As Liberia transitions towards a more stable economic and political environment, the government focuses its efforts on macroeconomic policies conducive to employment generating growth and poverty reduction. With almost two thirds of Liberians living in poverty and widespread open unemployment, the country faces important challenges in the development of an income and employment generation strategy that can successfully translate growth into poverty reduction.
It was in this context that Youth Action International initiated the project "Center for Women's Empowerment". The project's goal is to provide self-employment opportunities to 300 disadvantaged young women in Monrovia through skills training, counseling, and a microcredit scheme.
The impact evaluation follows a randomized design investigating whether YAI's comprehensive approach (two training types plus an exit strategy), will increase job skills and the likelihood of self-employment and as a result, whether young women that participate in the project will be able to start their own business, possibly hire some employees, and earn greater earnings (and profits).
A lottery to assign qualified applicants into treatment and control groups was conducted in October 2010. The project is currently ongoing. A follow up survey will be conducted later this year.