Despite the availability of new agricultural technologies, which may increase yields and household income, few farmers in the Sahel region are using improved seeds and fertilizers. In Burkina Faso, researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to measure the impact of social network targeting on the introduction of micro-dosing– a technique that applied small amounts of fertilizer at the time of planting improved seeds.

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Understanding the level of vaccine acceptance is crucial for the design and implementation of public health campaigns to achieve mass vaccination against COVID-19. Phone surveys have been the most frequent way to collect this information, yet they pose measurement challenges that could bias the results.

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Nutrition-Focused Livelihoods Program

Almost half of all deaths of children under five years of age are attributable to malnutrition, and despite the decline in numbers, progress continues to be very slow. In Burkina Faso researchers evaluated whether a nutrition-focused livelihoods program consisting of a cash transfer, productive asset, and nutrition intervention can impact child nutrition, household income, and assets.

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A patient receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria

As COVID-19 vaccination ramps up worldwide, understanding factors that may lead people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to reject COVID-19 vaccination is of global concern, as lags in vaccination could facilitate global spread of virus variants. Researchers surveyed nearly 45,000 individuals in 10 LMICs, the United States, and Russia between June 2020 and January 2021on vaccine acceptance and trusted sources for vaccination advice.

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Burkina Faso has a strong history of peaceful coexistence among ethnic and religious groups, but in recent years has seen a rise of organized violence by Islamic extremists and a fracturing of social cohesion, particularly in rural areas. This pilot study assesses the effectiveness of a school-based peace and dialogue curriculum to strengthen social trust, resolve disputes non-violently, discourage radicalization, and rebuild communal norms of tolerance among youth.

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Rainfall index insurance can help small-holder farmers cope with risks to their livelihoods, but take-up of this insurance is often low.

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Households living in extreme poverty face a wide range of challenges that limit their ability to make productive investments or cope with unpredictable shocks such as droughts or disease. Productive inclusion programs combine cash transfers with trainings and other support to increase household earnings while also helping households withstand and recover from shocks.

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In Burkina Faso, as in many sub-Saharan countries, farmers struggle with low crop yields. Most established techniques to increase agricultural productivity rely on the use of technologies like fertilizer, but these inputs are expensive and inaccessible to many farmers in the region.

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Rainfall insurance is a potentially cost-effective way to protect farmers in low-income countries from adverse weather events, but its adoption has been low. Marketing rainfall insurance to farmers’ urban relatives, who often help support their rural family members, may increase its use. Researchers partnered with micro-insurance organization Planet Guarantee to study the demand for a rainfall insurance product marketed to urban relatives of farmers in Burkina Faso.

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Democratic elections are seen as a way of improving government accountability, but the means through which elections affect officials’ behavior is poorly understood, particularly in local elections where inter-party competition is rare. Researchers in Burkina Faso staged a community decision-making scenario with real financial stakes to understand how elections effect public embezzlement, social norms and trust in officials.

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Mass media reaches a large and growing share of the population in developing countries, but can it be used to tackle poverty and change behaviors?

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Farmers in Burkina Faso are selling more of their crops and taking on non-agricultural work

The agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has been changing in recent years, with more farmers living near urban areas, selling more of their crops for income, and also engaging in more off-farm work and non-agricultural activities to supplement farm revenue. However, little evidence exists thus far on how these trends are affecting nutrition, especially that of the most vulnerable members of farming families—women and children.

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In theory, local government meetings provide important opportunities for citizens to be directly involved in decisions about important services that affect their daily lives. In practice, citizens can be disengaged from local governments, either because they are uninformed or because they do not believe their involvement is welcome or effective.

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Democratic accountability relies on performance-based voting, in which citizens vote based on candidates’ expected or previous performance. Yet, if citizens do not have this information, they cannot use it to inform their vote choices.

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Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially those in the Sahel region, face a wide range of risks to their welfare and livelihoods, such as drought, price fluctuations, and family illness. This study in Burkina Faso and Senegal evaluated the impact of weather insurance and three savings devices on a variety of investment and welfare outcomes, and tested if demand for the products differed among men and women.

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