Facts & Figures
REGIONS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Rural areas including western and central
194 villages, 1,200 parents, 3,200 children, 240 teachers
- Ministry of National Education and Literacy
- Cash transfer—mobile money via a partnership with 100Weeks
- Education intervention—primary schools
- Program design and implementation in 194 villages and schools
- Reduced rates of child labor
- Increased school attendance and learning outcomes
- Improved family and caregiver well-being
About the project
Addressing child labor and educational quality independently, as is often done in government silos, misses the critical interdependence between the two. Little research to date has addressed this dependency, despite the high value of such information for improving learning outcomes globally. Combining two evidence-based interventions by coordinating them for the first time, SEME is a project that aims to address the learning crisis by tackling two of its main sources: poverty and poor educational quality.
The median income for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire is $2,707 (1 496 914 FCFA) per year, $500 below the extreme poverty level. To support their family income, 1.3 million Ivorian children engage in labor. At the same time, 71% of these children are also enrolled in school. Despite high rates of school enrollment, youth literacy rates in Côte d’Ivoire are extremely low at 53%. With concurrent work demands on cocoa plantations, school attendance rates are low. A large portion of children repeat grades and drop out before completing primary school. Low quality education and large class sizes also undermine learning. Students who fall behind the scheduled curriculum may lose interest and fall behind even further. Poor quality education by itself can lead to child labor, as time spent in school does not appear relevant or valuable.
Our model—SEME—combines two evidence-based interventions regarding poverty and poor educational quality. If effective, this approach can deliver substantially greater results per dollar than current standard practice.
To address child labor, one of the most evidence-based approaches to poverty reduction is applied—cash transfers (CTs). CTs ease economic stress and offset income generated by child labor, thereby increasing school attendance.
To address educational inequality, an electronic coaching program is deployed in rural communities. Adaptive ICT-based interactions are used for teachers’ professional development to supplement a proven educational intervention, Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL). Ongoing real-time automated support is provided to teachers to improve program implementation and improve school quality.
Results to date
Results from a feasibility study show that rural households are eager to receive small amounts of cash support and indicate that they would spend the additional income on basic necessities such as food and education. Variability in household income levels has been found, supporting a targeted approach to treat the poorest families in each village.
TaRL is currently being piloted in and adapted to Côte d’Ivoire and showing preliminary success. Evidence from rural Ghana shows that teachers use the approach only 15% of the time without ongoing support. Expansion to remote areas in Côte d’Ivoire will require additional support, which will be provided via e-coaching.
Studies on cash transfers in other African contexts have demonstrated positive impacts on school attendance, but no learning gains. Meta-analyses of education interventions in Africa show that adaptive technological interventions have the most promise for transforming education.