News and Announcements

  • IPA's cash transfer work in New York Times Fixes column

    Aug 29/13 | From the newsroom | 

    New York Times

    The New York Times Fixes column discusses cash transfer research, including quotes from IPA's Director of Research Methods and Training, Niall Keleher, and IPA affiliate Chris Blattman who discusses his work with IPA in Uganda (here and here). The article also discusses our evaluation of GiveDirectly, and our new results from Morocco. You can also find a blog post about recent cash transfer coverage here.

  • Innovations for Poverty Action Announces Launch of Evidence Action to Bring Evidence-Based Solutions to Scale

    Aug 23/13 | Announcement | 
    For Immediate Release
     
    NEW HAVEN, CT – Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new organization created with IPA’s support and dedicated to taking cost-effective programs to scale to improve the lives of millions in Africa and Asia. Evidence Action has been created to bridge the gap between evidence about what works to alleviate poverty around the world and what is actually implemented. The organization scales interventions based on rigorous evidence and crafts resilient business models for long run success.
     
    Two IPA initiatives that touch millions of people in Africa and Asia – Dispensers for Safe Water and the Deworm the World Initiative – will spin off from IPA to be managed by Evidence Action. Dispensers for Safe Water is an entrepreneurial program scaling the chlorine dispenser system. This innovation is based on research that showed that installing chlorine dispensers next to community water sources made treating water easy, which increased usage of chlorine six-fold, providing a very low-cost strategy to get millions of people drinking safe water.  This year the program will reach over one million people in Africa. The Deworm the World Initiative actively supports the scale-up of school-based deworming programs worldwide to free children of intestinal worms. Not only has this been shown to be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve attendance in school, children in school-based deworming programs also have higher incomes a decade later. The Deworm the World Initiative has reached more than 40 million children by partnering with governments to support their work, ensuring integration with other health and education initiatives and long-run financial sustainability for school-based deworming programs.
     
    While IPA will continue to operate and provide support for both of these programs throughout the transition period, the management and strategic planning of this work are transitioning to Evidence Action. Both organizations will continue to work closely together after the transition is complete.
     
    “The launch and success of Evidence Action is central to IPA's overall strategic vision,” said Annie Duflo, Executive Director of IPA. “IPA’s vision is that evidence of what works translates to large-scale impact in practice. The creation of Evidence Action provides an exciting new path to take demonstrated ideas to the next stage of expansion, while allowing IPA to focus on designing and evaluating innovative solutions, and on mobilizing and supporting other organizations to use and apply this knowledge.”
     
    “We are excited about the impact our collaboration will have on poverty alleviation around the world.”  Alix Zwane, Evidence Action’s new Executive Director who joined from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, adds: “The vision for Evidence Action is to take evidence-based interventions to scale. We identify innovative, appropriate financing mechanisms and build best practice operational models to cost-effectively impact millions of people.” Evidence Action will also benefit IPA's research by sharing lessons learned that can help research projects anticipate and plan for scale from the start.
     
    For more information on the new collaboration click here.
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    About Innovations for Poverty Action
     
    Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is dedicated to discovering what works to help the world’s poor. Established in 2002, IPA designs and evaluates programs in real contexts with real people, and provides hands-on assistance to bring successful programs to scale. IPA partners with researchers in top universities and implementing organizations around the world to ensure that poverty-fighting activities are supported by rigorous evaluation. IPA shares the evidence generated with development practitioners, policymakers and donors, and provides technical assistance and support to governments and non-governmental actors to implement successful programs and bring them to scale around the world. IPA has ongoing research operations in 51 countries across Africa; North and South America; and South and South East Asia. Additional information can be found at www.poverty-action.org.
     
    About Evidence Action
     
    Evidence Action scales proven development interventions and crafts resilient business models for long run success. Evidence Action is committed to only scale interventions whose efficacy is backed by substantial rigorous evidence, and to target cost-effective interventions that can potentially improve the lives of millions. IPA has supported the creation of Evidence Action, and the two organizations will continue to work together closely to ensure that rigorous evidence is used in the most effective way to impact the lives of the vulnerable around the world. Additional information can be found at www.evidenceaction.org.
     
     
    Contact: Jeffrey Mosenkis
    Innovations for Poverty Action
  • IPA and 3ie launch new programme: From violence to resistance

    Aug 21/13 | From the newsroom | 

    3ie and IPA are pleased to announce a research and grant-making programme designed to increase the evidence base on transforming conflict-affected regions into stable settings.

    Together 3ie and IPA are fundraising for this groundbreaking programme. The goal is to support over 14 new evaluations, thereby significantly increasing the available evidence on programmes aimed at reducing violence around the world. The broader programme will include an international evidence review, technical guidance notes related to research in conflict affected settings and dissemination activities to share newly generated evidence with key policy makers.

    Please contact Kelly Bidwell or Annette Brown if you would like to support this programme or learn more. 

  • Cash Transfers in Morocco in The Atlantic

    Aug 20/13 | From the newsroom | 
    The Atlantic summarizes the results of our study on cash transfers in Morocco.
  • GiveDirectly and Chris Blattman in New York Times and This American Life

    Aug 19/13 | From the newsroom | 
     
    Our affiliate Chris Blattman is quoted on cash transfers in a New York Times Magzine article and on NPR's This American Life discussing our evaluation of GiveDirectly (results should be released in the coming months). He also has an interesting new blog post on the topic.
     
    Read the project summaries for our two recent cash transfer projects in Uganda here and here
  • IPA’s US Household Finance Initiative Announces New Request for Proposals for Innovative New Financial Products

    Aug 12/13 | Announcement | 

    GRANT AWARDS TO PROMOTE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS SERVING LOW AND MODERATE-INCOME AMERICANS

    New Haven, August 12, 2013 – Innovations for Poverty Action’s US Household Finance Initiative (USHFI) is pleased to present a unique Request for Proposals (RFP) designed to encourage financial service providers of all types and sizes to develop and market test new ideas in financial products and product features to help low and moderate-income populations pay down debt, build assets, and increase financial resilience.
     
    USHFI released the new Request for Proposals on Friday for its Financial Products Innovation Fund.  This Fund was created as a joint effort between IPA’s US Household Finance Initiative and the Ford Foundation to support the development of scalable, market-tested products that help households make better financial decisions, escape cycles of debt, build assets and achieve financial resiliency.
     
    The second round of the Fund will rigorously evaluate two of the most promising innovations from the first round of the Fund, and will also fund four new pilots. The new grants of $15,000 will provide catalyst funding to implementing financial institutions and financial service providers for year-long pilots of innovative products.
     
    From 2011 to 2013 the Fund supported seven pilots of innovative behaviorally-informed financial products with partners ranging from credit unions to for-profit financial institutions to non-profit financial counseling agencies. Product innovations included a credit card designed to reduce consumer’s reliance on credit cards, and savings accounts that allow underbanked check cashing clients to seamlessly make savings deposits when cashing their checks. Full descriptions of all seven projects can be found on the Fund’s website: https://poverty-action.org/ushouseholdfinance/fordpilots
     
    “This second round of the Financial Products Innovation Fund will build on what we learned from the first set of pilots. We also look forward to bringing in new ideas from new financial service partners and new researchers," said Jonathan Zinman, professor of economics at Dartmouth College and Scientific Director of IPA’s US Household Finance Initiative. 
     
    Financial Products Innovation Fund II invites financial institutions small and large, online and brick-and-mortar, for-profit and not-for-profit to contact us about potential product innovations. The RFP provides details on ideas USHFI is already excited about testing, but the Fund also welcomes new ideas that practitioners can then refine with behavioral economists from USHFI’s research network. The proposal development process is collaborative with USHFI research network members so proposals may start with a simple expression of interest, to USHFI Project Coordinator, Julia Brown, jbrown@poverty-action.org.
     
    Complete applications are due October 14, 2013, and an informational webinar on September 10, 2013 will provide more detail to potential applicants. Grantees will be notified of award in November 2013 and awards will be made in December 2013.
     
    The Financial Products Innovation Fund and IPA’s US Household Finance Initiative are supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. Please consult the full RFP, and for more information about IPA’s US Household Finance Initiative, go to www.poverty-action.org/ushouseholdfinance.
     
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    About Innovations for Poverty Action

    Innovations for Poverty Action is a nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering what works to help the world’s poor. The organization designs and evaluates programs in real contexts with real people, and provides hands-on assistance to bring successful programs to scale. For more information, visit www.poverty-action.org or email contact@poverty-action.org.
  • The Global Citizens Initiative Interviews Annie Duflo

    Aug 01/13 | From the newsroom | 

    The Global Citizens Initiative interviews Executive Director Annie Duflo.

  • FT on Cash Transfers in Northern Uganda

    Jul 16/13 | From the newsroom | 
     
    The Financial Times's Tim Harford discusses direct cash transfers and our study on the topic in Northern Uganda. See more coverage of that project here
  • Annie Duflo in Development Asia

    Jul 16/13 | From the newsroom | 
     
    Development Asia has a profile (pdf) of our Executive Director, Annie Duflo. Among other topics, they discuss her involvement in our Remedial Education program in Ghana
  • Credit Scoring for SME Firms

    An impediment to accessing finance in a developing economy, in general, and in the Philippines, in particular, is the absence of robust data and credit bureaus that will allow the development of a sophisticated model for determining credit scores based on past borrowing history. There is a need to devise a creative but sound credit scoring model that will tailor inputs to include easily verified information and data relevant to the specific context. The SME Initiative, along with the Development Bank of the Philippines, is evaluating a new a credit scoring system that attempts to improve upon current credit scoring models. Read more about that study here

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