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Search Result: 34 Records found
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Incentives for climate mitigation in the land use sector: a mixed-methods systematic review of the effectiveness of payment for environment services (PES) on environmental and socio-economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Birte Snilstveit, Jennifer Stevenson, Laurenz Langer, Natalie Tannous, Zafeer Ravat, Promise Nduku, Joshua Polanin, Ian Shemilt, John Eyers, Paul J Ferraro
  • Published date 2019-09-29
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Incentives for climate mitigation in the land use sector: a mixed-methods systematic review of the effectiveness of payment for environment services (PES) on environmental and socio-economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cl2.1045
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Payment for environmental services (PES) remains high-risk strategy for climate change mitigation until rigorous impact evaluations can determine its effects

    Programmes that provide economic incentives to reduce the negative environmental impact of land use are a popular means to reduce deforestation and degradation and mitigate climate change. In some cases they also aim to improve socio-economic outcomes. The effects of Payment for environmental services (PES) programmes on these outcomes, however, remain unclear due to the low quality of available evidence.

    What is this review about?

    Greenhouse gas is released by unsustainable practices in the land use sector. PES programmes seek to create positive environmental outcomes by providing an economic incentive to the owners and managers of environmental services in low- and middle-income countries to change their behaviour.

    This review uses existing evidence to assess whether PES programmes have positive effects on environmental and socio-economic outcomes. It also assesses how these effects vary across different contexts and implementation strategies.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) programmes on environmental and socio-economic outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarises findings from 44 quantitative and 60 qualitative studies from 12 countries.

    What studies are included?

    Studies were included that evaluated a PES programme in low- and middle-income countries and targeted populations living in or near forests, agricultural land, wetlands, grasslands and mangroves.

    Forty-four impact evaluations and 60 qualitative studies were included. They covered 18 programmes from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

    Ten of the 18 programmes had as their objectives the improvement of both environmental and socio-economic outcomes.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    PES may produce reduced deforestation, improved forest cover and increased household income. These findings are, however, based on low and very low quality evidence from a small number of countries, and should be treated with caution.

    Qualitative data indicates that the effects will vary, depending on where and to whom projects are targeted, the quality of implementation, presence of governance structures, contextual factors, and attitudes towards environmental protection and towards PES itself.

    What do the findings of the review mean?

    Until higher quality research is conducted, the large-scale implementation of PES programmes should be considered a high-risk strategy for mitigating climate change.

    Based on the current evidence, strong conclusions about the impact of PES cannot be made, however effective targeting and including strong governance structures may improve project results.

    To address the evidence gap, funders and implementing agencies should collaborate to develop rigorous methods for impact evaluation. They should also invest in the collection and analysis of qualitative data that examines diverse research participants and follows change over longer periods.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies in August and September 2017.

Mass deworming for soil‐transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis among pregnant women: A systematic review and individual participant data meta‐analysis
  • Authors Rehana Salam, Simon Cousens, Vivian Welch, Michelle Gaffey, Philippa Middleton, Maria Makrides, Paul Arora, Zulfiqar Bhutta
  • Published date 2019-09-24
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Mass deworming for soil‐transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis among pregnant women: A systematic review and individual participant data meta‐analysis
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cl2.1052
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Mass deworming during pregnancy reduces anaemia but has no effect on other maternal or pregnancy outcomes

    Pregnant women are at particular risk from soil transmitted helminthiasis (STH) – a group of diseases caused by infection with four intestinal parasites and schistosomiasis. Individual-level data analysis with data from three studies shows that mass deworming during pregnancy reduces anaemia but has no effect on any other maternal or pregnancy outcomes.

    What is this review about?

    Soil transmitted helminthiasis (STH) are a group of diseases caused by infection with four intestinal parasites (two types of hookworm, roundworm, and whip worm) which contributed to a total of 4.98 million years lived with disability (YLDs) in 2010. Anaemia is one of the most common side effects of infection with STH or schistosomes, due to blood loss in the intestine or urinary tract. Women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are especially prone since they may be pregnant or lactating for as much as half of their reproductive lives, with over 50% of the pregnant women having iron-deficiency anaemia.

    This review explores whether the effect of mass deworming during pregnancy varies with individual characteristics (nutritional status, anaemia), intensity of infection (as assessed by egg count), infection status (including species of worm), socioeconomic status, sanitation environment and co-interventions. The analysis uses individual patient data (IPD), which means that the original individual-level data are obtained for the included studies and combined into a single data set.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review explores whether the effect of mass deworming during pregnancy varies with individual characteristics, intensity of infection, infection status, socioeconomic status, sanitation environment and co-interventions.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies have to be individually randomised controlled trials: cluster randomised controlled trials and quasi randomised studies providing preventive or therapeutic deworming drugs for STH and schistosomiasis during pregnancy.

    From a total of 16 studies on mass deworming during pregnancy, we identified seven trials with 8,515 participants which were eligible for individual data analysis. Of these seven trials, we received data from three trials so that data was captured for 5,957 participants.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Mass deworming during pregnancy reduces maternal anaemia by nearly one quarter (23%).

    There is no effect of mass deworming during pregnancy on any other outcomes including Trichiura infection, hookworm infection, low birth weight, and pre-term birth.

    The size of the effect is not affected by Trichiura intensity at baseline, maternal anemia at baseline and maternal BMI at baseline. However these findings should be interpreted with caution due to small sample sizes. Other potential moderating characteristics could not be assessed because of lack of data.

    The quality of evidence for our findings is rated as moderate. Further research on maternal baseline worm intensities and birth outcomes could change our findings.

    What do the findings of the review mean?

    The analyses suggest that mass deworming during pregnancy is associated with reducing anaemia, with no effect on any other maternal or pregnancy outcomes.

    The analyses were limited by the availability of data for the impact by sub-groups and effect modification. Thus, there is a need to assess mass deworming for STH and schistosomiasis during pregnancy in large-scale programmatic settings, along with an attempt to measure various individual and environmental factors that could potentially affect its impact.

    There is also a need to support and promote open data for future individual level data analysis.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to March 2018.

Citizen engagement in public services in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A mixed‐methods systematic review of participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability initiatives
  • Authors Hugh Waddington, Ada Sonnenfeld, Juliette Finetti, Marie Gaarder, Denny John, Jennifer Stevenson
  • Published date 2019-08-02
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Citizen engagement in public services in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A mixed‐methods systematic review of participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability initiatives
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cl2.1025
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Citizen engagement improves access to public services in low- and middle-income countries, but evidence on development outcomes is limited

    Interventions promoting citizen engagement in public service management involve participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability (PITA) mechanisms. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), these interventions are effective in improving active citizenship and service delivery, and may improve the responsiveness of service provider staff for services provided directly by public servants (for example, in health).

    In contrast, interventions providing information to stimulate pressure on politicians are not usually effective in improving provider response or service delivery. There is insufficient evidence to conclude whether these interventions are effective in improving wellbeing or the relationship between citizens and the state.

    What is this review about?

    Failures in governance lead to the exclusion of large portions of society from public services and to waste, fraud and corruption. This review assesses evidence for interventions promoting better governance of public services: participation (participatory planning), inclusion (involvement of marginalised groups), transparency (information about citizen rights or performance of public officials), and accountability (citizen feedback) mechanisms, known collectively as PITA mechanisms.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of interventions to promote citizen engagement in public service management. The review synthesises evidence from 35 impact evaluations and 36 related studies of interventions promoting participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability (PITA) mechanisms.

    What studies are included?

    The review includes impact evaluations relating to 35 PITA programmes from 20 LMICs. In addition, 36 qualitative and programmatic documents were included to strengthen understanding of implementation context and programme mechanisms.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Citizen engagement interventions (i) are usually effective in improving intermediate user engagement outcomes, for example, meeting attendance and contributions to community funds; (ii) improve access to and quality of services but not service use outcomes; (iii) can lead to improvements in some wellbeing outcomes such as health and productive outcomes; (iv) may improve tax collection; but (v) do not usually lead to changes in provider action outcomes such as public spending, staff motivation and corruption. There may be an exception where there is direct interaction between citizens and service providers in the regular delivery of services. Interventions providing performance information do not generally improve access or lead to improvements in service quality.

    Only interventions focused on services delivered by front-line staff (e.g., in health) achieve positive outcomes. Those delivered without public interaction (e.g., roads) do not. However, engagement with civil society organisations and interest groups may lead to better outcomes for services accessed independently of providers. Inclusive citizen engagement programmes have at least as big an effect on user engagement and access to services as less inclusive approaches.

    Many interventions experienced challenges stemming from a lack of positive engagement with supply-side actors, whose power the interventions often sought to diminish. Interventions implemented with the strong support of the targeted service providers were better able to realise positive impacts.

    Approaches to citizen-service provider engagement appear to work more effectively when implemented through phased, facilitated collaborative processes rather than one-off accountability meetings that are seen as confrontational.

    Only four studies present any data on intervention costs. This limited the potential for any analysis of comparisons across programmes and settings.

    In interpreting the findings, it must be noted that each individual outcome is reported in only a few studies and that included studies have important methodological weaknesses with risks of bias arising from weak design, analysis and reporting.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    For policy and programme managers: A collaborative rather than confrontational approach with the service providers whose services are under scrutiny is more likely to be effective. Engaging communities may require using civil society organisations to facilitate the community’s participation. Programme design should ensure positive engagement with supply-side actors within the intervention setting.

    For researchers: More high-quality studies are needed, comparing different approaches to improving service delivery, paying attention to complete description of the different approaches being compared. Since implementation is a crucial factor, mixed methods studies should be the norm, and will help focus on equity considerations which have been neglected. Finally, there should be standardisation of indicators in PITA studies.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to March 2018.

Impact of financial inclusion in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A systematic review of reviews
  • Authors Maren Duvendack, Philip Mader
  • Published date 2019-01-07
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development, Methods
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Impact of financial inclusion in low‐ and middle‐income countries: A systematic review of reviews
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2019.2
  • Records available in English, Hindi, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Financial inclusion interventions have very small and inconsistent impacts

    A wide range of financial inclusion programmes seek to increase poor people’s access to financial services to enhance the welfare of poor and low-income households in low- and middle-income countries. The impacts of financial inclusion interventions are small and variable. Although some services have some positive effects for some people, overall financial inclusion may be no better than comparable alternatives, such as graduation or livelihoods interventions.

    What is this review about?

    Financial inclusion programmes seek to increase access to financial services such as credit, savings, insurance and money transfers and so allow poor and low-income households in low- and middle-income countries to enhance their welfare, grasp opportunities, mitigate shocks, and ultimately escape poverty.  This systematic review of reviews assesses the evidence on economic, social, behavioural and gender-related outcomes from financial inclusion.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This systematic review of reviews systematically collects and appraises all of the existing meta-studies – that is systematic reviews and meta-analyses – of the impact of financial inclusion. The authors first analyse the strength of the methods used in those meta-studies, then synthesise the findings from those that are of a sufficient quality, and finally, report the implications for policy, programming, practice and further research arising from the evidence. Eleven studies are included in the analysis.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    What studies are included?

    This review includes studies that synthesise the findings of other studies (meta-studies) regarding the impacts of a range of financial inclusion interventions on economic, social, gender and behavioural outcomes. A total of 32 such meta-studies were identified, of which 11 were of sufficient methodological quality to be included in the final analysis. The review examined meta-studies from 2010 onwards that spanned the globe in terms of geographical coverage.

    Impacts are more likely to be positive than negative, but the effects vary, are often mixed, and appear not to be transformative in scope or scale, as they largely occur in the early stages of the causal chain of effects. Overall, the effects of financial services on core economic poverty indicators such as incomes, assets or spending, and on health status and other social outcomes, are small and inconsistent. Moreover, there is no evidence for meaningful behaviour-change outcomes leading to further positive effects.

    The effects of financial services on women’s empowerment appear to be generally positive, but they depend upon programme features which are often only peripheral or unrelated to the financial service itself (such as education about rights), cultural and geographical context, and what aspects of empowerment are considered.

    Accessing savings opportunities appears to have small but much more consistently positive effects for poor people, and bears fewer downside risks for clients than credit. A large number of the meta-studies included in the final analysis voiced concerns about the low quality of the primary evidence base that formed the basis of their syntheses. This raises concerns about the reliability of the overall findings of meta-studies.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    This systematic review of reviews draws on the largest-ever evidence base on financial inclusion impacts.  The weak effects found warn against unrealistic hype for financial inclusion, as previously happened for microcredit. There are substantial evidence gaps, notably studies of sufficient duration to measure higher-level impacts which take time to materialize, and for specific outcomes such as debt levels or indebtedness patterns and the link to macroeconomic development.

    This study is the first review of reviews published by the Campbell Collaboration. Some important limitations were encountered working at this level of systematisation.  It is recommended that authors of primary studies and meta-studies engage more critically with study quality and ensure better, more detailed reporting of their concepts, data and methods. More methods guidance and clearer reporting standards for the social science and international development context would be helpful.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies in November 2017, updating elements of the searches in January 2018. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in January 2019.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

  • Hindi

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Hindi.

Factors associated with youth gang membership in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Angela Higginson, Kathryn Benier, Yulia Shenderovich, Laura Bedford, Lorraine Mazerolle, Joseph Murray
  • Published date 2018-11-29
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice, International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Factors associated with youth gang membership in low- and middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.11
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Evidence shows which factors predict gang membership in low- and middle-income countries, but more studies needed

    Youth gang membership is associated with delinquency, violent crime and trafficking. A range of individual, peer, family, school and community factors can predict the likelihood of youths getting involved with gangs. Knowledge of these factors can be helpful for reducing gang membership.

    What did the review study?

    Youth gang membership is associated with delinquency, violent crime and trafficking – and gang members are themselves frequently the victims of these offences. Yet youth gangs can also provide a form of social capital, a sense of belonging and purpose to disenfranchised youth.

    This review identifies the factors associated with young people joining gangs, and the differences between gang-involved and non- gang-involved youth. Understanding these associations is essential to reduce the levels of gang membership and the incidence of related violence.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the predictors of youth gang membership in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarises findings from eight reports from five countries and the Caribbean region.

    What studies are included?

    Studies of youth gangs in in low- and middle-income countries were included, with participants aged 10-29 years. The studies had to assess an individual predictor or correlate of youth gang membership, where the predictor or correlate is a single characteristic, not a conglomeration of multiple constructs. Included studies had designs including data on both gang- involved and non-gang-involved youth, recruited with strategies that were eligible.

    Nine studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. One of these studies did not report all the required data and so was not included in the analyses. The studies were conducted in Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, El Salvador, China and Brazil.

    What are the main results in this review?

    The eight studies analysed in the review address the associations between life events and circumstances, and the likelihood of being a youth gang member across five domains: individual, peers, family, school and community. Significant associations were found with factors in each domain.

    What do the findings of this review mean? The lack of available evidence limits the extent to which clear conclusions can be drawn about the factors associated with youth gang membership. The review is based on a very small number of studies, and has significant limitations in coverage. The limited evidence of the correlates of youth gang membership suggests factors that may drive gang membership and suggests areas where interventions may prove promising in the family, school, and community domains, as well as provide a starting point for future studies.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to September 2013.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
  • Authors David J. Hemming, Ephraim W. Chirwa, Andrew Dorward, Holly J. Ruffhead, Rachel Hill, Janice Osborn, Laurenz Langer, Luke Harman, Hiro Asaoka, Chris Coffey, Daniel Phillips
  • Published date 2018-05-28
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.4
  • Records available in English, Hindi, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Agricultural input subsidies raise input use, yields and farm income

    Agricultural input subsidies raise input use, yields and farm income, but the evidence base is small and comes from a limited number of schemes and countries.

    What is this review about?

    Greater use of improved seeds and inorganic fertilisers, and increased mechanisation, could boost agricultural productivity in some low- or lower-middle-income countries, but there is disagreement about whether subsidising these inputs is an effective way to stimulate their use.

    This review examines the evidence for impacts of input subsidies on agricultural productivity, beneficiary incomes and welfare, consumer welfare and wider economic growth.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of input subsidies on agricultural productivity, beneficiary incomes and welfare, consumer welfare and wider economic growth. The review summarizes evidence from 15 experimental and quasi-experimental studies and 16 studies that use computable models, the majority concerning sub-Saharan Africa.

    What studies are included?

    This review examines studies that evaluate the impact of agricultural input subsidies, including subsidies for agricultural machinery, seeds or fertilisers, on farmers, farm households, wage labourers or food consumers in low- or lower- middle-income countries. It includes 15 experimental and quasi-experimental studies and 16 simulation modelling studies. The majority relate to sub-Saharan Africa (15 to Malawi) and to subsidised fertilizers and seeds.

    What are the main results of this review?

    Fertiliser and seed subsidies are associated with increased use of these inputs, higher agricultural yields and increased income among farm households, but evidence of their effects on poverty is limited. There is much evidence that subsidy schemes are prone to inefficiency, bias and corruption. Models show that introducing or increasing subsidies generally results in positive effects for consumers and wider economic growth. However, the models indicate that the way subsidies are funded, world input prices and beneficiary targeting all have important influences on predicted outcomes. The authors were not able to find any studies examining subsidies for machinery.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    Input subsidies can increase input use, and raise agricultural productivity with wider benefits. However, the design of subsidy schemes is crucial to their effectiveness, if they are to reach the desired farmers and stimulate input use. The effectiveness of subsidies in comparison to other interventions requires further study.

    A relatively small number of appropriate studies were found, and well-documented research in countries beyond sub-Saharan Africa is needed to ensure the wider relevance of these results. Mixed-methods, theory-based impact evaluations would help explore the impacts of different levels of subsidies for different beneficiaries. Simulation models studies could make more use of rigorous evidence from experimental and quasi-experimental studies and examine more helpful subsidy comparisons. More clarity is needed in the reporting of methodological approaches, statistical information and the type and size of input subsidy implemented or modelled.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to 2013.

  • Spanish

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  • Hindi

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The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • Authors Shannon Doocy, Hannah Tappis
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.17
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Cash-based humanitarian assistance approaches can increase food security and are more cost effective than in-kind food transfers

    Cash-based approaches have become an increasingly common strategy for the provision of humanitarian assistance. Both cash-based approaches and in-kind food assistance can be effective means of increasing household food security among conflict-affected populations and maintaining household food security among food insecure and drought-affected populations. Cash transfers are more cost effective than vouchers which are more cost effective than in-kind food assistance.

    What did the review study?

    This review assesses the effects of cash-based approaches on individual and household outcomes in humanitarian emergencies. It also assesses the efficiency of different cash-based approaches and identifies factors that hinder and facilitate programme implementation.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness, efficiency and implementation of cash transfers in humanitarian settings. The review summarises evidence from five studies of effects, 10 studies of efficiency and 108 studies of barriers and facilitators to implementation of cash-based humanitarian assistance.

    What studies are included?

    Studies assessing effectiveness of cash-based approaches were experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Studies analyzing efficiency were experimental, quasi-experimental or observational studies with a cost analysis or economic evaluation component. Studies examining barriers and facilitators included these study types as well as other qualitative and mixed methods studies.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Unconditional cash transfers and vouchers may improve household food security among conflict-affected populations and maintain household food security among food insecure and drought-affected populations. Unconditional cash transfers led to greater improvements in dietary diversity and quality than food transfers, but food transfers are more successful in increasing per capita caloric intake than unconditional cash transfers and vouchers. Unconditional cash transfers may be more effective than vouchers in increasing household savings, and equally effective in increasing household asset ownership. Mobile transfers may be a more successful asset protection mechanism than physical cash transfers.

    Cash transfers can be an efficient strategy for providing humanitarian assistance. Unconditional cash transfer programmes have a lower cost per beneficiary than vouchers which, in turn, have a lower cost per beneficiary than in-kind food distribution. Cash transfer programs can also benefit the local economy. Voucher programmes generated up to $1.50 of indirect market benefits for each $1 equivalent provided to beneficiaries and unconditional cash transfer programmes generated more than $2 of indirect market benefits for each $1 provided to beneficiaries.

    Intervention design and implementation play a greater role in determining effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches than the emergency context or humanitarian sector.

    Factors which influence implementation include resources available and technical capacity of implementing agencies, resilience of crisis-affected populations, beneficiary selection methods, use of new technologies, and setting-specific security issues, none of which are necessarily unique to cash-based interventions.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Unconditional cash transfers and vouchers can be effective and efficient ways to provide humanitarian assistance.

    Each assistance modality has different advantages and disadvantages that should be considered in the design of future interventions. However, no definitive conclusions on the effectiveness of cash transfer or voucher programmes could be drawn that are universally applicable for humanitarian policy.

    Development of the evidence base, with more rigorous evaluations comparing the effectiveness of different cash-based approaches and transfer modalities, as well as approaches to comparing costs and benefits of cash-transfer and voucher programmes, is needed to further strengthen the evidence base.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to November 2014.

  • Spanish

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Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Marjorie Chinen, Thomas de Hoop, Lorena Alcázar, María Balarin, Josh Sennett
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.16
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Vocational and business training benefit women on the labour market, but the effects of most programmes are small

    Vocational training has small positive effects on employment, formal employment, and earnings. Business training combined with other programme components has positive effects on self-employment, and sales or profits. These relatively small effects may be insufficient to justify scaling up vocational or business training programmes. Design variations to increase impact need to be tested.

    What did the review study?

    Women around the world often perform jobs with minimal skill requirements, and encounter few opportunities for learning and advancement. Governments and development agencies try to improve women’s skills through vocational and business training programmes.

    This review summarises evidence on the impacts of such programmes, and on the barriers to and facilitators of vocational and business training effectiveness.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of vocational and business training targeted at women in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarises evidence from thirty-five quantitative studies with an experimental or quasi-experimental design. The review summarises the impact of 30 interventions, containing data from over 80,000 women. The qualitative narrative meta-synthesis includes findings from 50 studies.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies are experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations which measured the impact of vocational and business training programmes targeting women 18 years or older, in low- and middle-income countries. The review also includes qualitative and mixed-methods studies that explore barriers to, and facilitators of, vocational and business training effectiveness.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Vocational training has small positive effects: employment and formal employment increased by 11% and 8%, respectively, and income by 6%. There is some variability in the findings.

    Effects are larger in programmes with a gender focus. Effects on earnings, but not employment, are larger in programmes that include life skills training or an internship. Employment effects are larger in Africa and Asia. Effects are stronger six months after the start of the programme than twelve months after the start of the programme.

    Vocational training programmes were commonly outsourced without establishing adequate quality control procedures or monitoring mechanisms that may undermine effectiveness.

    Business training combined with cash transfers or life skills training increases the likelihood of self-employment by 73%, and sales or profits by 7%. Business training with cash transfers did not have different effects from business training without cash transfers.

    Effects on sales are larger in sub-Saharan Africa (15%). This larger effect may be caused by the stronger gender focus of those programmes. The positive effects on sales and profits appear driven by the inclusion of mentoring and technical assistance components that enhance business knowledge and practices.

    Structural barriers, such as distance and cost of transportation, time constraints for participation, and economic and labour market barriers, limit programme effectiveness. Gender norms such as occupational segregation and the unequal division of domestic and care responsibilities, as well as the cost and availability of childcare facilities also discourage women’s participation in vocational and business training.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Vocational training had small positive effects on employment, formal employment, and earnings. Business training combined with other programme components had positive effects on self-employment, as well as small positive effects on sales or profits. Yet these relatively small effects may be insufficient to justify scaling up vocational or business training programmes.

    Effects of vocational training programmes may be increased by the inclusion of a stronger gender focus, life skills training, or an internship. However, the current evidence is not sufficient to make strong claims of the effectiveness of such an approach. These mechanisms should be tested further with rigorous mixed-methods studies with multiple treatment arms.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to September 2016.

  • Spanish

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The effectiveness of contract farming for raising income of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Giel Ton, Sam Desiere, Wytse Vellema, Sophia Weituschat, Marijke D'Haese
  • Published date 2017-12-12
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title The effectiveness of contract farming for raising income of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.13
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Contract farming improves incomes for better-off farmers

    Contract farming, a sales arrangement between a farmer and a firm, is popular with government and donors. Contract farming can produce substantial income gains for farmers. Moreover, these benefits may well be required for contract farming schemes to survive. Better- off farmers are most likely to participate in contract farming schemes.

    What did the review study?

    Contract farming is a sales arrangement agreed before production begins, which provides the farmer with resources or services. The service package provided by the firm varies per location, and can include transport, certification, input provisioning and credit.

    This systematic review summarises evidence on income effects for smallholders to assess average effects and explore combinations of factors that increase these effects.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of contract farming on income and food security of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarises findings from 75 reports, of which 22 (covering 26 contract farming interventions) were used for meta-analysis.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies had to examine the impact of contract farming on income and food security of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. Studies had to use a comparison group with appropriate statistical methods to allow for selection effects.

    Seventy-five studies were identified with quantitative estimates of the impact of contract farming of which 22 studies, covering 7,471 respondents, were of sufficient rigour to include in the meta-analysis of income effects. The meta-analysis covers 26 empirical instances of contract farming in 13 developing countries.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Contract farming may substantially increase farmer income with an average effect in the range of 23 to 54 per cent. There is upward bias in the estimate because of survivor bias in individual studies (no data on farmers who drop out of schemes) and in the body of evidence (no studies on contract farming arrangements that collapsed in their initial years), and publication bias in the literature (under-reporting of insignificant outcomes). Therefore, some caution is needed in interpreting the findings.

    For farmers to give up their autonomy in marketing and prevent side-selling, substantial income gains need to be offered. This is especially so for annual crops and when firms have contracts directly with farmers rather than through a cooperative.

    Poorer farmers are not usually part of contract farming schemes. In 61% of the cases, contract farmers had significantly larger landholdings or more assets than the average farmers in the region.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Contract farming covers a wide range of contractual arrangements. This heterogeneity makes it difficult to draw general conclusions from the literature published on this topic. The lack of studies on ‘failed treatments’ leads to an overestimation of the effectiveness of contract farming.

    Moreover, the analysis suggests a marked publication bias; all studies report on at least one case of contract farming that has a positive and statistical significant income effect.

    Relatively larger or richer farmers can cope better with these risks and are, therefore, more likely to take part in a contractual arrangement. This implies that contract farming is more suited to the relatively better-off segment of the farming population.

    Further research should: (1) improve reporting of the intervention; (2) document the less-successful instances of contract farming, and report inconclusive results (insignificant effects); and (3) capture other outcomes of contract farming such as (sector-wide) innovation, and livelihood resilience.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to October 2015.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • Authors Jochen Kluve, Susana Puerto, David Robalino, Jose Manuel Romero, Friederike Rother, Jonathan Stöterau, Felix Weidenkaff, Marc Witte
  • Published date 2017-12-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, International Development, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.12
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Active labour market programmes for youth increase employment and earnings but effects vary between programmes and context

    Youth are disproportionately victims of unemployment and low-quality jobs. Active labour market programmes increase earnings and employment. But the effects vary greatly between programmes’ type, design and context.

    What did the review study?

    Youth unemployment is much greater than the average unemployment rate for adults, in some cases over three times as high. Today, over 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide. Moreover, two out of five young people in the labour force are either working but poor or are unemployed. The youth employment challenge is not only about job creation, but especially about enhancing the quality of jobs for youth.

    This systematic review assesses the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people. The included interventions are training and skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment. Outcomes of interest include employment, earnings and business performance outcomes.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people and business performance. The review summarises findings from 113 reports of 107 interventions in 31 countries.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies had to: (1) evaluate an active labour market programme (ALMP) which was designed for – or targeted primarily – young women and men aged between 15 and 35; (2) have an experimental and quasi-experimental design; and (3) report at least one eligible outcome variable measuring employment, earnings, or business performance.

    The evidence base covers 107 interventions in 31 countries, including 55 using skills training, 15 with entrepreneurship promotion, ten using employment services and 21 using subsidized employment.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Overall, youth employment interventions increase the employment and earnings of those youth who participate in them. But the effect is small with a lot of variation between programmes. There are significant effects for entrepreneurship promotion and skills training, but not for employment services and subsidised employment.

    Impacts on earnings were also positive but small and highly variable across programmes. Entrepreneurship promotion and skills training were effective in increasing earnings, while effects of employment services and subsidised employment were negligible or statistically insignificant. There is limited evidence of the effects of youth employment programmes on business performance outcomes, and the effect size was not statistically significant.

    In addition to the variation in impact across different types of programmes, some variation can be explained by country context, intervention design, and profile and characteristics of programme beneficiaries. The impacts of ALMPs are greater in magnitude in low- or middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Programmes targeting the most disadvantaged youth were associated with bigger programme effects, particularly for earnings outcomes, and effects were slightly larger for women than for men.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    The evidence suggests that investing in youth through active labour market measures may pay off. Skills training and entrepreneurship promotion interventions appear to yield positive results on average. So, there are potential benefits from combining supply- and demand-side interventions to support youth in the labour market.

    The evidence indicates the need for careful design of youth employment interventions. The “how” seems to be more important than the “what” and, in this regard, targeting disadvantaged youth may act as a key factor for success.

    There is a need to strengthen the evidence base with more studies of promising programmes, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Further research should investigate intermediate outcomes and soft skills, and should collect cost data.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2015.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

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