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A Parenting and Economic Strengthening Program for Poor Families in South Africa: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial
Last registered on April 11, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
A Parenting and Economic Strengthening Program for Poor Families in South Africa: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002138
Initial registration date
April 04, 2017
Last updated
April 11, 2017 4:37 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Goettingen
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
University of Goettingen
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2015-05-02
End date
2016-08-01
Secondary IDs
PACTR201507001119966
Abstract
What helps to improve the effectiveness of financial literacy programs in promoting household economic welfare? This study examines the impact of a financial literacy and savings training that was integrated into a broader psychosocial parenting intervention. We conduct a cluster randomized control trial with 40 village/township clusters in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, comparing 20 treatment settlements that receive the 14-session parenting & financial literacy support program with 20 control settlements that receive a 1-day water hygiene program. We examine whether this program can increase savings, borrowing, and financial planning, as well as help reduce financial distress, vulnerability to economic shocks, and improve economic welfare.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Meinck, Franziska et al. 2017. "A Parenting and Economic Strengthening Program for Poor Families in South Africa: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial ." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2138-4.0.
Former Citation
Meinck, Franziska et al. 2017. "A Parenting and Economic Strengthening Program for Poor Families in South Africa: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial ." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2138/history/16290.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention, called 'Sinovuyo Teen Program', features group-based sessions in local community spaces for adults and adolescents. 10 sessions are attended jointly by adults and adolescents and 4 sessions separately. Participants also receive weekly tasks to complete at home (home practice). The program manuals have been developed by the Universities of Oxford and Cape Town and Clowns Without Borders South Africa, with advice and support from over 50 experts in the field. The curriculum is composed of 14 session and incorporates psychosocial and economic training elements. Psychosocial components (12 sessions) draw on evidence-based parenting principles, such as promoting praise and individuals’ self-worth, anger and stress control, responding to crises, and modelling positive behavior. The economic part of the program (2 sessions) breaks down into three core aspects, namely motivating participants to save, teaching budgeting and saving skills, and making soft commitments for saving.
Intervention Start Date
2015-08-09
Intervention End Date
2015-11-14
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Self-reported past-month saving
2. Self-reported past-month borrowing from a family member or friend
3. Self-reported past-month borrowing from a moneylender/loanshark
4. Financial Attitudes
5. Financial Self-efficacy
6. Financial Distress
7. Worries about Money
8. Coping with Economic Shocks
9. Access to Basic Necessities
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Self-reported past-month saving
If respondents are saving, they further indicate where savings are held: a) at their homes, b) in an informal institution such as a savings group, c) in a formal bank account or post office.
2. Self-reported past-month borrowing from a family member or friend
3. Self-reported past-month borrowing from a moneylender/loanshark
4. Financial Attitudes
Items :
(a) It is important to save money for the future
(b) It is important to only spend money on things you really need.
(c) It is not possible to save enough money to buy those things that I really want.
(d) Saving is for Adults only. (only measured for adolescents)

Individual items were rated on a 1-10 point Likert scale

Financial Attitudes Index: Additive scale combining items (a)-(c)/(d)

5. Financial Self-efficacy*
Items:
(a) Imagine you just got paid or you have just received your grant money. How confident are you that you will not run out of money in the next month?
(b) How confident are you that you can plan carefully in advance how to use the money during the week?
Individual items were rated on a 1-10 point Likert scale
Financial Self-Efficacy Index: Additive scale combining items (a) and (b)

6. Financial Distress *
Items:
(a) In the past four weeks, how often did you run out of money for meat?
(b) In the past four weeks, how often did you run out of money for electricity?
(c) In the past four weeks, how often did you run out of money for transport?
(d) In the past four weeks, how often did you run out of money for airtime?
Response options were “Never”, “Rarely (1-3 times in the past four weeks)”, “Sometimes (4-10 times in the past four weeks)”, “Often (>10 times in the past four weeks)”
Financial Distress Index: Weighted scale based on principal component analysis, combining items (a)-(d)

7. Worries about Money
(a) In the past 4 weeks, how often did you worry or feel anxious about money?
Response options were “Never”, “Rarely (1-3 times in the past four weeks)”, “Sometimes (4-10 times in the past four weeks)”, “Often (>10 times in the past four weeks)”

8. Coping with Economic Shocks
Items:
(a) If you were facing an emergency, how difficult would it be for your family to get R1000?
(b) How would you get R1000?
Response options were: “Use existing income”, “Use savings”, “Use remittances”, “Borrow from a friend/family member”, “Borrow from a loan shark”, “Sell belongings”, “Reduce health expenditures”, “Reduce educational expenditures”, “Reduce food expenditures”
The above items were collapsed into a binary variable ‘coping with economic shocks’ that was coded as 1 if participants indicated that they would be able to cover the costs of a hypothetical emergency, and 0 if they were not able to. The coping strategies of borrowing from a loan shark (at high interest) and cutting down expenses on health, education, or food were considered as ‘risky’ and therefore also coded as 0.

9. Access to Basic Necessities*
Items:
(a) Were you able to afford three meals a day in the past month
(b) Were you able to afford the costs of going to school in the past month
(c) Were you able to afford the costs of going to a doctor when you were sick in the past month
(d) Were you able to afford a school uniform in the past month
(e) Were you able to afford enough warm clothes in the past month
(f) Were you able to afford toiletries in the past month
(g) Were you able to afford school equipment in the past month
(h) Were you able to afford two pairs of shoes in the past month

Basic Necessities Index: Weighted scale based on principal component analysis, combining items (a)-(h)

Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study randomly assigned 40 clusters (32 rural and 8 peri-urban) including approx. 600 caregiver-adolescent pairs to either receive the 'Sinovuyo Teen Program' or a one-day hygiene intervention focused on skills-building for safe water conservation and handwashing (control group). Randomization was done for clusters within the two strata rural vs. peri-urban location in a 1:1 ratio.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was performed using a random number generator in Excel by an external statistician from Medical Research Council South Africa.
Randomization Unit
Clusters: villages/townships
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
40 villages, 600 families, including 600 adults and 600 adolescents
Sample size: planned number of observations
1200 (600 families with 600 adults and 600 adolescents)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
20 villages intervention (600 participants) annd 20 villages control (600 participants)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size was chosen based on power calculations using Optimal Design software (Raudenbush et al. 2011), which showed that 40 clusters (villages) with an average of 12 families per village would be required for a minimum detectable effect size of 0.35-0.40 and desired power of 0.80 with 95% confidence. The trial had to be powered for a cluster RCT rather than an individual RCT considering that the study pilot had pointed to potential spillovers from sharing program content with friends and neighbors.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Social Sciences & Humanities Inter-Divisional Research Ethics Committee, University of Oxford
IRB Approval Date
2011-11-09
IRB Approval Number
SSD/CUREC2/11-40
IRB Name
Psychology Department Research Ethics Committee, University of Cape Town
IRB Approval Date
2012-12-04
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
Strategic Planning Policy Research and Secretariat Services, Department of Education Eastern Cape
IRB Approval Date
2012-12-04
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
Provincial Department of Social Development and Special Programmes, Eastern Cape
IRB Approval Date
2014-05-21
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre Analysis Plan

MD5: 3231f19f45caa0fad8654e03511f0aef

SHA1: e73c1e4f216a31d25c0e83e9771f636bf2a23b3c

Uploaded At: April 11, 2017

Pre Analysis Plan

MD5: 3231f19f45caa0fad8654e03511f0aef

SHA1: e73c1e4f216a31d25c0e83e9771f636bf2a23b3c

Uploaded At: April 11, 2017

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers