Teenage pregnancies are common in many low-income countries, but the reasons why teenage girls become pregnant are not well understood. Given the health and economic downfalls that can come with early pregnancy, this project investigates whether adolescent pregnancies can be countered by empowering young women. The main objective of the study is to increase understanding of young girls’ fertility decisions and how these decisions interact with their economic situation. The study investigates the fertility decisions of girls when they are on the verge of making two of the most important decisions in their lives: what to do when leaving school and whether to start childbearing. The study is a randomized controlled trial to provide young women in Tanzania with two different empowerment strategies: an information treatment containing information on reproductive health, gender equality, and rights; and an opportunity treatment providing the girls with entrepreneurship training to improve their skills and knowledge of how to run a business. By comparing the two treatments and a combination of the two, the study provides insights about the relative importance of providing teenagers with information and opportunities. The findings show that business training successfully encourages girls to develop business plans, and new data suggest that business training has also inspired them to start income-generating activities. This training makes the girls better equipped to overcome constraints to starting and running a business. The goal of this research project is to inform the design of sound policies, and thus to carefully develop a cost-effective intervention with scaling-up potential; all treatments will be evaluated and compared not only in terms of impact but also on their relative economic costs.

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