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LIDC-LSHTM Seminar: Impact Evaluation of the 'Girls Can' Project in Mali

Friday, February 10, 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00
John Snow A, Keppel Street
Marcella Vigneri

Empowering adolescent girls is a critical factor to ensure gender equality in socio-economic opportunities later in life. This paper contributes to the understanding of what promotes adolescent girls’ empowerment by evaluating the Oxfam GB project ‘Girls Can’, rolled out in Mali’s Koulikoro region between 2011 and 2015 in twenty five schools of the primary and secondary cycle.

We analyse data from a sample of 913 observations; 325 girls from project schools and 588 girls from comparison schools. Instrumental variables are used to control for the endogeneity of project participation on girls’ empowerment after applying Coarsened Exact Matching to create fully comparable groups of project and non-project schools girls in the dataset.

The study finds that girls targeted by the ‘Girls Can’ project were 4 percentage points more empowered than girls from non-project schools, a statistically significant impact. Adolescent girls from project schools who are in the 13-15 year age group are those most empowered.  Further disaggregation of the empowerment index shows that the project was most impactful in creating a safe and supportive environment around girls.  The implication is clear; when attending school is positively valued and encouraged by parents and community members, girls gain power by remaining in education.


Marcella Vigneri is currently collaborating with IFPRI-Ghana, and was formerly Global Impact Evaluation Adviser at Oxfam GB.