Educational and Child Labour Impacts of Two Food-for-Education Schemes
Evidence from a randomised trial in rural Burkina Faso
This paper uses a prospective randomized trial to assess the impact of two food-for-education schemes on education and child labour outcomes for children from low-income households in northern rural Burkina Faso. The two food-for-education programmes under consideration are, on the one hand, school meals where students are provided with lunch each school day, and, on the other hand, take-home rations which provide girls with 10 kg of cereal flour each month, conditional on 90% attendance rate. After the programme ran for one academic year, both programmes increased enrollment by 3–5 percentage points.
The scores on mathematics improved for girls in both school meals and take-home rations villages. Conditional on enrollment, the interventions caused attendance to decrease, but this was mainly driven by lower attendance among new enrollees. The interventions also led to adjustment in child labour, with children (especially girls) with access to food-for-education programmes, in particular the take-home rations, shifting away from on farm labour and off-farm productive tasks which possibly are more incompatible with school hours.