Glocal Unified Assistance and Resources for Development, Inspiration and Academic Navigation (Guardian) Project

Project Duration
December 2022
December 2025
Funding and Year

Building upon previous impact evaluation research on school dropout and human trafficking, the GUARDIAN project aims to expand the pool of rigorous evidence on what works to combat child labor. The project acronym combines several important aspects of the project’s approach. The word “glocal”—which means to combine the global and the local—comes from the project’s dual emphasis on taking rigorous evidence from around the globe and applying it in a context-sensitive manner with local partners. The acronym also emphasizes the purpose of the project’s current research:  to directly inform efforts to assist and inspire children in Guatemala to stay in school and avoid child labor, including child trafficking.

The Problem

While there is substantial evidence around cash transfer programs and their impact on child labor, information is limited on the effectiveness of other types of anti-child labor efforts. There is also a lack of evidence that is responsive to demands of policymakers, including evidence on cost-effectiveness. In the case of Guatemala, there are demands for evidence about what works to address child labor, school dropout, irregular migration and human trafficking, which are pressing issues. There is also demand for cost effective solutions to these problems.

Our Strategy

The GUARDIAN project aims to identify solutions to address child labor and related determinants through impact evaluation research, with a focus on Guatemala and Central America. Building upon existing evidence on the effectiveness of information campaigns on school retention, the project will examine two types of interventions to address child labor and irregular migration through a randomized control trial (RCT). The RCT will examine the impact of a school-based information campaign and mentoring/tutoring program and compare it against the impacts of an information only campaign. The project will also conduct a series of pilot studies both to inform the RCTs and to identify additional promising practices to combat child labor and irregular migration. The project will co-create this research with local partners, including the Ministry of Education of Guatemala, to ensure it will be useful and inform policy and programming.

GUARDIAN is complemented by a separate award from the U.S. Department of State-funded, IPA-implemented Human Trafficking Research Initiative (HTRI). In 2024, HTRI awarded $200,000 to PRODESSA, IPA’s local implementing partner in Guatemala. These funds support additional research on what works to combat human trafficking through the GUARDIAN RCTs.

Innovations for Poverty Action
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Human Trafficking