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3ie: from starting up to taking off

Back in 2008, 3ie was just my laptop and me. It has come a long way since then. Although I bid farewell to the organisation in 2015, I have continued to watch how the organisation has grown. What has 3ie achieved in the last ten years?

Where are the evidence gaps in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector?

A recent BBC article asked why billions of people still lack basic sanitation and they’re not the only ones wondering. According to a 2017 report, 3 in 10 people worldwide (2.1 billion) lack access to safe, readily available water at home and more than 6 in 10 (4.5 billion) lack safely managed sanitation.

What’s the deal with Push Button Replications?

Reproduction and replication of research findings can improve the quality and reliability of research. The recent credibility crisis in the field of psychology, has sparked a huge discussion on the reliability of research findings in all fields and critics have expressed strong doubts over replicability of published research. It should be safe to assume that the original data and programming code from a published article would replicate the results presented.

Bringing research down to earth

Today is World Soil Day, so it’s an opportune time to discuss some of the work 3ie has been supporting through our Agricultural Innovation Evidence Programme, which is jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development.

Misdiagnosis and the evidence trap: a tale of inadequate program design

Imagine you wake up tomorrow with a headache, sore throat and fever, perhaps nothing unusual at this time of the year. You drag yourself out of bed and head to your doctor to ask her for something to make you feel better. However, if you had first looked up your symptoms on the net, you would have been surprised to find that headache, sore throat and fever can be caused by 136 different conditions, among them typhoid fever, measles, and brain tumour.

Measuring open defecation behaviour in India

Open defecation poses significant health risks for individuals and communities across the globe. The practice affects vulnerable populations through diseases such as diarrhoea, schistomiasis and trachoma, which often lead to stunting and malnutrition in children. It is particularly prevalent in India, which is home to 59 per cent of the 1.1 billion people in the world who practice open defecation.

Innovating to learn

We are in the midst of a global learning crisis. This is the clear message from recent major reports: According to the World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report on learning, “hundreds of millions of children reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills.” And the Education Commission’s 2016 Learning Generation report estimates that “over three-quarters of a billion young people in low- and middle-income countries will not be on track to acquire basic secondary-level skills.”

3ie’s Agricultural Risk Insurance Evidence Programme: a structured approach to impact evaluations

With climate change becoming a reality, agricultural productivity has suffered considerably. This has put at risk the livelihood of the majority of the world’s poor, who are dependent on agriculture and related activities. Various risk mitigation solutions such as improved seeds and drought irrigation have shown promising results, but the role of transferring risk via agricultural insurance demands deeper exploration.

How qual improves quant in impact evaluations

Bridging divides, be they across ethnicities, religions, politics or, indeed, genders, is never easy.  There have been many books written about them, including some that made millions – for example, John Gray’s idea that men and women come from different planets, Mars and Venus respectively, is apparently the best-selling hard cover non-fiction book ever. One shouldn’t begrudge them because the payoffs – domestic or planetary peace – are high indeed.

Not lost in translation: ethical research communication to inform decision-making

When the authors of a huge study with a sample size of 1.1 million people of European descent were asked about policy lessons gleaned from their study, they said: ‘None whatsoever’. At a time when funders insist that researchers show the impact of their studies on policies and programmes this blunt answer seems rather baffling. That this exchange is in a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) longer than the study itself is another surprise.

About

Evidence Matters is 3ie’s blog. It primarily features contributions from staff and board members. Guest blogs are by invitation.

3ie publishes blogs in the form received from the authors. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the authors. Views expressed are their own and do not represent the opinions of 3ie, its board of commissioners or supporters.

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