Scaling Up What Works

IPA uses randomized evaluations and replication to design and evalute potential solutions to global poverty problems. We then mobilize and support decisionmakers -- the policymakers, practitioners, investors, and donors around the world -- to build better programs and policies at scale. Over the last 10 years, the results of our research have reached over 50 million people around the world.

Our successes

  • IPA Partners change their approach based on study results. In Malawi, IPA researchers found that fingerprinting led to a dramatic increase in repayment among the riskiest borrowers. IPA is now working with the Malawi Reserve Bank to introduce and evaluate the impact of a fingerprint-based credit bureau covering many more borrowers and all Malawian microlenders.
  • NGOs, governments, and corporations use IPA’s evidence to guide program design. The Ghana Ministry of Education is partnering with IPA on the Teacher Community Assistant Initiative (TCAI), an education program that assigns teaching assistants to work in small groups with struggling students. TCAI is based on a similar program developed in India that has been shown, through a randomized evaluation, to improve school performance.
  • IPA influences global debates. Research conducted by IPA and our partners showed that microcredit can be a valuable tool for business owners, but that it does not single-handedly lead all who receive it out of poverty. Our work has led to a shift away from promoting microcredit as a poverty-fighting tool for everyone, and has contributed to a broader discussion about household finance that includes savings and insurance as well as credit.
  • IPA helps create a culture of evidence-based decisionmaking. IPA and our partners at the Jameel Latif Poverty Action Lab at MIT supported the launch of the Quipu Commission in Peru, which convenes several government ministries to identify key research questions the Peruvian government would like to answer and use to design better policies.
  • IPA participates in the scale up of effective programs. An IPA study in Kenya found that installing chlorine dispensers next to community water sources led to a six-fold increase in the percentage of households that treated their water before use. Based on these results, IPA founded the Dispensers for Safe Water program, which in 2013 will reach one million people with access to water dispensers.
  • IPA supports organizations working to bring proven solutions to scale. In 2013, IPA supported the creation of Evidence Action, a new nonprofit dedicated to scaling up proven intervention to improve the lives of the poor.

How does it work?

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