Lighting Aspirations in Schools: The Impact of Providing Lights and a Role Model on Educational Outcomes

Last registered on June 24, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Lighting Aspirations in Schools: The Impact of Providing Lights and a Role Model on Educational Outcomes
Initial registration date
June 01, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 24, 2024, 11:49 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

University of Michigan

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Tufts University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In developing countries, secondary school completion rates tend to be low, particularly in rural areas. One explanation for this is that in rural households without access to electricity, insufficient lighting impedes students from studying effectively at night. Another explanation is that students have low aspirations due to years of living in poverty.

This study is a randomised control trial which involves two interventions targeted at secondary school students in rural Togo before their end-of-year examinations. The first intervention is a screening of the inspirational film "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind", which is aimed at raising the students' aspirations. The film depicts the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young boy from rural Malawi who, despite facing poverty and famine, overcame various challenges to build a windmill that generated electricity for his household. The second intervention is the provision of solar-powered lamps.

The study measures the combined effect of these two interventions on educational outcomes. To disentangle the contribution of each intervention, students are also randomised to only receive the first treatment, allowing for the identification of the individual effect of the film screening. Through follow-up surveys, it also investigates the underlying mechanisms at play. Additionally, by measuring pre-existing study networks, this study also explores the spillover impacts of providing lamps to students.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Brimble, Paul and Axel Eizmendi Larrinaga. 2024. "Lighting Aspirations in Schools: The Impact of Providing Lights and a Role Model on Educational Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. June 24.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Examination score
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The final score on the national upper-secondary school exam, the Baccalauréat de l'Enseignement Secondaire Deuxième Partie.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
All students are randomised to watch one of two films: (i) an aspirational film (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) and (ii) a placebo film (a film without any inspirational content). After the film screenings, students who watched the aspirational film are then randomised to receive a solar-powered lamp.

In total, there are three treatment arms: (i) placebo film, (ii) aspirational film, and (iii) aspirational film and solar-powered lamps.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomisation for the film screenings is done by asking students to select a coloured chip out of an opaque bag, the colour of which determines the film. The randomisation for the solar-powered reading lamp is done by having students play bingo, a game of chance, and assigning the lamps to the winning students.
Randomization Unit
Individual (student)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
450 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
450 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 students placebo film, 150 students aspirations film, 150 students aspirations film and solar-powered lamps.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Michigan Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number