The literature suggests that increasing girls’ access to and use of economic assets has potentially far-reaching impacts on other aspects of their lives. However, to date, there have been few rigorous evaluations of girls’ economic empowerment programmes, particularly those which provide tangible productive/financial assets. The few evaluations available suggest that evaluations most commonly use a combination of methodologies to measure the impact of interventions, and a variety of evaluation questions and indicators, including:
- Access to and use of economic assets
- School enrolment and progression
- Reproductive knowledge and behaviour
- Voice and participation
- Changes in girls’ expectations and aspirations, as well as those of their parents
- Changing attitudes and values
Key findings from the evaluation reports and literature reviewed suggest that:
- There is mixed evidence about the economic viability of microcredit programmes for adolescent girls involving tangible assets such as cash/loans.
- There are some improvements in educational outcomes, including school enrolment and achievement.
- The impact on reproductive knowledge and risk-taking sexual health behaviours is mixed.
- There is also some evidence that increasing access to economic assets can help girls to: gain respect from family members and a greater share in household or community resources; have more liberal gender attitudes; increase their awareness of rights; and improve their standard of living and economic independence.