School-based CBT to reduce violence and improve learning in South Africa
The Western Cape Government, in partnership with J-PAL Africa, will pilot an evidence-backed, scalable, school-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program to address pervasive violence in the Western Cape that contributes to high dropout rates and low learning levels. This pilot builds on several evaluations which find that CBT, a therapeutic approach to improving a wide range of harmful beliefs and behaviors, can reduce violence and improve learning outcomes and reduce dropout rates when implemented in schools. At the request of the Western Cape government, J-PAL Africa will provide technical support during the needs assessment and design stage to ensure the program effectively incorporates global evidence on CBT interventions while taking into account local considerations. In addition, J-PAL Africa will support process monitoring during the pilot period, which will provide not only critical information to inform a future scale up by the government but will also contribute to disentangling the mechanisms behind CBT’s effectiveness.