Can Cash Transfers and Targeted Instruction Reduce Child Labor and Improve Learning Outcomes in Cocoa Communities in Côte d’Ivoire?
Researchers are evaluating the impact of cash transfers and targeted instruction on reducing child labor and improving children’s schooling outcomes in rural cocoa-farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire.
Evidence from low- and middle-income countries suggests that cash transfers can effectively increase school attendance among children. However, simply increasing attendance does not always lead to improved learning outcomes, as students may receive inadequate instruction in the classroom. In Côte d'Ivoire, 1.3 million Ivorian children work on cocoa farms to support their families, and 71 percent of them are enrolled in school.  The combined demands of working on cocoa farms and attending school can lead to learning challenges, grade repetition, and early dropout rates among these children. Poor education quality and large class sizes further hinder learning. To enhance learning outcomes for students, the Ministry of Education and Literacy has been implementing a Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) program since 2018.  Can cash transfers provide income relief for cocoa-growing families, and can targeted instruction offer quality education and help keep students in school? And can both programs implemented together have synergistic impacts on children’s learning?
Researchers are collaborating with IPA, the NGO 100WEEKS, TaRL Africa, and the Ministry of Education and Literacy of Côte d’Ivoire to evaluate the impact of cash transfers and TaRL on reducing child labor for families and improving educational outcomes. 100WEEKS is providing mothers with weekly cash transfers of 8 euros and facilitating their participation in a weekly village savings and loan association (VSLA). In concurrence with the cash transfer program, the Ministry of Education and Literacy continues implementing the TaRL program in schools. Teachers receive real-time support through mobile phones to enhance TaRL implementation and teaching quality.
The 140 participating communities and 208 schools have been randomly assigned to the following groups:
100WEEKS program: Mothers receive the core 100WEEKS program of weekly cash transfers and participation in weekly VSLAs.
VSLA-only: Mothers in these communities participate in weekly VSLAs but do not receive cash transfers.
TaRL + 100WEEKS program: Schools in these communities receive TaRL instruction; mothers receive the core 100WEEKS program.
TaRL + VSLA-only: Schools in these communities receive TaRL instruction; mothers participate in weekly VSLAs.
The results of this evaluation will be available in late 2023.
1. Sadhu, Santadarshan, Kareem Kysia, Letitia Onyango, Clifford Zinnes, Sarah Lord, Alexandre Monnard, and I. Rojas Arellano. "Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Production in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana." (2021).
2. Teaching at the Right Level Africa, “Côte d’Ivoire,” Teaching at the Right Level Africa, Accessed May 31, 2023, https://teachingattherightlevel.org/cote-divoire/