This paper presents findings from the impact evaluation of the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project in Liberia. The EPAG project was launched by the Liberian Ministry of Gender and Development in 2009 with the goal of increasing the employment and income of 2,500 young Liberian women by providing livelihood and life skills training and facilitating their transition to productive work. The analysis in this paper is based on data collected during two rounds of quantitative surveys in 2010 and 2011, the second of which was conducted six months after the classroom-based phase of the training program ended. Strong impacts are found on the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants, relative to a control group of non-participants. The EPAG program increased employment by 47 percent and earnings by 80 percent. In addition, the impact evaluation documents positive effects on a variety of empowerment measures, including access to money, self-confidence, and anxiety about circumstances and the future. The evaluation finds no net impact on fertility or sexual behavior. At the household level, there is evidence of improved food security and shifting attitudes toward gender norms. These results reinforce the highly positive feedback received from focus group discussions with program participants. Finally, preliminary cost-benefit analysis indicates that the budgetary cost of the EPAG business development training for young women is equivalent to the value of three years of the increase in income among program beneficiaries. These preliminary results provide strong evidence for further investment and research into young women's livelihood programs in Liberia.
Adoho, F.; Chakravarty, S.; Korkoyah Jr, D.T.; Lundberg, M.; Tasneem, A. The impact of an adolescent girls employment program: the EPAG project in Liberia. World Bank, Washington DC, USA (2014) 48 pp. [Policy Research working paper No. WPS 6832]