How do Labour Programmes Contribute to Social Inclusion in Afghanistan?
Evidence from BRAC's life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women
This study adopts a social exclusion lens to analyze the effects of BRAC's life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women in Afghanistan and tests assumptions about the role labour programmes can play in contributing to social inclusion. It used mixed methods and employed a quasi-experimental impact evaluation. This project examined the impacts of BRAC's life skills education training and livelihoods training in Kabul and Parwan provinces in Afghanistan. BRAC implemented the training as part of its Girls' Education Project (GEP) between 2007 and 2011. The project established adolescent reading centres (ARCs) for females aged 15-20 years and who had primary-level education but could not continue with their education. ARCs sought to provide adolescent girls with a safe space to socialise and remain engaged in the learning process even after they had stopped attending school.
The study utilized a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative method used descriptive and propensity score matching (PSM) analyses. In total, 364 respondents (each from a different household), with an even split between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, were interviewed in 13 villages. The qualitative approach involved 26 focus group discussions (FGDs) with 76 beneficiaries and 75 non-beneficiaries; and semi-structured in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 21 beneficiaries and 14 non-beneficiaries.Overall, the majority of the beneficiaries found the life skills education training useful. Its contribution to girls' knowledge on health, literacy skills and rights awareness appears to be among the key perceived benefits. The survey and qualitative data suggest a considerable share of beneficiaries have utilized their new knowledge of health, for example by seeing a doctor to address a health concern or improving personal/household hygiene practices. Qualitative evidence indicates that girls have used their literacy skills to help children in the household with homework.
The findings show that the trainings had only small effects on some indicators of social inclusion related to knowledge and skills acquisition but almost no impact in terms of employment and business activity. A key factor contributing to the limited income-generating outcomes of the livelihoods training related to its design and delivery. More generally, the research revealed that education, access to financial capital and restrictions on female mobility were the key barriers to female employment.