In Kenya we provide free school uniforms to students in grades 6 and 8 in order to eliminate a mandatory cost of education and to encourage retention. Students who stay in school longer are more likely to be exposed to information about HIV prevention, spend less time engaging in risk behavior, and have greater incentive to avoid pregnancy and other threats to education. This project undertakes a rigorous evaluation of program impact on student retention, teen pregnancy, and risk behavior.
By providing school uniforms, we eliminate a substantial and mandatory cost that otherwise deters some students from completing their education, and thus reduce some of the consequences associated with dropping out, e.g. HIV and teen pregnancy.
Removing barriers to education encourages retention, reduces risk behavior and improves later employment opportunities. Preliminary results suggest that even this small investment reduces teen pregnancy rates.