In close partnership with decisionmakers—the policymakers, practitioners, investors, and donors working with the poor around the world—we design and evaluate potential solutions to global poverty problems using randomized evaluations, the most rigorous evaluation method available. We also mobilize and support these decisionmakers to use these solutions to build better programs and policies at scale. Since our founding in 2002, the results of our research have improved the lives of over 50 million people around the world.
In collaboration with over 350 leading academics and implementing organizations, we have results from over 175 completed studies with over 225 in progress around the world. Our studies cover solutions for effective agriculture, education, health, finance, governance, social protection, and post-conflict recovery. We have over 1,000 colleagues in 11 permanent offices supporting 16 countries, where we conduct research and routinely consult with governments, foundations, NGOs, and others to present evidence that can inform their work. For more information, visit www.poverty-action.org.
How we move research to action
In the last ten years, IPA has learned that developing deep local knowledge, expertise in specific sectors, and long term relationships with partners is the best approach to ensuring that evidence is relevant and used by decisionmakers. Policymaking starts with asking the right question so that research studies are filling evidence gaps that are important to policymakers from the beginning. We have learned that this is only possible if decisionmakers are engaged from the start, and stay involved throughout a study. Through the evaluation process, we often see our partners – even those already excited about data-driven decisionmaking – gain a better understanding of the importance and power of having evidence, and growing in their ability to apply it to their work.
It is through an iterative research process then that we are not only able to make progress on filling research and policy gaps, but we are also able to deepen partnerships and our understanding of the political economy of a country. Thus, the more traditional policy work that we do engage in – dissemination events, workshops, trainings, meetings, and policy brief creation – is more likely to lead to evidence being integrated into planning.
Our Rigorous Research Approach
IPA uses randomized evaluations because they provide the highest quality and most reliable answers to what works and what does not. We also repeat studies in different countries to test if findings are really transferable.