Case Study

Providing Microfinance and Social Space to Empower Adolescent Girls: An Evaluation of BRAC's ELA Centres

Examining the usefulness of combining financial and social interventions for adolescent girls

This paper analyzes the impact of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee's (BRAC) Employment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) centers, which combine financial and social interventions. The study is based on a panel dataset of ELA Centre participants and non-participants. It tries to capture changes using qualitative tools. Findings indicate that the program has been useful in reducing chances of early marriage, engaging participants in economic activities, increasing their mobility and involvement in extracurricular reading. Qualitative exploration indicates much stronger effects than survey estimates, but this may be due to participants' over-attribution of their status on their participation. Study results indicate that girls who are disadvantaged in terms of education and parents' openness to girls' empowerment are less likely to participate in the program. The study highlights the need to target such girls. Recommendations include:

  • Skill development training should include a generic module on financial literacy that focuses on skills such as budgeting, financial management and insurance schemes;
  • General awareness on health issues needs to improve;
  • Materials that are provided to the centre should include more health specific knowledge based issues.

About this Publication

By Shahnaz, R. , Karim, R.