EDRI Working Paper 007: Environmental Resource Collection versus Children’s Schooling: Evidence from Tigray, Northern Ethiopia


Previous studies in Ethiopia treat child labour and schooling in a broader sense without much attention to the kind of labor they are engaged in. This paper distinctively examines the adverse effect of natural resources scarcity on children’s schooling and the possible gender bias against girls’ schooling due to resource collection work. It uses a cross sectional data of 316 children aging 7 to 18 years collected from 120 rural households of Enderta and Hintalo Wajerat woredas in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. The two-stage conditional maximum likelihood (2SCML) estimation technique is employed to take care of endogeneity between schooling and collection intensity decisions. The results revealed that a 50 percent increase in collection intensity reduces the likelihood of child schooling by approximately 12 percent. Even though girls more often participate on resource gathering tasks, we find no evidence of gender based difference against girls’ schooling due to resource collection intensity. Timely collection of fodder resources from cultivated land—soon enough so amount and quality will not deteriorate, planting fodder-rich tree species, promoting labor sharing arrangements, and maintenance of the non-operating constructed water sources can reduce the time spent on environmental resources collection and improve the likelihood of schooling.