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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

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Measuring Child-level Outcomes from Value Chain Interventions: the Case of STRIVE Philippines

by on Nov 15, 2013  |  posted in Youth  |  0 Comments
The STRIVE Philippines project (2008-2012) sought to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable households and children by employing a value chain facilitation approach, working in the seaweed  and woven product sectors in Central Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao.  While the project did not directly target children or youth, it was anticipated that increased household income would result in improved wellbeing of children and youth within those households. The project was implemented by Action for Enterprise (AFE) under the STRIVE project, which is funded by USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF), and managed by FHI 360. The STRIVE Philippines Activity Brief discusses results and lessons learned for future value chain projects. AFE utilized a “light-touch” approach, leveraging Lead Firms’ initiatives and creating incentives for their participation. The seaweed sector was first identified as a program focus because of the high levels of economic vulnerability among coastal communities in the Philippines, and the high price seaweed was commanding in 2008. However, the seaweed sector experienced a sharp decline in the first year of the program, which reduced firms’ incentives to invest in upgrading production and led AFE to scale down their efforts. AFE then identified the woven products sector as an opportunity to benefit vulnerable producers by strengthening the firms that buy from them.  Making baskets and other housewares from natural materials historically employed a number of people, predominantly poor women, in the Cebu province, who value the opportunity to make supplementary income through home-based piecework. In the Philippines, the woven products industry had a relatively strong international market demand.  AFE worked with a total of 12 lead firms to increase productivity of producers, input providers, and household weavers, while also improving or expanding product design and market access for the firms. Project activities included:
  • Built Lead Firms’ capacity in skills upgrading, provided technical and cost share support for trainings that introduced producers to new designs and products.
  • Facilitated training for new producers and suppliers.
  • Supported linkages through international buyers’ visits, trade shows and strategy development.
The STRIVE Philippines project reached more than 9,000 MSME producers and raw material suppliers in both sectors. With AFE’s facilitation, Lead Firms organized quality assurance trainings for their producers, to reduce the percentage of products rejected due to quality issues, resulting in greater income for the producers.  The STRIVE Philippines project generated over $500,000 in new Lead Firm sales during the life of the project. In terms of child and youth wellbeing, although findings were mixed across activities, with modest improvements on household and child wellbeing, evidence suggests that following quality control trainings and the subsequent improvements of accepted products, weaving households spent an additional $50/year on each child. STRIVE evaluated child-level outcomes using a deep dive case study approach employing qualitative and quantitative tools.  In order to understand how children spend their time, STRIVE developed and tested a child time use PRA tool in the Philippines.  The project employed a non-experimental mixed-methods approach because the project lacked a control group, meaning that results cannot be attributed to AFE’s intervention.   For more information on STRIVE and the STRIVE Philippines project, check out the Activity Brief and www.microlinks.org/strive. STRIVE is a 6.5-year, $16 million program funded by USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF) and managed by FHI 360. The program aims to fill current knowledge gaps about effective economic strengthening approaches and their impact on reducing the vulnerability of children and youth. In partnership with Action for Enterprise (AFE), ACDI/VOCA, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and Save the Children, STRIVE is implementing four economic strengthening projects in Africa and Asia between 2008 and 2014. Coupled with a robust monitoring and evaluation framework and learning strategy, STRIVE is documenting the impacts of these diverse interventions on children. This post is a part of a series of blogs highlighting activities implemented under the STRIVE project, which was featured in a lunch panel at the SEEP 2013 Conference on November 7.  

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