Booklet
This report covers some highlights of IPA’s 2020-2021 accomplishments, which were made possible by the world-class researchers, organizations, and funders we are proud to call our partners.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
November 10, 2021
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This report covers some highlights of IPA’s 2019-2020 accomplishments, which were made possible by the world-class researchers, organizations, and funders we are proud to call our partners.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
October 30, 2020
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Visit our Strategic Ambition Website Today, IPA’s vision remains the same as always: a world with more evidence and less poverty. To achieve this vision, our last strategic plan emphasized promoting the adoption and scale-up of effective solutions. Since 2012, we have continued growing the body of evidence and contributed to the adoption of evidence-based programs, improving hundreds of millions of lives.  Yet we have learned that promoting an effective solution alone is not enough for evidence to be used systematically. Our strategic ambition through 2025 emphasizes the need for iterative learning about what works (and doesn’t work!), and why, and the need to equip decision-makers to use evidence, by building deep partnerships, engaging decision-makers throughout the research process, and helping them develop learning agendas adapted to their needs. We hope you will join us in this ambition, as we continue to build a world with more evidence and less poverty.
Type:
Annual Report
Date:
December 11, 2018
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Through our work with partners in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) and globally, IPA has succeeded in finding organizations with innovative solutions for reducing crime and violence, and working with them to refine, pilot, scale, and evaluate their programs. IPA has also worked with governments in the region to support, design, and test new strategies to address their security challenges. Our experience has led us to believe that tackling crime and violence in the region requires more than identifying programs to evaluate. Rather, we must develop long-term, iterative partnerships with local actors that identify the critical sources of insecurity, and design, pilot, evaluate, and scale effective solutions.
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Brief
Date:
December 02, 2021
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In Rwanda, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and conducting evaluations in areas of pressing national concern. Examples of our work covered in this brief offer promising insights into everyday issues that affect the lives of the Rwandan poor.
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Brief
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November 12, 2021
In order to understand how refugee crises end we require an understanding of when and why refugees return home. We study the drivers of refugees’ decision-making using original observational and experimental data from a representative sample of 3,003 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We find that conditions in a refugee’s home country are the primary drivers of return intentions. Refugees’ decisions are influenced primarily by safety and security in their place of origin, their economic prospects, and the availability of public services. Personal networks and confidence in information are also important. By contrast, the conditions in refugee-hosting countries—so-called “push” factors—play a much smaller role. Even in the face of hostility and poor living conditions, refugees are unlikely to return unless the situation at home improves significantly. In addition to the data from Lebanon, we explore the generality of our findings using a second original survey of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
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Working Paper
Date:
November 09, 2021
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The Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Initiative has launched the fourth round (Fall 2021) of its competitive fund. Proposals are due by 11:59pm EST December 17, 2021. We particularly encourage multidisciplinary teams that include researchers that are from the countries where the field research occurs, and includes researchers with previous gender/IPV experience. Those interested in applying are asked to first read through our funding priorities on our website. With this call for proposals, IPA solicits proposals from research teams interested in expanding their existing studies to further investigate this important topic. In most cases, we expect to fund studies in which the intervention was not originally intended to target IPV, and the assessment of IPV outcomes were not part of the original study design. However, we will consider funding for the expansion of studies already focused on IPV where there is a unique opportunity to add novel insights. Thematically, there is particular int...
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
November 05, 2021
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Stunting, or being too short for one’s age, is a warning signal that a child is at risk of failing to reach their full physical and developmental potential. Stunting is caused by poor nutrition during pregnancy, inadequate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, and repeated infections. Stunting has been associated with impaired brain development, poor school achievement and progress, reduced earnings in adulthood, and a higher probability of living in poverty. Stunted children are also at an increased risk of morbidity and childhood mortality from infectious diseases. In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action’s Path-to-Scale Research team has compiled evidence from interventions to improve child growth and nutritional status in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
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Brief
Date:
November 04, 2021
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This document provides application instructions for the Peace & Recovery (P&R) Program’s call for proposals. Applicants are asked to use the following templates when submitting their applications: Template for Pilot and Full Study Proposals Template for Exploratory Grant Proposals Budget Template (to be used for both Pilot/Full Study and Exploratory Grant Proposals) For more information about the request for proposals and P&R Program, read the Guiding Principles and Funding Priorities, and visit the P&R Competitive Fund page.
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Report
Date:
November 04, 2021
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Women who become pregnant less than 24 months after giving birth face numerous risks to their own health and the health of their child. As such, postpartum family planning services can help women to better space pregnancies and mitigate health risks. However, little is known about how postpartum family planning impacts women’s contraceptive use, fertility choices and birth spacing.  In a new policy brief, Mahesh Karra, Associate Director of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) at Boston University's Global Development Policy Center, and four coauthors analyze their results from a randomized controlled trial that provided new and expecting mothers in Lilongwe, Malawi with access to a range of postpartum family planning services between September 2016 and February 2019. The services consisted of a combination of home visits from a family planning counselor, free transportation to a family planning clinic and financial reimbursement for purchasing services from the clinic.  Key Findings: Po...
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Brief
Date:
October 25, 2021
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The area of family planning is unique in that the patient, rather than the provider, is seen as the key decision-maker in determining the best course of treatment. As such, family planning programs strive to afford women and couples the greatest degree of choice over contraceptive methods, and consequently invest significant resources into providing patients with complete and accurate information. Counselors often consult with patients about their options, but little is known about how the information and contraceptive methods that are presented during counseling sessions shape the way women make informed choices about their preferred contraceptive methods.  In a new policy brief, Mahesh Karra, Associate Director of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) at Boston University's Global Development Policy Center, and Kexin Zhang assess the results of a 2019 study conducted with 785 married women from Lilongwe, Malawi. The study aimed to evaluate how user-centered counseling approaches to fami...
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Type:
Brief
Date:
October 25, 2021
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Humanitarian crises affect over 200 million people globally and exact a large toll on population mental health. We assessed the impact of an economic transfer program on the mental health of internally displaced persons and host populations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We conducted a randomised trial among vulnerable households residing in 25 villages in North Kivu Province, DRC, where a large United Nations program responds to population displacement by providing economic transfers in the form of vouchers for essential household items (EHI). Households that were in need of assistance but outside the program’s standard eligibility criteria were randomly assigned (1:1) to a “voucher” or to “no intervention”. Households in the voucher group received US$50-92 worth of vouchers to use at a fair where EHI, such as blankets, clothes, buckets, and pans, were sold. The head woman of each household was interviewed just before the fair, six weeks and one year after the fair. T...
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Type:
Working Paper
Date:
October 14, 2021
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We implemented a randomised controlled trial study to measure the impact of one-on-one engagement with local religious leadership on the compliance of protocols at their mosque. Our messaging was a combination of religious appeal and public health guidelines that were interactive, involving frequent elicitation of the respondents’ reactions and agreement, as well as asking them to commit to action. Our study is different from previous strategies of COVID-19 containment as it does not rely on mass messaging but rather focuses on one-on-one engagement with focal community leaders. It aims to improve the implementation and communication of the 20-point plan that was agreed between the government and religious clergy to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, it is not novel in its approach as it is similar to previous interventions like the polio vaccination drive that disseminates knowledge and engages at the community level. Thus, the results from our study can provide valuable insight...
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Brief
Date:
October 07, 2021
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Despite the potential of intergroup contact, there is little rigorous evidence about whether it can build lasting real-world behavior change in areas affected by conflict and ethnic violence. Evidence on the extent to which this tolerance can extend outside the intervention, or spillover to others in the community, is likewise sparse. To test whether positive and cooperative contact can improve relations across groups in post-conflict communities, Salma Mousa (Yale) randomly assigned displaced Christians either to play with Muslims, or fellow Christians, through a two-month soccer league in an ISIS-affected area of Iraq.
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Report
Date:
October 05, 2021
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IPA’s Peace & Recovery Program (P&R) supports field experiments and related research in several broad areas: Reducing violence and promoting peace Reducing “fragility” (i.e. fostering state capacity) Preventing, coping with, and recovering from crises, focusing on conflict but including non-conflict humanitarian crises such as COVID-19 This document covers the aims, core themes, research questions, and focus countries for our competitive research fund, supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Please send all inquiries to peace@poverty-action.org
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Report
Date:
September 29, 2021
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Mobile financial services have become the main channel of financial inclusion, especially in low-income countries. However, consumer protection failures in the sector remain common. In Uganda, researchers partnered with the Uganda Communications Commission to conduct a phone-based survey among 1,000 users of mobile financial services to inquire about their experiences. In addition, they are leveraging access to mobile network operators’ customer care logs to test and implement new tools for analyzing complaints and resolving disputes. This final report summarizes the key findings and recommendations from IPA's work with the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) analyzing consumer complaints records. A report summarizing the findings from the consumer survey can be found here.
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Report
Date:
September 29, 2021
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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around the world have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Women-led businesses have suffered disproportionately from the slowing pace of business activity. A gender-intentional approach to short-term mitigation and long-term recovery could address some of the gender-specific dimensions of COVID-related shocks and protect gains made on gender equality in recent years. In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has compiled key policy-relevant findings for the short- and long-term recovery from the COVID-19 crisis of women-led businesses in low- and middle-income countries. These insights may help inform the design of programs and policies to support women-led businesses in the context of the current pandemic and beyond.
Type:
Brief
Date:
September 27, 2021
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A central challenge to telephone surveys is low response rates. This is particularly true for random digit dial (RDD) surveys, which have especially low response rates. For researchers designing RDD survey protocols, there is a clear tradeoff between effort and composition, where surveys can achieve a higher response rate by calling fewer numbers repeatedly or by calling more numbers less intensively. This brief explores this tradeoff by measuring the effects of (i) repeated attempts per case, and (ii) rescheduling a call, on completion rates and sample composition. Using data from nine low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), we find that repeated and rescheduled attempts result in lower completion rates than new attempts, on average. However, the respondents who complete the survey in later attempts or after rescheduling have statistically significant differences in observable characteristics. This suggests that more call attempts may be needed to adequately represent the respondent...
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Type:
Phone Survey Methods Resource
Date:
September 27, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic forced educators and students worldwide to rapidly shift to distance learning. As a result, governments, school systems, and educators worked to provide continuity in learning and services accessed through schools—such as school feeding programs—while trying to reconcile persistent equity gaps in access to technology and material and social resources. To date, global educational research has largely focused on how existing disparities and the social and economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 have undermined children’s learning. Much less data exist on how teachers fared during distance learning and the return to in-person schooling. This brief leverages an ongoing longitudinal study on children, parents, and teachers in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Researchers conducted two rounds of phone surveys with 514 primary-school teachers from public and private schools to measure the pandemic’s repercussions on both children’s education and teacher well-being. Da...
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Brief
Date:
September 23, 2021
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The expansion of digital credit in recent years creates an urgent need to monitor the digital credit market to develop policies to improve product suitability and responsible lending. In Kenya, this expansion over the past five years has increased access to credit but also led to new consumer risks. The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and IPA audited loan data from Kenya’s leading digital credit providers to inform the development of consumer protection policy strategies for the tens of millions of Kenyans who use digital credit products.
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Report
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September 23, 2021

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