I just finished piloting a survey for the Returns to Business Management Consulting project, and was often in awe of their abilities. A good surveyor can say nice to meet you, shake your hand, and five minutes later have you saying things you wouldn't share with a spouse.When I first started here, I often thought my surveyors knew a respondent from their “schooling days” (as we say in Ghana) – but when asked, their response was invariably, “No, I’ve only just met him.”
There’s been more activity on the question of the importance of RCTs.Last week, Bill Easterly wrote his thoughts about randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on his blog, and Chris Blattman posted a response. Both of them seem to take the perspective that academic research should produce new theory and/or create major policy recommendations.
In early June, I joined several hundred researchers at the First European Research Conference on Microfinance hosted by CERMi.The three-day conference included presentations on a wide array of subjects including social responsibility, institutional governance and performance, and rural and informal microfinance.
How has Michael Jackson's death helped advance the cause of IPA? I've just come back from rural Cusco, Perú, where we were training credit officers for our newest project, where we use video and radio to help teach village bank clients concepts related to financial literacy.
Before joining IPA in 2006, I spent a year abroad in Botswana where I volunteered with several non-profit AIDS organizations. These were all small-scale NGOs serving core needs – palliative care, psychosocial support and rehabilitation services for people living with AIDS, supplemental orphan care, and testing and counseling services. Most of these organizations were operating on shoe-string budgets, relied on volunteer or poorly compensated staff, and were constantly having to shut down operations for lack of funds.
When we return to the US after months or years of working in the field, we often experience "reverse culture shock" - aspects of US culture seem surprising and unusual to us.I felt this when explaining "What is IPA?" to family members and friends, and realized I needed an entirely new approach.