Identifying eligible beneficiaries for social programs, a process known as targeting, can be a challenging and costly process for development and humanitarian organizations. Many widely-used targeting strategies were developed for rural environments and may not work as well in dynamic and densely populated urban centers. One potential new technique is “decentralized targeting,” a process that relies on information from socially knowledgeable members of a community.

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When small or informal firms are invisible or inaccessible to large buyers, including governments, these firms cannot grow and reach their full potential.  Innovations for Poverty Action is working with researchers to evaluate whether a bid training provided by Building Markets that intends to teach businesses how to find, apply for, and win larger contracts can help small businesses grow.

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For new democracies and societies emerging from conflict, effective systems of dispute resolution are essential to maintaining a lasting peace and preventing violence. In Liberia, researchers examined the impact of introducing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) trainings on the rate at which community members resolved property disputes, the level of satisfaction with the resolution, and the incidence of violence related to the disputes.

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Addressing high rates of gender-based violence experienced by girls is a policy goal in many developing countries, in particular in post-conflict settings such as Liberia where evidence suggests women commonly experience physical and/or sexual violence. This study in Nimba County, Liberia will evaluate the impact of a girls’ empowerment program for young adolescent girls and their caregivers on sexual violence and reproductive health outcomes.

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Without special attention to creating economic opportunities for ex-combatants, they may be more likely to join rebellious groups, commit crime, and otherwise threaten political stability. In Liberia, researchers tested the effect of an intensive agricultural training program on employment activities, income, and socio-political integration. The program increased participants’ employment in agriculture and average wealth and decreased the amount of time they spent in illicit activities.

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Young men in Liberia

In many fragile states, poor young men with limited economic opportunities drive high rates of crime and violence, and are easily mobilized into destructive activities such as rioting and rebellion.

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To foster economic productivity and stability in post-conflict countries, many development organizations have created economic programs and psychosocial programs aimed at vulnerable youth. In Liberia, Innovations for Poverty Action worked with researchers to evaluate the impacts of a cash-for-work program and a psychosocial support program on the behavior and labor outcomes of young people.

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As girls pass through adolescence, a number of factors influence whether they complete secondary school, avoid teenage pregnancy, and develop the life skills, attitudes, behaviors and relationships that will set them on a path to a healthy and productive adulthood. This evaluation investigates whether being part of a mentorship and life skills program, “Sisters of Success,” during early adolescence improves outcomes for girls in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia.

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Many post-conflict countries suffer from high rates of crime, violence, and unrest. Early warning systems, if viable, would help police and peacekeepers anticipate violence before it happens. But is it possible to predict where violence will occur? In response to this question, researchers built a statistical model based on data IPA gathered over four years in the most conflict-prone areas of Liberia.

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