Uniform policies

Lots of things don’t work in development. It’s good to come across one that does.

Education and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Western Kenya
Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer & Samuel Sinei
The authors report results from a randomized evaluation comparing three school-based HIV/AIDS interventions in Kenya: (1) training teachers in the Kenyan Government’s HIV/AIDS-education curriculum; (2) encouraging students to debate the role of condoms and to write essays on how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS; and (3) reducing the cost of education. Their primary measure of the effectiveness of these interventions is teenage childbearing, which is associated with unprotected sex. The authors also collected measures of knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding HIV/AIDS. After two years, girls in schools where teachers had been trained were more likely to be married in the event of a pregnancy. The program had little other impact on students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, or on the incidence of teen childbearing. The condom debates and essays increased practical knowledge and self-reported use of condoms without increasing self-reported sexual activity. Reducing the cost of education by paying for school uniforms reduced dropout rates, teen marriage, and childbearing.

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1 Response to Uniform policies

  1. backroom girl says:


    What this suggests is that one way to improve people’s short term outcomes is to provide them with long-term goals, rather than just trying to directly address the short-term behaviours. In this case, I would hypothesise that education provides people with a longer-term perspective (not to say broader options in life) and that this provides an incentive to avoid problematic short-term behaviours.

    It reminds me, in a way, of a story I have heard about the outcomes of the Family Income Management (FIM) programs that have now been operating in a number of communities in Cape York for a number of years. As I understand it, the primary focus of these programs is to assist indigenous people/families (most of whom are heavily dependent on income support) with budgeting and, in particular, saving to meet longer-term goals.

    What I have heard, and would love to see investigated in a formal evaluation, is that the FIM programs (at least in the early days) were associated with a significant reduction in family violence, although this was not a primary objective. I don’t know whether they have had any effect on school attendance and completion.

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