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In response to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls, IPA launched the Women’s Work, Entrepreneurship, and Skilling (WWES) Initiative as part of RECOVR (Research for Effective COVID-19 Responses). The WWES Initiative combines data collection efforts, research projects, and policy work, focusing on two key themes: (1) women's work, entrepreneurship and time use and (2) youth skilling and school-to-work transitions. The focus countries of this initiative are Kenya and Bangladesh.

Our Request for Proposals will support piloting, data collection, analysis, dissemination, and policy engagement activities. The deadline to submit a proposal is January 27, 2021. This document outlines full details about the RFP, including the process and timeline, application materials (including the application form), and driving research questions. Any questions should be directed to the SME team.

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Research Resource
Date:
December 16, 2020

Markets for consumer financial services are growing rapidly in low and middle income countries and being transformed by digital technologies and platforms. With growth and change come concerns about protecting consumers from firm exploitation due to imperfect information and contracting as well as from their own decision-making limitations. We seek to bridge regulator and academic perspectives on these underlying sources of harm and five potential problems that can result: high and hidden prices, overindebtedness, post-contract exploitation, fraud, and discrimination. These potential problems span product markets old and new, and could impact micro- and macroeconomies alike. Yet there is little consensus on how to define, diagnose, or treat them. Evidence-based consumer financial protection will require substantial advances in theory and especially empirics, and we outline key areas for future research.

Read the working paper here.

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Working Paper
Date:
December 01, 2020
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Objectives: Disrespectful and poor treatment of newborns such as unnecessary separation from parents or failure to obtain parental consent for medical procedures occurs at health facilities across contexts, but little research has investigated the prevalence, risk factors, or associated outcomes. This study aimed to examine these practices and associations with health care satisfaction, use, and breastfeeding.

Design: Prospective cohort study

Setting: Health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu counties in Kenya

Participants: Data were collected from women who delivered in health facilities between September 2019 and January 2020. The sample included 1,014 women surveyed at baseline and at least one follow-up at 2-4 or 10 weeks postpartum.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: 1) Outcomes related to satisfaction with care and care utilization, 2) Continuation of post-discharge newborn care practices such as breastfeeding.

Results: 17.6% of women reported being separated from their newborns at the facility after delivery, of whom 71.9% were separated over 10 minutes. 44.9% felt separation was unnecessary and 8.4% reported not knowing the reason for separation. 59.9% reported consent was not obtained for procedures on their newborn. Women separated from their newborn (>10 minutes) were 44% less likely to be exclusively breastfeeding at 2-4 weeks (aOR=0.56, 95%CI: 0.40, 0.76). Obtaining consent for newborn procedures corresponded with 2.7 times greater likelihood of satisfaction with care (aOR=2.71, 95%CI: 1.67, 4.41), 27% greater likelihood of postpartum visit attendance for self or newborn (aOR=1.27, 95%CI: 1.05, 4.41), and 33% greater likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding at 10 weeks (aOR=1.33, 95%CI: 1.10, 1.62).

Conclusions: Newborns, mothers, and families have a right to high quality, respectful care, including the ability to stay together, be informed and have proper consent for care. The implications of these practices on health outcomes a month or more after discharge illustrate the importance of a positive experience of postnatal care.

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Published Paper
Date:
October 21, 2020
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Objective: To understand perspectives and experiences related to participation in a quality improvement collaborative (QIC) to improve person-centered care (PCC) for maternal health and family planning (FP) in Kenya.

Design and setting: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with members of the QIC in four public health facilities in Kenya.

Participants: Clinical and nonclinical public health facility staff who had participated in the QIC were purposively sampled to participate in the semi-structured interviews.

Intervention: A QIC was implemented across four public health facilities in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties in Kenya to improve PCC experiences for women seeking maternity or FP services.

Main outcome measure: Semi-structured interviews with participants of the QIC to understand perspectives and experiences associated with sensitization to and implementation of PCC behaviors in maternity and FP services.

Results: Respondents reported that sensitization to PCC principles resulted in multiple perceived benefits for staff and patients alike, including improved interactions with patients and clients, deeper awareness of patient and client preferences, and improved interpersonal skills and greater job satisfaction. Respondents also highlighted system-level challenges that impeded their ability to consistently provide high-quality PCC to women, namely staff shortages and frequent turnover, high patient volumes and lack of space in their respective health facilities.

Conclusion: Respondents were easily able to articulate perceived benefits derived from participation in this QIC, although they were equally able to identify challenges that hindered their ability to consistently provide high-quality PCC to women seeking maternity or FP services.

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Published Paper
Date:
October 15, 2020
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We examine some effects of Universal Basic Income (UBI) during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large-scale experiment in rural Kenya. Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes. They may have had public health benefits, as they reduced hospital visits and decreased social (but not commercial) interactions that influence contagion rates. During the pandemic (and contemporaneous agricultural lean season) recipients lost the income gains from starting new non-agricultural enterprises that they had initially obtained, but also suffered smaller increases in hunger. This pattern is consistent with the idea that UBI induced recipients to take on more income risk in part by mitigating the most harmful consequences of adverse shocks.

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Working Paper
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September 02, 2020

This study exploits a randomized school health intervention that provided deworming treatment to Kenyan children and utilizes longitudinal data to estimate impacts on economic outcomes up to 20 years later. The effective respondent tracking rate was 84%. Individuals who received 2 to 3 additional years of childhood deworming experience an increase of 14% in consumption expenditure, 13% in hourly earnings, 9% in non-agricultural work hours, and are 9% more likely to live in urban areas. Most effects are concentrated among males and older individuals. Given deworming's low cost, a conservative annualized social internal rate of return estimate is 37%.

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Working Paper
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July 01, 2020

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