Final Evaluation of Increasing Economic and Social Empowerment for Adolescent Girls and Vulnerable Women (EMPOWER) in Zambia
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Chief Evaluation Office
EMPOWER aimed to reduce child labor by increasing adolescent girls’ access to acceptable work and women’s access to livelihood opportunities. This evaluation used pre-post and descriptive analysis to examine participation and changes in EMPOWER’s intermediate outcomes, complemented by qualitative data to contextualize our findings. We found that EMPOWER had little impact on skills targeted by the project, possibly due to low participation and/or the appropriateness of the project to the Eastern Zambia context. Measures of self-esteem were already high at baseline. There was no change in agriculture-focused technical/vocational skills, in women’s and adolescent girls’ perceptions of gender equity, or in women’s awareness of child labor and child rights. However, there were small changes in literacy and numeracy: the share of adolescent girls who could read a full sentence increased by about 12 percentage points; and adolescent girls’ and women’s basic number recognition skills improved over time. There was little change in participants’ ability to carry out addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. The share of girls engaged in paid work increased over time, but without a valid comparison group, it is not possible to determine whether these changes were due to EMPOWER or other factors like adolescent girls’ transition to adulthood.