Many governments and organizations implement school-based financial literacy programs to promote positive financial behaviors at an early age, yet little is known about the impacts. In southern and eastern Ghana, researchers evaluated two youth financial literacy programs to test their impact on savings, labor, academic performance, and financial decision-making. One program integrated financial and social education, while the second only offered financial education.

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Heavily subsidizing essential health products like insecticide-treated bed nets has the potential to substantially decrease child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, but there is widespread concern that poor governance and limited accountability among health workers undermines the effectiveness of subsidy programs . Researchers measured the impact of several financial and monitoring incentives on the quality of bed net delivery to pregnant women in Ghana .

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A large number of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are preventable, and many programs aim to prevent disease and death by improving health knowledge. In Ghana, researchers evaluated the impact of a complementary health communications program on health behavior. To complement a national communication and community health worker program, live theater performances, video screenings, and live radio broadcasts were rolled out in selected communities.

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Only one drug—artemisinin—is fully effective in treating malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is therefore central to the global fight against malaria; however, many patients do not complete the full course of malaria treatment. Non-adherence may increase the risk of drug resistance, greatly undermining efforts to combat the disease. This randomized evaluation in northern Ghana was a first attempt to evaluate the impact of text message reminders to patients on adherence to malaria treatment.

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Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa tend to underinvest in inputs such as fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and labor, though such investments could increase their agricultural yields and profits. The constraint may be cash, or it may be the risk. In northern Ghana, researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to evaluate whether access to capital or risk was driving farmers’ investment decisions.

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Teacher Community Assistant in her classroom in Ghana

Over the last decade, millions more children in developing countries have gained access to primary school education. Despite this achievement, a large number of children enrolled in their first years of school are still not learning how to read, write, or do basic math. Building on previous research, researchers in this study evaluated the impact of several targeted instruction programs on the learning outcomes of primary school students in Ghana’s public schools.

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Commitment savings products are designed to help people overcome social and behavioral barriers to saving money, but many questions remain about how, and in which cases, these products work. In Ghana, researchers worked with the North Volta Rural Bank (NVRB) and IPA to conduct a randomized evaluation to test the impacts of a commitment savings product linked to electronic salary payments on clients’ total savings and debt.

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A Ghanaian student sits in class

Does the migration of highly educated people from developing countries hurt local economies, decimating their human capital and fiscal revenue? Or does a highly educated diaspora serve to develop economies through remittances, trade, foreign direct investment and knowledge transfers? Researchers tracked academic high achievers from five countries and found large positive benefits of high-skilled migration for citizens of high emigration countries.

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This study examines methods of identifying microenterprises with higher growth potential in developing countries. Researchers surveyed 335 small businesses in Ghana, invited them to participate in a business plan competition, and then tested whether business plan competition judges or survey instruments were better able to identify firms that would grow faster.
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Government-subsidized health care is seen as a useful tool in tackling the health challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, but for it to work, people have to enroll in the program. Ghana offers universal health care, but only about a third of the population is enrolled. Some evidence suggested education about the insurance program would boost enrollment. However, a randomized evaluation in northern Ghana determined that education was not the barrier.
 
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Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 24 percent of the global burden of disease. While private clinics are the first source of care for many Africans, the quality of care offered in private facilities is inconsistent and often weak, and the private healthcare sector faces a wide host of challenges.

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