Tele-mentoring and tele-counseling for mothers and children to address Covid learning loss

Lead researchers:

Prof. Asad Islam, Monash University

Assc prof Liang Choon Wang, Monash University

Partners: World Bank

Timeline: February 2023 to March 2024

Status: Ongoing

Method: Quantitative

The overview of the project:

There are some recent studies that relied on using basic-feature phones to deliver interventions (e.g., Angrist et al., 2022; Hassan et al., 2021; and Vlassopoulos et al., 2021). Angrist et al. (2022) and Hassan et al. (2021) examine educational support to parents and their primary-aged children in Botswana and rural Bangladesh, respectively, whereas Vlassopoulos et al. (2021) examine over-the-phone mental health counseling intervention to women in rural Bangladesh.

The proposed interventions build on the studies on tele-mentoring for primary-school-aged children (Hassan et al., 2021) and tele-counseling for women’s mental-health intervention (Vlassopoulos et al., 2021), but differ from these and other recent studies in several important ways. First, unlike our proposed interventions, these recent studies did not cross-cut the measure that targets mother’s mental and financial well-beings and the measure that targets child’s education and development. Given that children’s education and development outcomes are jointly determined by parental characteristics and input, child’s characteristics and input, early home environment, and schooling input, it is important to jointly examine these interventions. This can help better detect synergetic effects and provide more cost-effective interventions.

Second, our target population is different. We focus on children in early childhood ages, who more heavily rely on their mothers and who have been most affected due to the pandemic, while these past studies focus on children of primary school ages during school closures. Indeed, none of these studies considered children of this early age group who were most vulnerable during Covid19 lockdown and school closures. Finally, our proposed interventions will be implemented over a period of 6 months, which is twice as long as that in Hassan et al. (2021) and Vlassopoulos et al. (2021). This will allow us to collect more data and provide better evaluation of whether the interventions have longer impact duration.