Limited knowledge of financial concepts is associated with suboptimal financial behavior such as low rate of formal savings, poor usage of bank accounts, amongst others. Well-designed financial education programs have the potential to improve financial knowledge and behavior, leading to improvements in wellbeing.

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Renewable off-grid home lighting systems have the potential to reduce the use of kerosene lanterns and other expensive and dirty forms of light in areas that lack electricity, but adoption of such lighting systems is low.

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How do standard development programs compare to just giving people cash?

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How does an employment and training program compare, in impacts and cost, to just giving people cash?

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Poor sanitation leads to major diseases, increased public health expenditures, and causes diarrhea—a leading cause of mortality in children under five. In western Rwanda, researchers evaluated the impact of community health clubs on the health and hygiene of children under five in particular. They found that the clubs had no impact on caregiver-reported rates of diarrhea among the children in the study.

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Although Rwanda has one of the highest rates of primary enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa, concerns around education quality persist. Researchers are exploring one route to recruiting and motivating skilled teachers: pay-for-performance contracts in public schools.

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Secondary school enrollment in Africa is expected to double by 2030, yet high youth unemployment rates suggest that the existing formal education system is not preparing students to improve their livelihoods through work. Working with the Rwandan Education Board, Educate!, and Akazi Kanoze Access, researchers are examining the impact of a program that trains teachers in Rwanda’s revised secondary school entrepreneurship curriculum on student academic, economic, and labor market outcomes.

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Many farmers in developing countries lack the capital necessary to invest in potentially profitable inputs, as these investments must be made months after the harvest when households lack cash. Commitment savings accounts, which have features to discourage withdrawals, have been shown to help the poor save, and could help farmers put aside money to invest in their farms. However, demand for these products is low.

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In sub-Saharan Africa, many of the region’s poor are small-scale farmers. While certain agronomic practices, such as pruning tree crops, can substantially increase yields, take-up of many such practices remains low, potentially resulting in lower yields and profits. In Rwanda, researchers worked with TechnoServe to evaluate the impact of an agronomy training program on farmers’ knowledge and use of best practices in coffee-growing.

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