What do we do?
We create high-quality evidence.
We share evidence strategically.
We equip decision-makers to use evidence.
Our theory of change addresses two problems we see in the world, that there is limited evidence on what works to help the poor, and that the evidence that does exist is often unused by those who create and run programs for the poor. This leads to programs that are either ineffective or not as effective as they could be, and often, to wasted money and enduring poverty.
IPA exists to solve this problem. We test promising ideas across contexts and along the path to scale, proactively engage key decision-makers throughout the research process, share findings with the right people at the right time, and equip partners with the skills and tools they need to co-create and use data and evidence. Our vision? A world with more evidence and less poverty.
1. Creating high-quality evidence
In partnership with world-class researchers and strategic partners, we design and run randomized evaluations to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at helping the poor. We specialize in randomized evaluations because this rigorous methodology allows us to isolate the effects of a program from other factors. Like in medical trials, willing and informed participants are selected at random to different study groups. One or more groups receive a program (the “treatment groups”) and another group serves as the comparison (or “control”) group.
To date, we have conducted over 900 evaluations in 51 countries, becoming a well-known leader in high-quality research implementation. We have an extensive network of more than 600 researchers, vast sector expertise, and a strong local presence with more than 1,000 research staff implementing research on the ground in 22 countries.
But over the years we have realized that what decision-makers need doesn’t end with one study. “What works?” is rarely as straightforward as it seems. Knowing which solutions are effective requires understanding: Where do they work? Under what conditions? Why do they work? How are they being implemented?
At IPA we are strengthening our research to understand whether and how promising ideas work in different geographical or institutional contexts, and at a larger scale.
2. Sharing evidence strategically
IPA also shares evidence with the right people at the right time to inform and influence local and global debates and ultimately improve policies that fight poverty.
Going from simply sharing evidence to doing so strategically requires a strong understanding of the local context and the issues being discussed, deep connections with decision-makers, and a knowledge of the forums where decisions are taken or influenced. IPA continues to build our ability to share evidence strategically by deepening our understanding of the local context and building strong, iterative relationships with the players.
We are growing our strategic evidence sharing by:
- Reaching the right people at the right time, to inform and influence local and global debates
- Linking global bodies of evidence with understanding of local issues
- Articulating clearly and concisely the nuance of a body of evidence (what the evidence does and does not say)
- Leveraging partnerships with others in the evidence ecosystem, including local researchers and institutions, as well as other global evidence partners
- Approaching decision-makers with a clear understanding of the local political economy, the policy and management cycles, and the development partner interests at play
- Using events as anchor moments in building evidence-to-impact opportunities and changing development debates
3. Equipping decision-makers to use evidence
Our ultimate goal is that the evidence we generate is used to improve the lives of the global poor. This means we must move from simple partnerships to an ongoing learning process. At IPA, we work closely with decision-makers to create evidence that helps close the gap between academia and politics throughout the life cycle of a study and beyond. We support our partners in improving their data and evidence capacities and provide technical assistance to scale and monitor effective programs.
Our Right-Fit Evidence Unit provides resources and consulting services to organizations, donors, and governments to support them in designing a learning agenda, collecting the right M&E data, and putting the findings into action. Through our Embedded Labs, we are working side by side with public sector employees to strengthen the use of data and evidence in public policy.