About the Study
In 2015, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Bureau of International Labor Affairs and funded contractor IMPAQ International to conduct the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT) Livelihoods Services Evaluation. The mixed methods evaluation aims to assess whether evidence supports the OCFT theory of change and gather evidence on the outcomes of four different types of livelihoods services projects, particularly with respect to reducing child and/or forced labor, to inform future project design.
This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual learning agenda process. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform international labor programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- Does the evidence support the OCFT theory of change, namely, that the provision of livelihoods services improves the intermediate outcomes of vulnerable households, such as household income and savings, and, ultimately, reduces child labor and/or forced labor?
- What types of livelihoods services appear to be more effective in reducing the prevalence of child labor or forced labor?
- Participants experienced reductions in child, hazardous, and forced labor after program enrollment. Vocational training programs were most consistently correlated with lower prevalence of these practices, while for some projects, entrepreneurship support was correlated with higher child and hazardous labor prevalence. Educational support projects yielded mixed results.
- Program participants reportedly used the income and savings generated through livelihoods services for a variety of purposes, such as investing in businesses, meeting basic household needs, and covering educational costs. Across the four projects studied, participants believed that vocational training increased their household incomes through the higher-income jobs obtained after training as well as through their ability to reinvest earnings in household businesses. Overall, participants and stakeholders attributed reductions in child and forced labor largely to increased income generated as a result of project participation.
- Across all projects, participants reported that participation provided them with a greater awareness of labor rights and practices as well as an understanding of how their work conditions were exploitive.
- Researchers were not able to isolate the influence of livelihoods services from the influence of other project components, nor could they establish a causal relationship between these services and participant outcomes. Available data were not suitable for comparing the outcomes of participants with the outcomes of non-participants.
Selzer, A. K., Michaelides, M., Li, J., Magill, K., Meza, J., Mian, P. (2019). IMPAQ International. OCFT Livelihoods Services Evaluation. Chief Evaluation Office, U.S. Department of Labor.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.