Effect of Cash Transfer on School Dropout Rates using Longitudinal Data Modelling: A Randomized Trial of Research Initiative to Support the Empowerment of girls (RISE) in Zambia

Mutale Sampa1, Choolwe Jacobs1, Patrick Musonda1, 2, *
1 School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
2 Centre for Intervention Science in Maternal and Child health (CISMAC), Centre for International Health (CIH), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

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© 2018 Sampa et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia; E-mail:



School dropout rates, as well as early marriages and pregnancies, are high among adolescent girls in rural Zambia. In the quest to fight this, the Research Initiative to Support the Empowerment of girls (RISE) trial has been providing cash transfers and community dialogues to adolescent girls in rural Zambia. The overall goal of the study was to establish the effects of cash transfers on adolescent girls’ school dropout rates in selected provinces of Zambia.


The study was nested in the RISE trial which is a cluster randomized trial conducted in Central and Southern provinces of Zambia. A total of 3500 adolescent girls were included in the study. Random intercepts model was used to model the individual effects estimates, taking account of the dependency that was likely to occur due to the repeated measurements and clustering in the study.


Girls who were married or cohabiting and girls who had given birth, were significantly less likely to be in school (OR=0.004, 95% CI {0.001-0.02}, p-value=<0.0001) and (OR=0.003, 95% CI {0.02-0.04}, p-value=<0.0001) respectively. Consistently receiving cash transfers increased the chance of a girl being in school (OR=8.51, 95% CI {4.50-16.08}, p-value=<0.0001). There was an indication that the combined intervention arm had a reduced chance of girls being in school, however, we could not rule out chance finding (OR=0.89, 95% CI {0.59-1.36}, p=0.606).


The study found that marriage or cohabiting and giving birth whilst in school reduce the chances of the girl continuing schooling. No significant association could be attributed to the type of intervention, However, consistent receipt of cash transfers was shown to be a protective factor of school dropout rates in the study.

Keywords: Cash transfer, Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial, Longitudinal, Adolescent girls, RISE, Zambia.