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EASST Launch Conference


The East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative is a multi-institution partnership with a mission to promote rigorous evaluation of social and economic programs in East Africa. Our inaugural conference, "Improving Youth Opportunities and Rural Livelihoods," featured the latest research on education, youth, and rural development in East Africa, in addition to a workshop on rigorous evaluation of social programs. Additional details are below.

Date and Time

Jul 12, 2012 9:00am — Jul 13, 2012 2:00pm


Makerere University – Kampala, Uganda
College of Business and Management Studies (COBAMS) Conference Hall


Day 1 highlighted evaluations of various programs dedicated towards advancing youth and rural livelihood outcomes.  The day covered topics on increasing school attendance and performance, improving literacy, adolescent empowerment, agricultural insurance, and technology adoption by farmers.

An Introduction to the EASST Collaborative
Dr. Edward Kirumira (Makerere University) introduced the EASST Collaborative, its mission, and its activities. He discussed the nature and importance of impact evaluation for development.

Investing in Youth: From Primary School to Vocational Training
Dr. Edward Miguel (University of California, Berkeley) presented the findings of three separate interventions with the common purpose of increasing school participation in East Africa – school-based deworming, a girls’ scholarship program, and the use of vouchers for vocational education.

Impact Evaluation of Education Intervention: Experiences and Lessons from Kenya and Uganda
Dr. Moses Ngware (African Population & Health Research Centre) introduced methods of impact evaluation and presented a case study on the Reading to Learn (RtL) program for primary school children in Uganda.

Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents
Dr. Munshi Sulaiman (BRAC International) presented an impact evaluation of a social empowerment and livelihood training program in Uganda and its effectiveness in improving adolescent well-being.

Integrating Research Into Action
Mr. Elijah Mungai (Kenya Ministry of Education) talked about the challenges the Ministry faces in incorporating research results into policy and the way forward. He further identified past successes in applying evidence-based policy, current strategic considerations, and future opportunities.

Scaling Up Research Results: School-Based Deworming in Kenya and Beyond
Dr. Karen Levy and Mr. Phebeans Oriaro (Deworm the World) presented the successful scale-up of school-based deworming in Kenya following the dissemination of rigorous research demonstrating its cost-effectiveness.

Incorporating Research Into Action
Dr. Yahya Ipuge (Ifakara Health Institute)

Interlinking Insurance with Credit to Improve Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia
Dr. Degnet Abebaw (Ethiopian Economics Association) remarked upon the connection between stagnant agricultural productivity in Ethiopia, lack of food security, and poverty. He then  about an ongoing randomized field experiment that seeks to quantify the impact of interlinked credit and insurance on use of agricultural inputs, yields, and other factors.

Innovative Finance for Agricultural Technology Adoption
Ms. Lauren Falcao (UC Berkeley)

Is There a Synergy Between Agriculture and Microfinance?
Mr. Ricardo Morel (BRAC International) presented an ongoing study in Uganda that is identifying the combined causal impact on rural productivity of (1) agriculture, poultry, and livestock technology adoption and (2) microfinance programs. If you are unable to view the full interactive presentation linked above, a low resolution PDF is available here.

The Impact Evaluation Workshop on Day 2 provided junior researchers, students, and development professionals with an opportunity to develop evaluation designs for newly proposed programs that promote youth opportunities and rural livelihoods. The day began with a short review of impact evaluation methodologies, as exemplified through recent research, followed by an evaluation “clinic”. The clinic consisted of small working groups led by researchers to brainstorm study designs that address a research question of interest.

Randomized Evaluations: Case Studies from BRAC
Dr. Munshi Sulaiman (BRAC International)

Pre-analysis Plans (PAP’s) for Social Science Research: An Application & Discussion
Dr. Edward Miguel (University of California, Berkeley) discussed the use of pre-analysis plan (PAP) registration to limit publication bias as well as the use of PAPs to guard against data mining, specification search, and cherry-picking of particular outcomes. He also presented the design, implementation, and findings of his study on community driven development in Sierra Leone as a concrete example of an evaluation incorporating a PAP.

Working Groups: Designing a Rigorous Evaluation
Facilitated by PhD students and researchers 


Edward Miguel (UC Berkeley), Edward Kirumira, Moses Ngware, Munshi Sulaiman, Elijah Mungai, Karen Levy, Phebeans Oriaro, Yahya Ipuge, Degnet Abebaw, Lauren Falcao, Ricardo Morel,


Makerere University, Addis Ababa University, African Population and Health Research Center, University of Dar es Salaam