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Peers in Action: An Experiment on Female Genital Cutting and Child Marriage
Initial registration date
July 21, 2020
July 21, 2020 11:24 AM EDT
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Cattolica University and Laboratory for Effective Antipoverty Policies (LEAP)
Additional Trial Information
Harmful gender norms, such as female genital cutting and child marriage affect millions of girls in developing countries. These customs have a strong detrimental effect on women’s human capital accumulation, empowerment and wellbeing, thus perpetuating gender inequality. Yet we have little causal evidence on what policies are able to eradicate them. In this project we address the following research questions: Can a multi-faceted policy intervention that combines information provision and the acquisition of soft-skills reduce the practice of harmful gender norms? What is the role of peers in improving individuals' attitudes towards harmful norms?
We are collaborating with UNICEF and local NGOs in Burkina Faso to evaluate a program aiming to change attitudes towards child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC) among adolescent girls and boys in Burkina Faso. The program creates adolescent clubs for girls and separately for boys. The clubs are meant to provide a safe space for youth to interact and to create a platform for improving the youth's attitudes towards harmful gender norms. To achieve this objective, local mentors are trained to facilitate discussions in the clubs, offering information on consequences of child marriages/FGC, enabling dialogue and sensitization about harmful traditions. We evaluate the impact of the program on girls and boys' attitudes towards FGC and child marriage by randomizing the program at the village level.
In order to answer the second research question (on the role of peers in improving individuals' attitudes towards harmful norms) we induce random variation in the composition of the clubs in term of attitudes towards FGC and child marriage. In some villages, we incentivize youth with more progressive attitudes towards FGC and child marriage to participate in the club (henceforth "targeted incentives"). The incentives are cash transfers, provided by mobile money transfers, conditional on attending the club. In the rest of the treatment villages, we provide similar incentives to randomly selected youth to participate to the club (henceforth "random incentives"). By comparing the impact of the program in villages with targeted v.s. random incentives, we aim to quantify the role of having peers with better attitudes towards FGC and child marriage. Registration Citation
Corno, Lucia and Selim Gulesci. 2020. "Peers in Action: An Experiment on Female Genital Cutting and Child Marriage." AEA RCT Registry. July 21.
The program creates adolescent clubs for girls and separately for boys. The clubs are meant to provide a safe space for youth to interact and to create a platform for improving the youth's attitudes towards harmful gender norms. To achieve this objective, local mentors are trained to facilitate discussions in the clubs, offering information on consequences of child marriages/FGC, enabling dialogue and sensitization about harmful traditions.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main outcomes are youth's attitudes towards gender norms, in particular towards FGC and child marriage; and the prevalence of FGC and child marriage within the targeted communities.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We collect data among girls and boys who are eligible to participate in the clubs using survey questions on attitudes towards FGC and child marriage, and indirect revelation methods such as “item lists”.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Fertility, teenage pregnancy, schooling.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We randomly allocate the study villages into three groups:
- Treatment 1 (T1): In these villages, clubs are established and a ranomly selected youth are provided incentives to participate in the clubs (i.e. random incentives)
- Treatment 2 (T2): In these villages, clubs are established and a youth with more progressive attitudes towards FGC and child marriage are provided incentives to participate in the clubs (i.e. targeted incentives)
- Control (C): In these villages no clubs are established.
In addition, villages in T1 and T2 are further randomized into two groups: half of them receive only girls' clubs and half of them receive both girls' and boys' clubs.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization done in office by a computer.
The randomization is conducted at the village level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
The experiment covers 135 villages. The villages are based in 4 provinces in Burkina Faso: Tapoa and Gurma in the East and Passore and Yatenga in the North.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We interview 40 households or 40 youth (20 boys and 20 girls) per village for a total of 5400 youth.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
45 villages control, 45 villages T1 (clubs with random incentives), 45 villages T2 (clubs with targeted incentives).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli Comitato Etico, Italy
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Research Institute in Health Service (Comite D’Ethique Institutionnel pour la recherché en sciences de la Sante), Burkina Faso
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number