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IZA/DFID Conference on Training Programs and Labor Markets in Africa: Evidence and Policy Lessons

Place:   Nairobi, Kenya

Date:   December 13, 2013

The IZA/DFID Program on Growth and Labor Markets in Low-Income Countries (GLM | LIC) organized “IZA/DFID/AERC Conference on Training Programs and Labor Markets in Africa: Evidence and Policy Lessons” on December 13th, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.  The goal of the conference was to bring together academic researchers, policy makers, and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in training programs in Africa. The focus was on the lessons learned from design, implementation, and evaluations of training programs.

David Lam (University of Michigan and IZA) and Witness Simbanegavi (Director of Research, AERC) welcomed the participants by giving an introduction to the program and the conference. Then, Markus Goldstein (World Bank) talked about the “Importance of Rigorous Evaluation and Lessons Learned" drawing from his experience with evaluation programs in Africa.  In the afternoon session under the title of “Lessons from Recent Evaluations" , Pamela Jakiela (University of Maryland), Mwangi Kimenyi (Brookings Institution), and  Isaac Mbiti (Southern Methodist University) shared their recent experience with projects involving the evaluation of skill training programs in Africa. Later, in the session titled "Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Training Programs" Dan Baffour- Awuah (Former Executive Director, Ghana Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training),  Ehud Gachugu (Project Director, Kenya Youth Employment Project), and  Stephen Okello (International Rescue Committee Kenya) talked about their experience dealing with skill training programs from the side of the policy makers. 

The day ended with an interesting panel discussion about what we know about skill training programs in Africa and methods to evaluate them. Germano Mwabu (University of Nairobi), Mwangi Kimenyi (Brookings Institution),  Alice Githu (Directorate of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Republic of Kenya), and Markus Goldstein (World Bank) were the panel discussion participants. Also, they answered questions raised from the audience during the panel discussion.

 

IZA/DFID/AERC Short Course on Evaluation of Training Programs

In conjunction with the conference, GLM | LIC also organized a short course on evaluation of training programs on December 14-15 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. About 40 students, 4 instructors, and 4 student helpers attended the short course. The course was designed for postgraduate students, faculty members, and researchers in government and non-governmental organizations who wanted to develop their skills in the evaluation of training program using the latest econometric methods.  

The course consisted of four half-day sessions that covered the following topics: design and analysis of randomized controlled trials in training programs; propensity score matching methods; difference-in-difference estimators; regression discontinuity designs. 

The main focus of the course was on application of these methods to the evaluation of skills training programs, especially in Africa. Isaac Mbiti (Southern Methodist University), Marco Caliendo (University of Potsdam and IZA), Pamela Jakiela (University of Maryland), Owen Ozier (World Bank) were the instructor of the training program.

More information about the conference, the conference program and pictures click here.

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