A) Main research question
Do vocational training programs improve labour market outcomes, leading to a decrease in willingness to emigrate, in rural areas of low-income countries?
Exact date – baseline data collection:
• August-September 2020: design of the evaluation
• September-October 2020: promotion of the courses between potential eligible candidates
• September-October 2020: checking for candidates’ eligibility and registering consent, running the baseline survey and assigning the selected candidates to the treatment and control groups.
• November 2020: running the market study survey to contribute to a better understanding of local markets, including internship and job opportunities.
Approximate date – start of intervention:
• November-December 2020 (exact date): those participants selected to the vocational training receive 160 hours vocational training at the CIFAP of Bula.
• January-March 2020: participants undertake either a traineeship in a local firm located in Cacheu or Oio or an entrepreneurship support program.
• November 2020 -September 2021: the beneficiaries of the scholarships attend a vocational training course in a centre of their choice within Guinea-Bissau.
Approximate date – follow-up data collection:
• January-March 2022: running the end-line survey
C) Application mechanism
1. Sampling: the sample was obtained through a promotional campaign on the national radio and Facebook.
2. Shortlisting and screening: interested candidates called our team, being screening for eligibility. Those fulfilling the eligibility criteria were included in the randomization. The individuals in the treatment group were invited to take an examination in person. The day of the examination the fulfilment of the mentioned criteria was checked upon administrative documents and personal interviews.
3. Allocation to the courses: the matching between the available positions in each course was done balancing the performance of the test-takers and their preferences, as previously explained
D) Eligibility mechanism
1. Eligibility criteria:
The GOT programme targeted young people living in the regions of Cacheu and Oio who have some history or internal or international migration or consider the possibility of migrating in the future. The existence of the programme was advertised in the main municipalities in the regions of Cacheu and Oio, including a list of phone numbers to which those interested could call and apply.
Hence, only men satisfying these conditions were considered eligible to take part in the project for the sake of the present impact evaluation. We considered only candidates answering positively the following questions:
- Willingness to take part in at least one of the offered courses, travelling to the municipality where the vocational training takes place for the duration of the courses.
• Region of residence: the experiment was run only in the regions of Cacheu and Oio since it aims to isolate the impact of vocational training in rural areas. Only candidates that had their residence in one out of the two regions passed to the next phase of the interview. In order to control for the truthfulness of statements in the baseline survey, potential participants were asked to bring an official identity document the examination day and their region of residence was checked.
• Migratory profile: the effective implementation of this criteria was done through the establishment of three questions directed to identify the three relevant types of migrants: internal, returned, and potential migrants. Only men who could be identified at least as one of these types of migrants were considered eligible. From our experience with previous surveys, we know we can trust people’s word on this and, moreover, since the candidates did not know that there selection was conditional on having a migratory profile they are not expected to lie about it.
• Age: only individuals ranging between 18 and 34 years old were considered eligible to participate in the courses. This criterion was set after consultation with local consultants and ENGIM, aiming to address one of the main problems of the labour market in Guinea-Bissau: the lack of opportunities and high unemployment levels among young people. In order to control for the truthfulness of the age declared in the baseline survey, potential participants were asked to bring an official identity document the examination day and their age was checked.
• Other situations of vulnerability: given the large list of vulnerabilities among the target population and the subjectivity that would be required to rank people based on the different types of vulnerabilities, it was decided to proxy the multi-dimensional nature of vulnerability using per capita household income. Despite its limitations, this simple measure of poverty is widely recognised as a useful proxy for vulnerability by international organizations and development experts. The threshold was set at 25,000 FCFA/month per person, after consulting with local experts in the matter. This threshold was calculated through two question which ask potential candidates how many members were in their households and their approximate monthly household income. Follow up, consistency questions and embedded controls were included in the survey instrument to identify and exclude the individual that were providing unreliable answer. Moreover, the fact that potential candidates did not know the set threshold for participation or that participation was conditional on income should reduce their incentives to lie.
If these conditions were met, the enumerator will explain the candidate the basic elements of the vocational training program and asked If the candidate agrees to participate. Those who consented would then complete a baseline survey.
E) Allocation to treatment among the treated
Out of the 151 male candidates with no disability that were invited to take the examination, 57 were finally selected to participate in the vocational training courses at the CIFAP in Bula and 28 were given a grant to choose a training institution, for a total of 85 participants allocated to the treatment. The allocation to treatment was done according to the following procedure. First, the allocation was done trying to match the available courses and the candidates’ preferences. Among the people having one course as their first choice, the women got a spot with preference to men. If there were more women willing to do a course as first option than available spots, the available spots were allocated to them having into account their grades. If after the female allocation, there were free spots for a course those were distributed among the men with the best grades who had it as their first option. Such process repeated for people having the course as second option, third and so on until all spots were covered.
Afterwards, the scholarships were allocated to the people who did not get a spot in the vocational courses at Bula because of the lack of matching between their preferences and the course offer, but who still had a good performance at the exam. Thus, the scholarship was granted following the ranking of the candidates according to their grades, without taking in consideration their gender. In the cases where a candidate refused the offer, it went to the next one in the list. This process has resulted in 35 men getting a scholarship.
- Allocated to the treated group: 151.
- Allocated to treatment: 85.
o Allocated to courses in Bula: 57.
Going to an entrepreneurship training: 14 out of which 3 got an startup grant
Going to an internship: 43
o Given a grant and freedom to choose training institution: 28.