Tag Archives: evidence

DFID is 20 years old: has its results agenda gone too far?

DFID just turned 20 and Craig Valters (right) and Brendan Whitty (left) have a new paper charting its changing relationship to results  Focusing on results in international development is crucial. At this level of abstraction, how could one argue otherwise? Yet it matters how development agencies are managed for these results. We know that with proper management systems, aid interventions can be very effective; but if poorly managed, …

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A Framework for Taking Evidence from One Location to Another

“Just because it worked in Brazil doesn’t mean it will work in Burundi.” That’s true. And hopefully obvious. But some version of this critique continues to be leveled at researchers who carry out impact evaluations around the world. Institutions vary. Levels of education vary

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Doing Data Differently: Lessons from the Results Data Initiative

Guest post from Dustin Homer, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Development Gateway Development folks see magical possibilities for data-driven decision-making. We want data and evidence to improve our work—to help us reach marginalized people, allocate budgets effectively, and see which activities work the best. And it’s not all buzz; we’re getting serious about investing real resources into this development data revolution. So here’s the …

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Is it time to move on from Stats and Numbers to Metaphor and Narrative?

Post Brexit and US elections, I’ve been doing some thinking about how we talk to people. It seems to me that, along with much of the aid and development sector, and quite a few other social change movements, we have been in thrall to the power of numbers and evidence. Everyone is a policy wonk these days. The trouble is, as this year’s political events …

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“Access to information literally saves lives”: free access to UpToDate in LMICs

This week, Yannis Valtis joined us for a short conversation about a new paper he and colleagues recently published in BMJ Global Health. Their study Read More

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Recently Published Studies Add To Evidence Of Link Between Zika, Microcephaly, Guillain-Barré…

News outlets discuss the findings of several studies examining the possible association between Zika and neurological defects and syndromes. The Atlantic: Toward an Understanding of Zika’s Neurological Dangers “…A new study published Friday in Cell Stem Cell shows how Zika affects neural stem cells, which appear to be particularly vulnerable to the virus. This may…More

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Even more evidence that welfare doesn’t make people lazy

Evidence continues to pile up against the notion that giving poor people money discourages them from working. A new analysis of seven government-run programs in developing countries further bolsters the case that providing cash assistance does not foster dependency. “Across the seven programs, we find no observable impacts of the cash transfer programs on either

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Those of you have follow this blog, and/or my other social media know that I’ve recently begun dropping aid industry focused mini opinion polls onto the Internet. Here’s a previous post that describes what I’m doing and why (spoiler: it’s mainly because I’m curious). All of the mini-polls remain open, and I do not plan […]

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Metrics, evidence, and RCTs in global health: An Interview with Vincanne Adams

Vincanne Adams, PhD, is Professor of Medical Anthropology and Vice Chair of the Department of Anthropology at UCSF. She is the author of numerous books Read More

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How much does the new deworming replication matter for Effective Altruists?

It doesn’t at all, as far as I can tell. As Calum points out, what matters is the systematic review of evidence not one study. And the new Cochrane systematic review doesn’t seem to have responded to the criticism from Duflo et al to their 2012 review, that it ignores quasi-experimental and long-term evidence on positive impacts of deworming (specifically Bleakley 2004, Ozier, and Baird et al).A replication of the famous Miguel and Kremer deworming paper that launched the whole RCT in development economics movement, is published in the Journal of International Epidemiology today (along with comment from Hicks, Kremer, and Miguel, and reply from the replication authors), with coverage in the Guardian and by Ben Goldacre for Buzzfeed. You may remember Berk Ozler’s review of the draft of the replication paper back in January – concluding “Bottom line: Based on what I have seen in the reanalysis study by DAHH and the response by HKM, my view of the original study is more or less unchanged.”You can probably expect to see more on the replication coming from @cblatts, which I’m not going to get into, but back in 2012, Givewell were convinced that the Cochrane review shoudn’t change their recommendation to donate to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative or Deworm the World. The ambiguity does make me a little queasy, and pushes me more in the direction of GiveDirectly (I see basically zero risk that giving $1000 to someone on a very low income can really be totally wasted, in the way that an ineffective drug could theoretically have zero impact).

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Evidence on global education: A lit review in one chart

From Stefan Dercon’s presentation at the recent “Town Hall” event on funding opportunities for international education research. He explains further in this blog post. Other presentations from representatives from the World Bank, USAID, and ESRC, are available here.

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New advocacy toolkit supports scale-up of essential commodities for women’s and children’s…

Today marked the launch of a new electronic advocacy toolkit, “Scaling Up Lifesaving Commodities for Women, Children, and Newborns.” The toolkit, developed by PATH and Global Health Visions, is a resource designed to support efforts to translate ten recommendations developed by the UN Commission on Lifesaving Commodities into the national action needed to expand access to essential commodities at scale. From PATH: This toolkit provides information about the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities (the Commission), 13 priority commodities, and examples of how its ten recommendations to improve access and availability are being applied globally and within countries. It also provides advocacy resources for utilizing the Commission platform to raise awareness and engage stakeholders in addressing commodity-related gaps in policy. In addition, MCHIP released a new infographic offering an overview of the 13 essential commodities toolkit, which includes medicines and other commodities needed across the continuum of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. It includes three medicines: oxytocin, misoprostol and magnesium sulfate, for addressing postpartum hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, the two complications that account for the vast majority of maternal deaths around the world.

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Two ways to make the world a better place

According to Angus Deaton, either be like Jean Drèze, or be like CGD. He actually comes off pretty well in this interview.”The moral obligation is important because I don’t want it to sound like I’m a heartless bastard who has no interest in this partly because there’s just this: these people are hurting and if you can help them you ought to help them. Secondly, some of their hurt is to do with us, you know the colonial programme was not a great success. It might have been a great success for the Brits, it was not a great success for what happened in India. So we owe them big.I have students I meet at Princeton who come to me and say “I want to devote my life to making the world a better place” and “I want to dedicate my self to reducing global poverty” and I say there are two ways: one is impossibly hard but I know at least one person who did that, some other people have done it

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Statistical literacy at DFID

Some fascinating results from a new survey of DFID staff about their use and knowledge about evidence (credit to DFID for doing this and for publishing it), including these delicious stats:84% seem to know what an RCT is77% know what a census is, aaaaaaand39% know what a national sample survey is.hmmmmmmmmm……….. maybe there is a point somewhere after all in all of this scepticism about the RCT hype ……..?

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