"The [Apni Beti Apna Dhan Conditional Cash Transfer programme] was initiated...in 1994 to motivate families to value their daughters differently." Dr. Priya Nanda
 
Panel Discussion: Spotlight on Progress "Building Bright Futures for Girls through Education and Economic Opportunities"

Context: This presentation is from one of the 14 "Spotlights on Progress" video-recorded sessions from the Girl Summit 2014, London, United Kingdom (UK). The sessions were organised to share best practice between practitioners, grassroots activists, and government ministers across the issues of female genital mutilation (FGM) (also FGM/C - female genital mutilation/cutting) and child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM). Girl Summit is a project of the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Profile of speaker: A featured panelist of this Spotlight session was Dr. Priya Nanda, Group Director for Reproductive Health and Economic Development, International Centre Research on Women (ICRW), Asia, whose presentation was entitled "Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Girls’ Education (Apni Beti Apna Dhan), India". From the Summit introduction: "As Group Director of Social and Economic Development at the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW) Asia Regional Office, Dr. Priya Nanda oversees research, policy and programmatic work on issues related to gender equality, social change and economic empowerment, with a focus on their intersectionalities. Her expertise includes research, measurement and evaluation of women’s economic empowerment and access to health services, including reproductive health and HIV. Priya has ...20 years of experience and brings extensive experience in leading research studies on a range of issues around women's empowerment, gender equity and sexual reproductive health and rights issues."

Strategy overview: The IMPACCT project was initiated by ICRW to conduct an evaluation of the long-term benefits of "Apni Beti Apna Dhan" (ABAD - meaning "Our Daughters, Our Wealth"), a large scale conditional cash transfer (CCT) intervention, implemented from 1994-1998 in Haryana, India. As part of ABAD, female beneficiaries received a sum of INR 25,000 in government bonds if they remained unmarried at the age of 18. In 2012, the girls who were enrolled in 1994 began to turn 18 and receive the benefit.

Among Dr. Nanda's comments: In Haryana, prior to the ABAD CCT programme, 57% of girls were marrying before the age of 18, and 14% were completing secondary school. The ratio of girls to boys born was 850:2,000. Designed to addres CEFM, ABAD was unique among CCT programmes in India in that the beneficiaries faced a protracted benefit. Those signed at birth did not receive the transfer until and unless they remained unmarried at age 18. A bond of INR 2,500 was deposited for them, so that it accrued value and could be cashed at age 18 for INR 25,000. ABAD was one of the first CCT programmes but had no baseline data. However, it now has available endline data from the ICRW  evaluation, which shows the CCT impact on education, while the second round evaluation is planned (for 2014) to examine impact on delayed marriage.

Results showed that ABAD girls are 25% more likely to stay in school after age 15 compared to non-ABAD girls. A lesson learned is that simplified paperwork makes it possible for more girls to enrol. Nanda described one girl who benefitted because her family is delaying her marriage until age 18 due to the benefit - at which time she and her younger sister, not an enrolee, will be married off together because it is more economical for the family.

From the Summit: "The IMPACCT study aims at understanding the extent to which a CCT like ABAD, designed around a long-term incentive of a cash benefit for girls to delay their marriage is successful and assess the factors that influenced its success. ICRW designed an impact evaluation of ABAD in four districts of Haryana using a quasi-experimental evaluation design involving two rounds of quantitative data collection, first of which concluded in 2013 and the second in September 2014 to assess the impact on marriage.  The results suggest that there is a need for complementary programmes to enhance the effectiveness of the programme, such as increasing the quality of schools, providing vocational training and a transition from schools to employability, and challenging and shifting rigid gender norms to give girls and women more opportunity.

The first round of evaluation had indicated the positive outcomes that the scheme has had on the education of girls. The analysis of the ABAD CCT program on the girls’ lives has been encouraging as those enrolled in the scheme have displayed increased interest in pursuing higher education while the knowledge of protracted benefit may have influenced the family’s decision to invest in their daughters' education. The next round of surveys will provide a complete picture of the pathways between incentive, education, marriage and overall value of girls."

 
Overview of this Summit Session: From the Girl Summit summary document: "The session considered the role of education, access to finance and cash transfers in empowering girls and women and providing them more voice, choice and control over their lives. The session heard from the experience of panellists on the impact of education and economic empowerment initiatives on early and child marriage. Supporting girls through education and training was an effective way of delaying the age of first marriage and motherhood and also increasing a girl’s earning power and prospects. Some initiatives were already working effectively at scale. To sustain change more needed to be done to engage with communities to address social norms to change these established cultural practices. Other complementary measures such as improving the quality of education and school safety, and supporting women leaders were also important to deliver sustainable change.""

The speakers for this session are:

Introduction: Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO.

Angeline Murimirwa, Regional Executive Director (Southern Africa), Camfed.

Roshni Sen, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Woman and Child Development, Government of West Bengal, India.

Dr. Priya Nanda, Group Director for Reproductive Health and Economic Development, ICRW Asia.

Sally Gear, Senior Education Adviser, Department for International Development.

"The session is moderated by Joy Hutcheon Director General Country Programmes, UK Department for International Development. Joy oversees DFID’s work in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and is the Department’s lead on the priority area of improving the lives of Women and Girls. "

Footage of this (available below) and other "Spotlights" are available on DFID’s YouTube channel.

The Girl Summit is a project of DFID. Click here and scroll down to see the full list of individuals and organisations committed to working on girls' issues, as well as a list of Girl Summit Charter signatories.

Source: 

DFID Girl Summit Outcomes website and ICRW report [PDF format], accessed on August 20 2015. Image credit: Sophie Namy

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