IPA works with researchers in Ghana to evaluate different variations of the Graduation program

The Graduation Approach, a model for holistic livelihoods programs, has been proven to have lasting impacts on poor families’ income, assets, food security, and mental health, but these programs can be expensive to implement.

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A microentrepreneur in Ghana interviews with an IPA surveyor

Of the two billion people living on less than $2 per day, roughly half run a business. Finding effective approaches to enhance the productivity and performance of these businesses is considered key to economic growth in many developing economies.

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Microenterprises make up a large portion of employment in the developing world but little is known about constraints on their growth. Researchers partnered with the consulting firm Ernst & Young to test whether providing tailors in Accra with individualized consulting, a sizable cash grant, or both can facilitate growth.

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Helping microenterprises grow can provide livelihoods and drive economic growth in developing countries, but research on using loans to spur small business growth has generally found these to be unable to help microenterprises expand.

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Many students arrive at primary school without the educational experiences that support the skills needed to succeed in school. This can compromise students’ long-term learning and school success. One way to address this issue is through high quality pre-primary education. In the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, where enrollment in pre-primary education is high, researchers evaluated the impact of an affordable, in-service kindergarten teacher training.

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Few subsistence farmers engage in paid labor, even when pursuing these opportunities would enable them to earn more and protect against risk. A variety of factors may influence this trend, including poor nutrition, the complexity of the work, and lack of access to financial services. Researchers designed an employment program in northern Ghana and evaluated participants’ willingness to engage in paid labor and carry out complex tasks on the job.

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Previous research found that in northern Ghana, where agricultural productivity is low, access to rainfall insurance led small-scale farmers to invest more in their farms.

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Many governments and organizations implement school-based financial literacy programs to promote positive financial behaviors at an early age, yet little is known about the impacts. In southern and eastern Ghana, researchers evaluated two youth financial literacy programs to test their impact on savings, labor, academic performance, and financial decision-making. One program integrated financial and social education, while the second only offered financial education.

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Heavily subsidizing essential health products like insecticide-treated bed nets has the potential to substantially decrease child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, but there is widespread concern that poor governance and limited accountability among health workers undermines the effectiveness of subsidy programs . Researchers measured the impact of several financial and monitoring incentives on the quality of bed net delivery to pregnant women in Ghana .

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A large number of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are preventable, and many programs aim to prevent disease and death by improving health knowledge. In Ghana, researchers evaluated the impact of a complementary health communications program on health behavior. To complement a national communication and community health worker program, live theater performances, video screenings, and live radio broadcasts were rolled out in selected communities.

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Only one drug—artemisinin—is fully effective in treating malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is therefore central to the global fight against malaria; however, many patients do not complete the full course of malaria treatment. Non-adherence may increase the risk of drug resistance, greatly undermining efforts to combat the disease. This randomized evaluation in northern Ghana was a first attempt to evaluate the impact of text message reminders to patients on adherence to malaria treatment.

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Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa tend to underinvest in inputs such as fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and labor, though such investments could increase their agricultural yields and profits. The constraint may be cash, or it may be the risk. In northern Ghana, researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to evaluate whether access to capital or risk was driving farmers’ investment decisions.

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Teacher Community Assistant in her classroom in Ghana

Over the last decade, millions more children in developing countries have gained access to primary school education. Despite this achievement, a large number of children enrolled in their first years of school are still not learning how to read, write, or do basic math. Building on previous research, researchers in this study evaluated the impact of several targeted instruction programs on the learning outcomes of primary school students in Ghana’s public schools.

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