Impact of Skills Development Initiatives for Adolescents on Climate-adaptive Livelihoods in South-Western Bangladesh

To promote some agricultural technologies among the adolescents so that they can develop their skills and engage in income generating-activities (IGAs), BRAC undertook a project titled “Skills Development Initiatives for Adolescents (SDIA) on Climate-adaptive Livelihoods” in two districts of South-western Bangladesh. Evaluating the effectiveness of this initiative, we found that it is beneficial to continue the training program for increasing knowledge and develop skills on climate-adaptive agricultural technologies among adolescents, especially girls. If BRAC monitors and supervises participant adolescents’ activities at regular intervals, provides necessary start-up capital, sensitizes parents of the adolescents and their local elites, and ensures coordinated cooperation from its various divisions, the effectiveness of this program will increase.

Researchers: Dr Mohammad Abdul Malek; Md. Hasib Reza; Md. Sajedur Rahman; Tanvir Shatil

Partners: BRAC

Timeline: 2017

Status: Completed

Contact: Tanvir Shatil;



Under the “Skills Development Initiatives for Adolescents (SDIA) on Climate-adaptive Livelihoods” pilot project initiated in two districts of South-western Bangladesh, BRAC trained 100 adolescent members from various BRAC adolescent clubs on three agricultural technologies. These include fish feed production (FF), compost fertiliser preparation (CF), and orange-fleshed sweet potato cultivation (OFSP). We evaluated the impact and effectiveness of this project in promoting climate-adaptive technologies among adolescents.

This study is relevant to SDG 4 (Quality Education), particularly to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Research Questions

Through our study, we aimed to answer the following four research questions:

  • What are adolescents’ perceptions of training and technologies?
  • What is the impact of skills development training on knowledge, entrepreneurial attitude, and future aspiration and practice in relation to specific IGAs for the adolescents?
  • Are the adolescents able to initiate some IGAs and make some additional income for the households?
  • How participation in the intervention changes adolescents’ intra-household decision-making power?


In this study, adopting “concurrent procedure,” we followed quantitative-driven mixed-methods. The quantitative method evaluated the impact of the project by estimating the counterfactuals. To estimate the counterfactuals we used clustered randomized control trial (RCT). Clustering at club level was followed to avoid potential contamination. On the other hand, case study and livelihood trajectory methods were followed to qualitatively explore the context and process of the impacts. Using questionnaired interviews, we collected both pre- and post-intervention quantitative data. Respondents were selected purposively following the maximum variation sampling technique.

Findings and Recommendations

Our findings suggest that the training program significantly increased participant adolescents’ knowledge of climate-adaptive technology by around 47 per cent. In addition, due to the intervention, participant adolescents spent less time in a week for leisure activities and devoted more time engaging in IGAs. A significant impact was observed in terms of the participation rate in IGAs using climate-adaptive technologies; around 17 per cent of training participants had already started using climate-adaptive technologies by applying their recently gained skills. However, the impact estimates did not show any significant evidence on income generation within this two-month-long post-intervention period. Moreover, we could not find any significant impact on changing entrepreneurial ability and aspiration of the participant adolescents.

Meanwhile, in our survey, participants expressed their confidence and satisfaction with the training. Most of the adolescents found the session intensive and full of practical demonstrations. In addition, positive changes were observed in adolescents’ attitude, ability to develop and implement realistic future plans. Adolescents were observed to think more and work hard to explore potential ways of applying their newly gained skills and knowledge, mostly in the sphere of the respective household’s farming activities.

Participation in the training highly encouraged the girls to be engaged in agricultural activities and contribute to their household income. They opined that this training had opened up a “window of opportunity” to bolster the self-development process. Family involvement and local market were found to play an important deterministic role in the process of adolescents’ participation in IGAs.