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Impact evaluation: Combating worst forms of child labor by reinforcing policy response and promoting sustainable livelihoods and educational opportunities in Egypt, 2011-2012 (ICF International 2013)

Absence of conflict of interest.

This study was conducted by staff from ICF, which administers CLEAR. Therefore, the review of this study was conducted by an independent consultant trained in applying the CLEAR causal evidence guidelines.

Citation

ICF International. (2013). Impact evaluation: Combating worst forms of child labor by reinforcing policy response and promoting sustainable livelihoods and educational opportunities in Egypt, 2011-2012. Calverton, MD: Author.

Highlights

  • The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of Combating Worst Forms of Child Labor by Reinforcing Policy Response and Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods and Educational Opportunities in Egypt (CWCLP) on schooling and work for children ages 6 to 11 (at the time of the baseline survey).
  • Using survey data from a randomized controlled trial, the authors analyzed the impact of the CWCLP program on schooling and work after approximately 12-16 months of implementation (the timing of implementation varied).
  • When compared to control group children, the study found that CWCLP participating children spent significantly less time in economic activities and unpaid household services and significantly more time in school-related activities. Participating children also had significantly higher school enrollment and significantly higher school attendance than children in the control group.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because, although it was based on a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, the authors demonstrated that the treatment and control groups were similar before the intervention. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the CWCLP program, but other factors might also have contributed.

Features of the Intervention

The Combating Worst Forms of Child Labor by Reinforcing Policy Response and Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods and Educational Opportunities in Egypt (CWCLP) project was funded by the US Department of Labor and implemented by the World Food Programme, the International Labor Organization, and the United Nations Children’s Fund from 2011 to 2015. The project included a variety of activities intended to reduce child labor, including advocating policy reform and providing education, nutrition, and livelihood support. Children in treatment villages were offered the opportunity to enroll in a community school and received monthly take home rations worth approximately $11 USD, contingent on school attendance. Some mothers of participants received income generating activity support.

Features of the Study

The study took place in small, rural villages in five governorates in Egypt (Assuit, Menya, Sohag, Fayoum, and Sharqiyah). The study randomly assigned 79 villages to the treatment group and 36 communities to the control group. Within each village, eligible children were identified and data were collected about the children and their families. To be eligible, the child had to be between ages 6 and 11 and either working or at risk of working and not enrolled in school. The sample included 983 children in the treatment group and 440 children in the control group. Baseline survey data were collected in October and November, 2011. Endline data were collected in March and April, 2013. To test the impact of the CWCLP program on schooling and work, the authors compared the treatment and control groups using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression.

Findings

Working children/Child labor

  • When compared to control group children, the study found that CWCLP participating children had spent significantly less time in economic activities. In particular, the intervention resulted in an approximate three-hour reduction in time spent on economic activities per week.
  • When compared to control group children, the study found that CWCLP participating children had spent significantly less time in unpaid household services. In particular, the intervention resulted in an approximate two-hour reduction in time spent on unpaid household services per week.

Education (School participation/enrollment)

  • When compared to control group children, the study found that CWCLP participating children had significantly higher school enrollment, attendance, and time spent on school-related activities. At the time of the endline survey, 71 percent of participating children were attending school compared to 24 percent of children in the control group.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Baseline data were collected during a more active agricultural season than were endline data. Since the impact assessment is based on comparison of treatment and control groups rather than a direct comparison of baseline and endline, the difference in data collection periods does not affect the impact assessment. The authors note that it might limit our knowledge of the effect of the intervention on the most active period of agricultural activity. Additionally, the timing of implementation of the intervention varied. It was significantly delayed in some areas, so not all areas received the same exposure to the intervention. The study was not able to interview all of the original participants during the endline survey. To address the potential bias caused by study attrition, the authors developed raking weights, which were used for all of the endline analyses.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because, although it was based on a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, the authors demonstrated that the treatment and control groups were similar before the intervention. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the CWCLP program, but other factors might also have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

February 2021

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