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Rwanda Youth Employment Activity Evaluation

Technology Rwanda

Rwanda Youth Training. Credit: aphromutangana

Led by Craig McIntosh and Andy Zeitlin, in partnership with USAID and GiveDirectly, this project rigorously evaluates the impact of unconditional cash transfers in Rwanda compared to a USAID-funded vocational training and employment program targeting vulnerable teenagers.  The study is using a randomized evaluation (RCT) design to examine the cost-effectiveness of changes/improvements in stable employment and income among vulnerable youth as a result of this employment training program, and how the training program compares to the effectiveness of unconditional cash transfers disbursed by GiveDirectly on the same outcomes.

In September, 2020, midline results for the study were released showing significant improvements in work hours, productive assets, savings, and subjective well-being from the workforce readiness program, but significantly larger benefits across all outcomes from beneficiaries receiving cash transfers. In particular, smaller cash transfers of USD 400 proved particularly cost-effective. The study design, which varies transfer amounts and looks at the combined effects of cash transfers and the workforce readiness program, allows for particularly nuanced insights about the tradeoffs faced by policy-makers considering investments in these kinds of interventions.

In June 2022, the research team released the results of a 36-month follow-up and found that nearly half of the benefits of both the cash transfer and the employment training program had faded. Both interventions pushed participants away from agricultural wage labor and into non-agricultural wage labor. And though both interventions led participants to form new businesses, many of those businesses were closed by the final follow-up.

  • GiveDirectly
  • Education Development Center
  • Innovations for Poverty Action
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