IPA’s Peace & Recovery program is designed to support field experiments and related research in several broad areas:
- Reducing violence and promoting peace
- Reducing “fragility” (i.e. fostering state capability and institutions of decision making)
- Preventing, coping with, and recovering from crises (focusing on conflict, but also including non-conflict humanitarian crises)
This document highlights the aims, core themes, research questions, and focus countries for P&R calls for proposals which will be taking place twice a year during 2018 and 2019.
Rates of participation in early childhood education (ECE) programs are on the rise globally, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet little evidence exists on the quality of these programs and on the role of classroom quality in predicting learning for young children across diverse contexts. This study uses data from the Greater Accra Region of Ghana (N = 3,407; Mage = 5.8 years; 49.5% female) to examine how changes in four culturally-validated dimensions of ECE classroom quality predict children’s growth in early academic and social-emotional skills from the beginning to the end of one academic year. We find that improvements in domains of classroom instructional quality are related to small, positive gains in children’s early academic and social-emotional outcomes over the school year, and that these improvements are generally larger for children and classrooms with higher baseline proficiency and quality levels. Associations between changes in social-emotional aspects of classroom quality and child outcomes were mixed. These results extend the knowledge base on ECE quality to a new and under-represented context while also providing important information regarding the contexts and children for whom teacher training and other quality-focused improvement efforts may be most needed.
This study examines how parent socioeconomic status (SES) directly and indirectly predicts children’s school readiness through pathways of parental investment. Data come from direct assessments with preschool children and surveys with their primary caregivers in Ghana at the start of the 2015–2016 school year (N = 2,137; Mage = 5.2 years). Results revealed SES-related gaps in all parental investment characteristics and child school readiness skills. Preschool involvement served as the primary mediating mechanism in the path from SES to most school readiness skills, though it did not predict executive function. The number of books in the household was marginally positively predictive of early literacy, whereas at-home stimulation was negatively related to motor, literacy, and numeracy skills.
Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture currently operates an agricultural extension agency program to help teach smallholder farmers the most current farming techniques, but there are not enough agents to provide a constant presence in local communities. As part of the Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholder Farmers (DIRTS) project, researchers collaborated with the ministry to test a new community agricultural extension agent program, which selected and trained local agents to supplement the existing MOFA agents and provide more frequent teaching and support.
After three years:
- Community extension agents successfully increased local farmers’ knowledge and improved their practices.
- Delivering specific information about a practice close to the time when the practice should be adopted may be an important component of a successful program.
- However, farmers’ improved knowledge and implementation of best practices did not ultimately translate into increased yields or more earnings for the farmers.
- Farmers who received the program invested more in the use of chemicals, but not other inputs.
*These results are preliminary and may change after further data collection and/or analysis.
Improved seeds varieties can generate significantly higher agricultural yields for farmers, but recent data indicates that only 20 percent of farmers in northern Ghana use improved seeds. This study, known as the Testing Agricultural Technologies (TAT) project, compared yields and profits of several seed varieties and looked at farmer purchasing decisions to understand the performance and adoption of seed varieties in northern Ghana.
Over the course of one growing season:
- The seed comparison found a wide variety in yields between seeds, with farmers who grew the foreign hybrid seed, Adikanfo, on average yielding more than double that yielded from the local hybrid seed, Mamaba.
- Contrary to expectations, the commonly-used local seed, Obaatanpa, outperformed the local hybrid seed, Mamaba.
- The study suggests a farmer cultivating one hectare of land who switched from Obaatanpa to Adikanfo would harvest about 1.8 tons more maize, translating into an increase in profit of more than 1,600 GHC.
- It is important to note these results are particular to this context and conditions, and during the growing season studied there was ample rainfall. These results cannot speak to characteristics of seeds not tested under these conditions, such as drought resistance.
*Results are preliminary and may change after further data collection and/or analysis. Note this study was not a randomized evaluation.
In Ghana, and many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, farmers invest little in inputs, such as improved seed, fertilizer, and other chemicals to improve their yields. One reason for this may be risk associated with factors out of their control, such as weather. As part of the “Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholder Farmers” project, researchers partnered with a weather forecasting firm to test the impact of providing daily short-term weather forecasts by SMS.
After 1 year:
- Farmers who received the forecasts, as well as farmers living nearby, used this information to change their behavior, timing planting and chemical application for days when light rain was forecast.
- However, there was no discernable impact of the service on farmers’ overall profits.
- Overall, the results suggest that forecasts are inexpensive and effective at changing farmer behavior, but they were not sufficient to increase overall profits alone.