Girls’ Economic Empowerment – The Best Contraceptive?
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This paper is written as the final thesis of our master degree in Economics at the Norwegian School of Economics, NHH. The thesis is a contribution to the Girl Empowerment Project – a research project launched by the Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI), the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Femina HIP and the Development Pioneer Consultants (DPC). Teenage pregnancies are common in many low-income countries, but the reasons for why teenage girls become pregnant are not well understood. Given the health and economic downfalls that can come with early pregnancy, the Girl Empowerment Project investigates whether adolescent pregnancies can be countered by empowering young women. This is done by providing young women in Tanzania with two different empowerment strategies: an information treatment, containing information on reproductive health, gender equality and rights, and an opportunity treatment, providing the girls with entrepreneurship training to improve their skills and knowledge of how to run a business. By comparing the two treatments, and a combination of the two, the study provides insights about their relative importance of providing teenagers with information and opportunities. As a part of the project, we have collected new data from a subsample of the girls, with updated information of where they are today. The process of collecting the data also contributes to the project by providing useful insights to the planning of the next and final round of data collection. This thesis compares the new data to data that has been collected in previous surveys, and evaluates the effects of the treatments on girls’ plans to start a business and income-generating activities. We find that the business training has successfully encouraged the girls to develop business plans, and findings from the new data suggest that business training also has inspired them to commence income-generating activities. The findings further indicate that the business training has made the girls better equipped to overcome constraints to
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