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J-PAL Middle East and North Africa

 

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA), based at the American University in Cairo School of Business, leads J-PAL’s work in the Middle East and North Africa region. J-PAL MENA conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs.

Our research team evaluates the impact of social programs and policies in MENA, covering a wide range of sectors, including social protection, employment, education, and gender. Through online and in-person courses, we train implementers, policymakers, donors, and advocates on how to generate and use rigorous evidence. Our policy team works to institutionalize learning from evidence and disseminate research results to governments and other partners.

 

 

Upcoming Events

Introducing J-PAL Middle East and North Africa: Building Partnerships to Accelerate Poverty Reduction and Foster Evidence-Informed Policy in MENA

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

3 PM EET

Register Here
JPAL Mena

J-PAL MENA Launch Blog

Evaluations - Ongoing studies

Implementing Partner: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Ragui Assad (University of Minnesota), William Pariente (Université Catholique de Louvain)

May 2019 to April 2023

This project is evaluating the impact of the Graduation Approach, a program that was launched by BRAC, an international NGO based in Bangladesh, and its effect on household consumption and other indicators for ultra-poor households. The pilot is being done across 2400 households in the Sohag and Assiut governorates. 

https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/graduating-ultra-poor-egypt

Source of Funding: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development


Implementing Partner: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Bruno Crepon (Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique),

Mohamed El Komi (American University in Cairo)

July 2016 to June 2020

What is the most effective type of microcredit product that can improve job creation in Upper Egypt? This evaluation is being conducted to assess the impact of offering different types of microcredit on business creation, business growth, and income generation. This evaluation is designed so that research participants are randomly distributed into 4 groups: group 1 receives loans, group 2 receives cash grants, group 3 receives in-kind grants, and group 4 is offered no capital assistance and serves as a comparison group. 

Source of Funding: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development


Implementing Partner: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Bruno Crepon (Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique),

Reham Rizk (British University in Egypt)

July 2016 to June 2020

This study evaluates the impact of offering different types of job training on employment, income generation, and other labor market outcomes. The study addresses questions such as: is vocational training enough to improve employment rates in Upper Egypt? would it be more effective if coupled with on-the-job training and job counseling?  This evaluation is designed so that research participants are randomly distributed into 4 groups: group 1 receives vocational training only; Group 2 receives vocational training and on-the-job training; Group 3 receives vocational training, on-the-job training and job counseling; and group 4 receives no training and serves as the comparison group. 

https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/assessing-impact-job-creation-programs-upper-egypt-job-training

Source of Funding: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development


Implementing Partner: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman  (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Bruno Crepon (Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique)

July 2016 to June 2020

This study randomly informs NGOs that their beneficiaries will be surveyed to provide feedback on their services. The study is looking to measure the outcome of NGO performance based on whether they know that they are being held accountable through beneficiary feedback. 

Source of Funding: Sawiris Foundation for Social Development


Implementing Partner: National Employment Pact/ Shaghalni/ MSMEDA

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman  (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign), Bruno Crepon (Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique), Mona Said (American University in Cairo)

This project aims to improve our understanding of the contribution of job fairs in the labor market behavior of jobseekers, how job fairs can be improved to ensure higher attendance and better job matching, and if information frictions regarding job fairs and the labor market, as well as capital constraints negatively affect the job search behavior and outcomes.  

Source of Funding: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


Implementing Partner: Education for Employment

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Jamin Speer (University of Minnesota)

March 2016 to June 2020

This evaluation studies how to expand employment driven training for underprivileged youth in Egypt. The study answers questions such as: What skills and competencies are required to effectively train youth to meet labor market demands? What skills do youth need for continued career development? What employer and youth perceptions serve as significant obstacles to the employment of underprivileged youth in private companies? Which methods are most effective at recruiting youth for job training programs? The study focuses on the retail, hospitality, and information technology/business process outsourcing sectors. 

Source of Funding: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


Implementing Partner: Education for Employment 

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Jamin Speer (University of Minnesota)

March 2016 to June 2020

This project has four major components: understanding skill demand, supporting the design of effective and efficient employment training program composition, methods for recruiting youth for employment training, and analyzing perceptions. The project will work to link youth with the labor market by training youth on market skills in three main sectors Hospitality, Retail, and IT/BPO.to. It is expected to take about 18 Months and to reach 20,000 youth in the targeted areas. 

Source of Funding: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


Implementing Partner: Education for Employment

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Jamin Speer (University of Minnesota)

March 2016 to June 2020

The project will evaluate sector-specific training programs in the hospitality (including tourism), retail, and information technology/business process outsourcing (IT/BPO) sectors that directly respond to employer needs. The results of this analysis are expected to inform the creation of sector-specific training curricula that are truly employment-driven (i.e. providing the soft and technical skills that are required by employers). 

Source of Funding: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


Implementing Partner: National Employment Pact

Principal Investigators: Adam Osman (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

Abdelrahman Nagy (American University in Cairo)

February 2017 to December 2020

In this paper, we use a series of stated preference methods to estimate willingness to pay for certain job attributes using a sample of unemployed individuals from Egypt. As opposed to revealed preference, stated preference methods directly ask individuals about the value they assign to certain attributes and has been predominantly used in environmental economics to price nonmarket goods. We find that the value assigned by job seekers to most attributes included in the survey are very sensitive to the way their WTP was elicited. 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 


Implementing Partner: World Bank

Principal Investigators: Adam (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign),

David Mckenzie (World Bank), Aminur (World Bank)

May 2019 to December 2020

The main problem we are trying to address is why more firms do not expand their markets by using the new technology of digital advertising. Digital technology enables firms to overcome information and other frictions that prevent firms and customers from connecting across space. However, firms may not adopt this new technology because they lack the knowledge of how to do so, or are uncertain of the returns and consider it risky. We aim to identify which firms can benefit from engaging with and advertising on digital advertising platforms, to explore the reasons why they may not already be doing so, and to test whether input-based versus results-based approaches are most cost-effective for policy. 

Past Events

Strengthening the Egyptian Education System to Better Reach Marginalized Children and Youth: What We Can Learn from Randomized Evaluations Seminar

Date: February 23, 2020

The J-PAL/AUC Initiative for Egypt hosted a seminar on “Strengthening the Egyptian Education System to Better Reach Marginalized Children and Youth: What We Can Learn from Randomized Evaluations”. The event took place as part of the broader Global Evidence for Egypt Spotlight Seminar Series, which brings together Egyptian policymakers and leading J-PAL affiliated researchers to discuss pertinent policy issues in Egypt.

 

Event Seminar Brief

A talk at Assiut University about The importance of policy using scientific evidence

Date: November 11, 2019

Talk by Bruno Crepon at Cairo University about Youth Unemployment in Egypt

Date: October 22, 2019

Overcoming Youth Unemployment in Egypt: What We Can Learn from Randomized Evaluations

Date: October 20, 2019

This seminar is part of a four-part Global Evidence for Egypt Spotlight Series which brings together Egyptian policymakers and leading J-PAL affiliated professors discussing pertinent policy issues in the Egyptian context. In doing so, the J-PAL affiliated researchers focus on the issues that affect children and adolescents in Egypt, ranging from labor to education, health to social protection, from a global research perspective and then offer evidence-informed solutions for tackling these issues in the Egyptian context.

The first Global Evidence for Egypt spotlight seminar focused on the issue of youth unemployment in Egypt. The seminar featured representatives from the Ministry of Manpower; the Ministry of Youth; Hana Yoshimoto, Education Chief at UNICEF; and Bruno Crépon, Affiliated Professor at J-PAL. This seminar shed light on the challenges faced by Egyptian youth in securing employment and drew from the rigorous related global evidence to provide insights into how Egypt can strengthen its labor-focused initiatives to ultimately improve youth unemployment conditions.

How can we design extension programs and create market linkages to boost profits for farmers?

Date: October 3, 2019

Rebecca Toole (Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL; Manager, Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative) showcased learnings from a global evidence base of more than 70 impact evaluations conducted by researchers in the J-PAL network and beyond. This talk grounded this evidence by discussing why conducting rigorous research is key to informing decisions and share how existing insights from rigorous research could be leveraged for decision-making in Egypt. The presentation also highlighted open questions we hope to answer in future work of the J-PAL/AUC Initiative. 

J-PAL Workshop at MSMEDA to Introduce the Graduation Approach

Date: September 24, 2019

J-PAL Workshop at Kheir W Baraka NGO

Date: July 23-24, 2019

Introducing J-PAL at Strategic Gathering of Youth Employment Program Implementers

Date: June 11, 2019

EEIP Dissemination event at the World Bank

Date: December 6, 2018

Understanding what works and what doesn’t in improving wellbeing: Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) for Impact Evaluation - UNICEF

Date: September 26, 2018

STAFF MEMBERS

  • Abdelrahman Nagy, Senior Policy Research Manager (anagy@povertyactionlab.org)

  • Farida El-Gueretly, Policy Manager (fgueretly@povertyactionlab.org)

  • Sarah Wahby, Senior Research Associate

  • Noha Fadl, Senior Research Associate

  • Rahma Ali, Senior Research Associate

  • Engy Saleh, Senior Research Associate

  • Norhan Muhab, Senior Research Associate

  • Ahmed El Sheikh, Senior Research Associate

  • Ola Eltoukhi, Research Associate

  • Eslam Serag, Research Operations Manager

  • Mohamed Yousef, Research Operations Manager

  • Mohamed Omar, Research Operations Manager

  • Mahmoud Hussein, Field Coordinator

  • Mariam George, Field Coordinator

  • Ayman Taha, Field Coordinator

  • Nadeen ElAshmawy, Policy Associate

  • Mohamed Ghandour, Field Coordinator