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Research Assistants

A Randomized Evaluation of the Effects of a Preschool Intervention on Child Learning and Female Economic Empowerment in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya

This project aims to design and test an innovative model for childcare provision in rural Kenya that emphasizes child development and economic participation for women in a cost-effective manner. Using a randomized controlled trial design, the project will examine the impact of allowing children in Tharaka Nithi County (TNC) in Kenya to attend pre-school from the age of 3 versus the current early childhood development programming in Kenya which is for children ages 4 and above.The potential to offer early childhood development care for 3-year-olds is a key investment to be considered with high potential for expansion across Kenya and beyond. The intervention will introduce a new and enhanced curriculum and will be adapted for the Kenya context and include coaching of school teachers as child caretakers. The intervention aims to improve child development and school readiness for children aged 3 and 4, as well to increase employment and income among parents of 3-year-olds. This research project aims to answer two central questions:

  1. What is the impact of a preschool intervention on the early childhood development outcomes of children in rural Kenya under the age of 4 years old?
  2. What is the impact of the intervention on women’s labor supply, well-being and empowerment?

The intervention will run for two years, beginning in January 2024, with a sample of 1,500 children (both 3- and 4-year-olds) and their parents, split across 60 treatment communities and 60 control communities. The curriculum will emphasize socio-emotional development, structured group-learning and activity-based learning. Women’s labor supply is hypothesized to increase through a reduction in the childcare burden of mothers who would otherwise stay at home to look after their children. The sample size will be 1,500 children and their parents. Data collection will include: a census, child assessments, mother survey, father survey, teacher survey and classroom observations.

The child assessments and parent surveys will be run in three waves (baseline, midline and endline) in late 2023, late 2024 and late 2025, when a higher volume of data work is expected. The baseline will be preceded by a census survey of study communities, which is run to establish eligibility and appetite for the intervention among parents of to-be 3-year-olds at the start of the intervention (2024). This particular posting will cover the period of Fall 2023."

Requisite Skills and Qualifications

  1. Demonstrated strong proficiency in Stata, and experience with data management, data cleaning, and regression analysis
  2. A strong technical understanding of economics and econometrics
  3. A high level of organization and ability to communicate concisely and directly so that work can be coordinated together with other RA’s on the project
  4. Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player
  5. Interest in early childhood development and education is preferable