A 2005 randomized controlled trial conducted in Kenya found that girls who were told about the dangers of sugar daddies were 28% less likely to be pregnant at year-end than girls who were simply told to abstain, and girls who received no sexual education beyond that offered in school. Based on this success, Young 1ove worked with a group of partners, including the Government of Botswana, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence, and Evidence Action, to evaluate the idea again through a similar program, No Sugar. This second round of evaluation delivered mixed results and all partners involved in the program made a decision not to scale the No Sugar intervention. Here are our three biggest takeaways from the experience.
What happens when you tell middle-school and teenage girls in Africa about the dangers of sexually engaging with older men who offer them financial favors? Does it affect their choice of sexual partner? A Kenya-based, 2005 randomized controlled trial suggested it might. In 2014, Botswana-based non-profit Young 1ove brought together a group of partners to re-evaluate the idea through a program, “No Sugar,” designed to be scaled-up across Southern Africa. The evaluation yielded mixed results; consequently, the Government of Botswana, Young 1ove, and other partners are not scaling up No Sugar as it was originally designed. Instead, Young 1ove is redesigning the program for further evaluation of impact, before potentially scaling it up in future.