IPA Ghana Signs MOU with the Ghana Education Service

On February 27, IPA Ghana signed an MOU with the Ghana Education Service (GES), the government division responsible for Ghana’s pre-tertiary education (pre-primary, primary, and secondary schooling).

Through this MOU, GES and IPA aim to:

  • Be thought partners in developing rigorous evaluations of proposed education programs within the next five years;
  • Provide credible empirical evidence from research programs to inform policy decisions;
  • Integrate evidence from targeted instruction into literacy and numeracy instruction at the early grade levels; and
  • Collaborate on capacity building of GES staff in research and evaluation processes.

GES and IPA have already collaborated with researchers on several studies in Ghanaian education. For example, researchers in this study are assessing the impact of an affordable, in-service kindergarten teacher training, and in this study, researchers are investigating how to make teacher training most effective by evaluating a mentoring and pre-service training program for student teachers.

In addition to these—and future—impact evaluations, IPA agrees to share existing rigorous evidence, participate in GES’ evaluation boards and research groups, and conduct training activities for GES staff, in order to promote a culture of evidence-based decision making at the GES.

MineduLAB Launches Third Innovation Window

MineduLAB has launched its Third Innovation Window, a call for proposals to identify low-cost innovations that can be evaluated using experimental methods and administrative data from the Ministry of Education of Peru (Minedu). Application materials should be submitted by May 31, 2017.

MineduLAB announces its Third Innovation Window

MineduLAB has launched its Third Innovation Window, a call for proposals to identify low-cost innovations that can be evaluated using experimental methods and administrative data from the Ministry of Education of Peru (Minedu). Researchers, practitioners and Minedu units have until May 31, 2017 to submit.


A laboratory of cost-effective innovations for educational policy, MineduLAB is a tool implemented by the Office of Strategic Monitoring and Evaluation (OSEE), which works to identify low-cost innovations in educational policy that can be piloted and evaluated using existing administrative data. MineduLAB was created in 2014 and received technical assistance from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) during its design and initial implementation. So far, MineduLAB has developed nine innovations. Three of Minedulab’s completed and evaluated innovations have had favorable results.

Innovation proposals must comply with the following requirements:

  • Addresses one or more important problem in the education sector
  • Is inexpensive and has a potentially high impact
  • Can be evaluated using existing administrative data
  • Can be evaluated using experimental methods
  • Does not interfere with ongoing education policy

Selected proposals will initiate the MineduLAB’s innovation cycle, moving first into a design phase in which researchers and Minedu will coordinate the final design of the innovation and its evaluation. Once the design is ready, the Minedu unit involved will be responsible for the implementation of the innovation. Finally, when the implementation ends and the necessary administrative data is available, researchers will evaluate the impact of the innovation.

For more details on how to participate in the Third Window of Innovation of MineduLAB, see the guidelines for the call for proposals. For more information on how MineduLAB works, see the MineduLAB website. We recommend that at least one applicant from each proposal have either an intermediate or advanced level of Spanish.

MineduLAB Lanza Tercera Ventana de Innovación

MineduLAB ha lanzado su Tercera Ventana de Innovación para identificar innovaciones de bajo costo que puedan ser evaluadas mediante métodos experimentales usando data administrativa del Ministerio de Educación (Minedu). La fecha límite para presentar las propuestas es el 31 de mayo del 2017.

MineduLAB anuncia su Tercera Ventana de Innovación

El laboratorio de innovación costo-efectiva de la política educativa – MineduLAB ha lanzado su Tercera Ventana de Innovación, un llamado a propuestas para identificar innovaciones de bajo costo que puedan ser evaluadas mediante métodos experimentales usando data administrativa del Ministerio de Educación (Minedu). A través de la Tercera Ventana de Innovación, investigadores, practicioners y oficinas del Ministerio de Educación del Perú pueden presentar sus propuestas de innovación hasta el 31 de mayo del 2017.

¿Qué es el MineduLAB?

El laboratorio de innovación costo-efectiva de la política educativa - MineduLAB es una herramienta implementada por la Oficina de Seguimiento y Evaluación Estratégica (OSEE) que trabaja en la identificación de innovaciones de bajo costo en la política educativa que pueden ser piloteadas y evaluadas haciendo uso de datos administrativos existentes. El MineduLAB fue creado en el 2014 y recibió asistencia técnica del Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) y de Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) durante su diseño y lanzamiento. Actualmente, MineduLAB cuenta con nueve innovaciones costo-efectivas en curso. Tres innovaciones finalizadas y evaluadas por MineduLAB ya cuentan con resultados favorables.

Las propuestas de innovación presentadas deben cumplir con los siguientes requisitos:

  • Atiende uno o más problemas prioritarios del sector educación
  • Es de bajo costo y cuenta con un impacto potencialmente alto
  • Es evaluada con data administrativa existente
  • Es evaluada mediante métodos experimentales
  • No interfiere con la política educativa en curso

Las propuestas que sean seleccionadas iniciarán el ciclo de innovación que es gestionado por MineduLAB. Una vez seleccionadas, las innovaciones pasarán a la fase de diseño en la cual el equipo de investigadores y el Minedu coordinarán la elaboración del diseño final de la innovación y su evaluación. Una vez listo el diseño, el área del Minedu involucrada se encargará de la implementación de la innovación. Por último, cuando la implementación termine y se cuente con la data administrativa necesaria, se procederá a evaluar el impacto de la innovación.

Para mayores detalles sobre cómo participar en la Tercera Ventana de Innovación del MineduLAB pueden revisar las bases de la llamada a propuestas. Para más información sobre cómo funciona MineduLAB y las innovaciones pueden revisar el sitio web de MineduLAB.

New Behavioral Evidence Hub puts powerful solutions in the hands of the world’s problem-solvers

BHub logo.jpg


A group of leading organizations from the behavioral science community today launched the Behavioral Evidence Hub, a comprehensive resource that brings together some of the world’s most promising innovative solutions into a single tool, putting them within easy reach of all those working to solve a wide range of intractable problems affecting the wellbeing and livelihood of people around the world.

The website, BHub.org, includes evidence-based initiatives that offer deep insight into tough problems negatively impacting people in the U.S. and globally – from staying in college and increasing savings rates to improving medication adherence and vaccination uptake. The site also features solutions and implementation guidelines for practitioners interested in using the insights and innovations in their own work.

Backed by leading experts, the solutions featured on the B-Hub are focused on applying behavioral science for social good. The goal of the new site is to bridge the gap between promising academic research and large-scale deployment of behaviorally-informed solutions in products, systems and programs. 

With the launch of the B-Hub, practitioners can now easily access potential new solutions across a wide range of problem domains including health, education, criminal justice, environmental conservation, and financial inclusion. 

The B-Hub’s easy-to-use format enables users to discover insights by problem domain, geography or solution format. Users can browse through the curated database of content, focus on specific insights that might be applicable to their own work, or run their existing programs through a checklist to determine how behaviorally optimized it is. 

The site is open-source and supported by contributions from the researchers and organizations producing the innovations and solutions. It was built by a community of experts including ideas42, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania (CHIBE). Ongoing content development is supported by a growing network of contributors including the Behavioral Insights Group at the Harvard Kennedy School, the OECD, and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. The site is made possible in part by support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others.

In a joint statement, the founding organizations ideas42, IPA, and CHIBE said, “The path to expansive social impact through applied behavioral science is now clearer than ever. The B-Hub is an invaluable tool for researchers, government experts and other practitioners engaged in finding solutions to tough problems. This platform provides insights that can help drive change more effectively – and often at low cost. The B-Hub was created with the core mission of centralizing knowledge, increasing social impact, and tracking the growth of applied behavioral interventions around the world. It’s easy to use, contains effective solutions, and we hope it becomes a go-to resource for problem-solvers everywhere.”

Visit BHub.org for more information. 

Leading image: 
BHub logo.jpg

Savings Groups Lead to Increased Financial Inclusion and Women’s Empowerment, New Three-Country Study Finds

New Haven, CT May 8 - Savings groups popular in rural areas of developing countries – in which people pool money for saving and borrowing – empower women, increase business investment, and provide greater access to financial services, according to a new three-country study released in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted in Ghana, Uganda, and Malawi, tracked households for two to three years, with 61 percent of participants completing a full 8-12 month savings cycle. The study found that access to village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) increased the number of businesses households operated by six percent. It also boosted the length of time those businesses lasted by nine percent, and increased monthly business profits by 24 percent, but did not increase total household income or food security. Longer term tracking of participants may help learn whether impacts sustains and grows, or dissipates.

VSLAs are a popular tool to encourage financial inclusion and empowerment, often in the poorest and more rural communities. Their growth has been spurred on by NGOs, particularly CARE, which pioneered the concept in Niger in 1991. They are estimated to have reached over 12 million people in 70 countries. VSLA members, typically women, pool their money together and make small weekly deposits into a common fund. Members can also request loans from the common fund when necessary, which they pay back with interest, thus allowing the group’s deposits to earn a return. After an 8-12 cycle, the group savings are shared proportional to each member’s contribution, and often a new cycle begins. 

Researchers Dean Karlan and Christopher Udry from Yale University, Bram Thuysbaert of Belgium’s Ghent University, and Beniamino Savonitto, formerly of the research and policy non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) worked with the IPA’s research staff to evaluate the impact of VSLAs on thousands of households in the three countries. 

“What we’re seeing is that that the poor can and do save for themselves when given the right opportunity, and this has positive effects elsewhere in their lives,” said study co-author Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics at Yale University. “We see savings and business income increase, but importantly there is also a boost in women’s empowerment. As women get more access to these groups, their say in household decisions also increases,” Karlan added.

Using a randomized evaluation, the researchers worked with CARE and 13 other non-governmental organizations to start VSLAs and facilitate their spread. They tracked over 12,000 households in 561 communities for two to three years. At the end of that time, households in villages where the VSLAs had been offered had higher savings, took out more loans, and had more profitable businesses, but this did not translate into changes in how much food families had to eat or their overall earnings during the period studied.

The researchers caution that in this relatively short timeframe, they do not yet see the impacts on households' financial well-being that would make VSLAs a top anti-poverty investment. But Christian Pennotti of CARE is optimistic. “These studies clearly illustrate the impact VSLAs can have on women’s economic empowerment. We are confident that the promising short-term outcomes reflected here are indicative of significant potential for long-term impacts on resilience, household income, food and nutrition security and women’s overall position within their households and communities.”

While the idea of group savings dates back centuries and is local to many regions, having a trained agent start the group facilitates its success, and offering the ability to borrow in the short term gives households an additional financial option when the need arises. “These are remote areas, where financial institutions typically have not reached,” said Udry, the Henry J Heinz ll Professor of Economics at Yale. “We now know that with just a little bit of training to start these groups, people in poor communities can become their own bankers, and women can gain more power in their households. We hope that with longer term data we can learn if these effects grow bigger or shrink over time, as this would be helpful for donors and organizations to know.”

The full paper is available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/12/3079.abstract

And a plain language summary is available at: http://www.poverty-action.org/study/evaluating-village-savings-and-loan-associations-ghana

Additional Fact:

  • Members of VSLA groups typically met weekly to make deposits with medians of $0.66 to $0.84 USD in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP – the equivalent of what that amount would purchase in the U.S.)
  • The median savings share outs (pooled funds distributed) was US $38.50 PPP, and at the time of the final survey, respondents who had joined a group had been members for a median of 14 months.
  • Members reported using the funds for agricultural investments, food, and education costs.
  • 68 percent of members reported taking at least one loan, with the median value of $19.70.
  • Members of VSLAs often go on to train other communities in how to operate them, making the program self-propagating.
  • Savings groups in the study were typically majority or completely comprised of women. In Uganda, 65 percent were women, in Malawi 80 percent were women, and in Uganda, 100 percent were women.
  • More information on the study details are available at poverty-action.org/VSLAs


About Innovations for Poverty Action:
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy non-profit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In the 10 years since its founding IPA has worked with over 400 leading academics to conduct over 600 evaluations in 51 countries.

IPA Colombia launches partnership with the Bogota Department of Social Integration

On December 1st, IPA Colombia launched a partnership with the Bogota Department of Social Integration in order to develop a research agenda in 2017 around early childhood, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, and the elderly. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they express their intention to work together in 2017.

IPA Colombia signs an MoU with the Bogota Department of Social Integration
IPA Colombia signs an MoU with the Bogota Department of Social Integration


Simple Access to Mobile Money Lifted Two Percent of Kenyan Households Out of Poverty, Finds New Study Published in Science

The new study found that poor rural women in Kenya with access to a mobile phone-based service allowing them to send and receive payments at low cost shifted their occupations from agriculture to business and saved more. The combined effects reduced poverty for hundreds of thousands of households. 


December 9, 2016  NEW HAVEN, CT – A new study today shows that the expansion of mobile money helped bring hundreds of thousands of Kenyans out poverty, especially those in female-headed households. The study, published in Science, examined how M-PESA, Kenya’s text message-based payments system, spread across the country over six years. The researchers tracked the economic progress of thousands of households and estimate that the expansion of M-PESA lifted 194,000 households, or two percent of households in the country, above the poverty line, and that these effects were partly driven by women’s access to the new way of sending and receiving money.


M-PESA, introduced in Kenya in 2007, now reaches 96 percent of the country’s households. Because it uses simple SMS messages (not requiring a smartphone) to send money, and cash can be deposited or withdrawn from local agents (for example, at a nearby shop), the service does not require an extensive bank infrastructure and reaches even remote rural areas. Economists Tavneet Suri, Associate Professor of Applied Economics at MIT’s Sloan School of Business and Billy Jack, Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, worked with the research and policy non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action to study households across much of the country as the network of agents expanded into new localities. The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the organization Financial Sector Deepening Kenya.  


 “What we saw over six years was impressive – as people were given access to this low-cost means of sending and receiving cash, poverty, particularly extreme poverty, decreased, and especially for households headed by women,” according to Suri. “We saw that when M-PESA came to an area, women shifted their occupations and their savings went up. We estimate that about 185,000 women shifted occupations from subsistence farming to business or retail sales. 


Previous studies of programs thought to reduce poverty have had mixed results; for example, multiple studies have shown that microloans, while helpful business tools for a few, do not on average bring borrowers out of poverty. “Our earlier work on M-PESA showed that it improved financial resilience in Kenya – while households typically suffered falls in consumption of about 7 percent when hit by misfortune, M-PESA users were able to maintain normal consumption levels in the event of such unexpected setbacks,” according to Jack, of Georgetown, “With this longer term data, we’re confident that the proliferation of mobile money has also resulted in a reduction in poverty, especially in households headed by women.”


The findings also add to a growing body of research on gender dynamics surrounding money in low-income countries. “Sometimes the poor, and poor women in particular, just need access to the right set of simple tools to help themselves, but we haven’t always known what that the right set was,” according to Annie Duflo, Executive Director of Innovations for Poverty Action. “Hopefully these results will inform and encourage the targeted scaling of mobile money services in other countries. While many other countries have a system, too few have the kind of nationwide infrastructure that now exists in Kenya.”

Additional facts:

  • M-PESA’s name comes from M for “mobile” and Pesa, the Swahili word for “money”

  • Kenya has 2,700 automated teller machines (ATMs) in the country providing access to traditional bank accounts, but 110,000 M-PESA agents where individuals can deposit or withdraw cash from their mobile money accounts.

  • The study compared areas which had large increases in local M-PESA agents between 2008 and 2010 to those with small or no increases. The authors then examined differences in households’ economic outcomes in these areas in 2014.

  • The researchers conclude that an area with a 1 kilometer radius which six new M-PESA agents entered between 2008 and 2010 would have 22% fewer female-headed households living in extreme poverty than an area of the same size in which no new agents entered during the same time period (43.3 percent versus 34.1 percent of households living on less than $1.25 per day). However, there was no corresponding drop for male-headed households.


Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA designs, rigorously evaluates, and refines these solutions and their applications together with decision-makers to ensure that the evidence created is used to improve opportunities for the world’s poor. In the 10 years since its founding IPA has worked with over 250 leading academics to conduct over 600 evaluations in 51 countries.


Call for Expressions of Interest - IPA Financial Inclusion Program

The Financial Inclusion Program at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) invites Expressions of Interest (EOI) from teams of researchers and financial service providers to conduct rigorous research on financial product innovations for low income households in developing countries.

This call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) marks the third competitive funding round in a four-year, $4.1 million investment supporting randomized evaluations in the following areas, with a specific emphasis on digital financial services for the poor. Areas of interest include:

  • Usage of innovative digital financial services, including
    • payments for health and education services
    • products or services that address the specific needs and cash-flow challenges of farmers and micro-entrepreneurs
  • Incorporation of behavioral insights into product design, regulation, or other policy levers to improve take-up and usage of formal financial services by the poor
  • The usage of digital financial services, especially payment mechanisms for public sector reform and/or service delivery 
  • Consumer protection issues as they relate to digital financial services and products.
  • Women’s empowerment through digital financial services

In the current round we will give priority to projects that focus on the area of Women’s empowerment through digital financial services. We encourage research teams to look beyond heterogeneous effects of financial products on women and actively propose innovative solutions which can help close the gender gap that still exists in financial inclusion.

Expressions of Interest shall present a rigorous study design for a randomized evaluation with a clear hypothesis. Funding requests up to $300,000 will be accepted under this call. Please review the guidelines for more information about this opportunity and to connect with IPA.

Deadline for Submission: November 4, 2016 (11:59 pm EDT)
Download the guidelines and application form here:


Please direct all questions to financialinclusion@poverty-action.org.

Pros and cons of factory work, in new study from Ethiopia



New Haven, September 26, 2016 - A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research today looked at the impacts of taking a factory or industrial farm job on young workers in Ethiopia, and found that these industrial jobs gave unemployed people a steady income, but this came with substantial risks to their health. 

Comparing job applicants who did and did not receive the job, researchers found that those offered industrial jobs did no better economically, and the industrial work came with longer hours, lower wages, and a doubling of serious health problems. Workers used factory jobs as a temporary safety net between other kind of work, including running their own businesses, and typically quit factory work as quickly as possible. Stimulating these business enterprises with capital, meanwhile, increased earnings for these workers by 33 percent. 

Seventy-eight percent of Ethiopia’s population lives on less than $2 day, but in recent years the country has seen increased foreign investment growth in its industrial sector. There are a growing number of migrants and refugees, and recently the British government announced plans to create 100,000 industrial jobs for Ethiopians and migrants. Researchers Christopher Blattman of the University of Chicago, and Stefan Dercon of Oxford University with the research and policy non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action studied how industrial job opportunities impacted workers there. 

Job applicants to five industrial firms were mainly young, unmarried women with some secondary education. At random the firms and researchers offered nearly 1000 existing applicants a spot in one of three groups. The first group was offered the job in a factory or industrial agriculture that they’d applied for. A second group was offered an entrepreneurship program, as an alternative yardstick for measuring how to boost livelihoods. Similar to programs shown to increase earnings in Liberia, Uganda, and elsewhere, it consisted of a $300 grant and a five-day business training. The third group was not offered either opportunity but were also tracked to measure how workers fared over the same time period in the absence of an outside program.

The research team found that most of those offered an industrial job quit – a third within the first month and 77 percent by the end of the year. “We saw they weren’t quitting for another similar job, they tended to leave the industrial sector all together and join the informal sector,” according to Blattman. “By the end of the year, most were doing similar work to those never offered a job in the first place.” 

In addition to the longer hours and lower wages, industrial jobs came with hazards such as exposure to chemicals. As a result, reports of serious health problems rose one percentage point for every month worked in an industrial job. In contrast to the industrial jobs, a year later the entrepreneurship program participants experienced a 33 percent increase in income, and were less likely to have taken an industrial job than the comparison group. 

The evidence suggests that people used the industrial jobs as a safety net. “For the most part people could find casual work outside the factories, or work for themselves as farmers, shop owners or traders,” according to Blattman, “but they might not get this work every month. They’d take the factory jobs temporarily, until something better came along. The firms told us they didn’t like this turnover, but they didn’t find it worthwhile to raise wages.”

The researchers stress that based on experience from elsewhere, there remains a strong development case for boosting employment in Ethiopia through industrial jobs, and to attract new investors into manufacturing and commercial horticulture, in part because of higher and fast rising wages in Asia and elsewhere. “The general pattern in most countries has been that wages and working conditions improve as more and more firms compete for workers,” according to Stefan Dercon, who is also Chief Economist of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), “and what we see in Ethiopia probably reflects the fact that they are at the very early stages of industrialization.”

“The firms in our study – domestic investors and early foreign investors – offered jobs whose wage and other conditions which were not particularly attractive compared to other local opportunities. Wages were kept low but labor turnover was high,” according to Dercon. He suggested policymakers and investors consider workers’ perspective: “Low wages are no doubt one attractive reason to invest in Ethiopia, but new investors may do well to consider carefully their pay, health and safety, and hiring practices in order to attract workers for whom these jobs bring genuine improvement in living standards, or they may put productivity at risk through high turnover.” 



About IPA

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA designs, rigorously evaluates, and refines these solutions and their applications together with decision-makers to ensure that the evidence created is used to improve opportunities for the world’s poor. In the 10 years since its founding IPA has worked with over 250 leading academics to conduct over 600 evaluations in 51 countries. 
Leading image: 

Grameen Foundation and Innovations for Poverty Action Broker New Industry Alliance to Advance Poverty Measurement

WASHINGTON, September 7, 2016—Grameen Foundation and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are pleased to announce a new model for managing the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®), a poverty measurement tool used by nearly 500 organizations around the world.  The new model creates the PPI Alliance, a collective governance and funding structure, and designates IPA as the new organizational home for PPI.

Grameen Foundation has incubated and grown PPI over the past 10 years, leading to its current use in more than 40 countries around the world. The clear need demonstrated by this growth led Grameen Foundation to seek broader industry ownership of the PPI. IPA was selected as the ideal home because of its legacy of stellar data collection and reputation for excellence.

IPA’s core strength is in designing and managing randomized evaluations to tackle global poverty problems. Its research spans multiple sectors (including agriculture, education, health, governance, and finance) and geographies, and its global field research infrastructure operates in 20 countries and produces the highest data quality.

“Grameen Foundation is pleased to work with IPA to form this new alliance. IPA has strong alignment with the PPI’s mission to use data to inform decision-making. Its large global footprint, highly-respected brand, and connection to researchers, policymakers and practitioners will give the PPI a competitive advantage and enable it to continue to meet the growing demand for practical measurement tools,” said Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.

“One of IPA’s objectives is to improve the use and the quality of data in addressing poverty problems. The PPI has become a key tool in that regard, and we believe we are well positioned to build on its value and promote its usage,” said Annie Duflo, IPA’s Executive Director.

As part of the new model, the scorecards that are used to measure poverty will remain free to access, but the PPI Alliance will actively engage and empower a consortium of users who rely on the PPI and are committed to its future development. 

Charu Adesnik, Cisco Foundation’s Deputy Director, sums up what the PPI does for its users and their beneficiaries: “Today, through the PPI, the needs of millions of families living in poverty are better understood and can be met by organizations working to address the root causes of poverty. Critical to our own social investment strategy, Cisco and the Cisco Foundation use the PPI to measure the reach of our investments and initiatives.” 

Member organizations of the new PPI Alliance will fund basic PPI operations through an annual fee and have the opportunity to sit on a steering committee that informs scorecard development, product innovation, and related service offerings.  Two of the members are playing additional roles that provide critical start-up support to this new business model:  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as Anchor Funder, and Cisco Foundation as Foundational Partner. Other members on the Steering Committee include Catholic Relief Services, the DFID Impact Programme, Grameen Foundation, International Finance Corporation, Opportunity International, and VisionFund International/World Vision. The PPI Alliance is also pleased to have Acumen, Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, and Marie Stopes International as members.

Membership in the PPI Alliance is open to organizations that work with and on behalf of poor households. For additional information on joining the PPI Alliance, please contact Julie Peachey at jpeachey@poverty-action.org.

Press contacts
Liselle Yorke, Grameen Foundation
lyorke@grameenfoundation; 202-794-7327

Jeff Mosenkis, Innovations for Poverty Action
press@poverty-action.org; 203-772-2216

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of mobile technology to deliver a vital mix of financial, agricultural and health services and information to the world’s poorest people. Our innovations enable women, smallholder farmers, and poor communities to build their assets, educate their children, protect their health and strengthen their resilience. Grameen Foundation was founded in 1997, inspired by the work of Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. Professor Yunus was a founding member of our board of directors and today serves as member emeritus. For more information, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter @GrameenFdn.

About Innovations for Poverty Action
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy non-profit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor.  Visit www.poverty-action.org for more information.

About the Progress out of Poverty Index®
The Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®) is a poverty measurement tool for organizations and businesses with a mission to serve the poor.  The PPI is statistically-sound, yet simple to use: the answers to 10 questions about a household’s characteristics and asset ownership are scored to compute the likelihood that the household is living below the poverty line – or above by only a narrow margin.  With the PPI, organizations can identify the clients, customers, or employees who are most likely to be poor or vulnerable to poverty, integrating objective poverty data into their assessments and strategic decision-making. For more information and to download the tool and other resources free of charge visit www.progressoutofpoverty.org.

Call for Papers: Ghana Education Evidence Summit 2017

Ministry of Education, Ghana

Ghana Education Evidence Summit
 “Towards Quality Education in Ghana: Using Evidence to Achieve Better Learning Outcomes”

28 March 2017
Call for Papers Announcement


Better utilization of evidence in policy and practice can improve learning outcomes.

In the last decade, rigorous field research has yielded a number of important lessons on how to improve learning outcomes. However, existing evidence and its implications for policy decisions are not always readily known among policymakers and practitioners. Meaningful engagement between researchers and policymakers remains limited. As Ghana strives to improve efficiency and enhance quality education delivery, fostering dialogue between researchers and policymakers is critical.

The Ghana Education Evidence Summit will bring together policymakers, researchers and practitioners to: a) share evidence that has been collected about education in Ghana; b) identify ways in which evidence can be used for better decision-making; and c) develop a research agenda to fill the gaps in the existing evidence.

Summit Structure and Goals

The summit will include plenary and panel presentations, roundtable discussions, and workshops to share knowledge on existing evidence, develop skills for identifying quality research, promote evidence-based policy decisions, and develop a research agenda for the education system in Ghana.

The specific goals of the summit are to:

  • Share results of high-quality research from practitioners, researchers, and academics doing work in Ghana
  • Develop skills for assessing research quality and understanding the implications of research on decision-making
  • Provide input for the creation of a research agenda for basic and secondary education delivery in Ghana
  • Lay the groundwork for an evidence-sharing space through an online platform on the MoE website

Summit Themes

The summit will be based on the following cross-cutting themes:

  • Targeting: scholarships, district grants, school feeding
  • Efficiency: how to make gains with minimum resources
  • Performance: improving educational outcomes with limited resources
  • Skills development
  • Private sector provision in basic education

Research Areas

The research areas for consideration include:

  • Early grade education
  • Languages in education
  • Science and mathematics education
  • Technical and vocational education
  • Teacher education and development
  • Curriculum development and implementation (pedagogy)
  • Leadership, supervision, accountability and community Involvement

Event Program

Please find at the bottom of this page a concept note for the Summit (PDF download), which includes an outline of the event program.


Call for Papers

The Ministry of Education is therefore calling for proposals for presentations on research relating to the aforementioned topics.  Authors of accepted proposals may be invited to present their work at the Ghana education evidence summit scheduled to take place on 28th March 2017.  

All academics, researchers, and practitioners are invited to submit proposals for presentations.

Selection criteria

The criteria for selection include the following:

  • Research done in Ghana
  • Results available – although the research may or may not have been published yet
  • Empirical research
  • Rigorous methods (e.g. if causal inference is made, it should be highly credible and rely and reasonable assumptions; if a quantitative descriptive study is done, rigorous sampling should be done, etc.)
  • Lessons can be drawn for the whole system (e.g. the data may not be based on a nation-wide representative sample, but the findings need to be relevant to Ghana at large, and have the potential to directly inform government policies and programs)

Call for Papers Timetable:

Timely submission of the papers is critical to the success of the program. The procedures and timetable enumerated below will apply.

  1. Proposal Submission Date

    Submission of proposals is due on 1st December 2016. Proposals should also be classified based on the topics outlined above. Each paper will be screened to assure its quality of exposition and relevance to the call. The Committee may require further editing of the presentation to bring it to an acceptable standard.

  2. Approval of Proposals

By 16th January 2017, all authors will have been notified as to the results of this screening process.

  1. Making the Presentation

    Selected authors will be invited to present their findings on 28th March 2017. Each invited author should make every effort to attend the Evidence Summit and present his/her paper in plain, non-technical language, and with clear policy conclusions. Authors based outside of Accra will be provided with accommodation and reimbursement for domestic transportation. Authors based in Accra will be provided with reimbursement for local transportation. These authors will be contacted in advance of the meeting. Presentations will be made on a panel of 1 or 2 additional authors who have written papers within a similar topic. Presentations are expected to be up to 12 minutes long.

  2. Submission Guidelines

    Proposals must be no more than 5,000 words and should be submitted online at https://goo.gl/forms/mjzZiIxklMLz24MK2. Submissions should be prepared with the following sections

  • Title and author
  • Name of institution
  • Submit abstracts (max 300 words) with keywords (max 5)
  • Policy recommendations for Ghana
  • Which thematic area research fits into
  • Which research area research fits into with short justification
  • Type of research
  • Type of data (primary, secondary)
  • Methodology

Questions may be addressed to Bridget on bkgyamfi@poverty-action.org. Your participation in this summit will help shape the use of research evidence in Ghana and promote evidence informed policy dialogue.



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