The case for using toilets—less fecal pollution leads to better health—might seem self-evident, but 2.5 billion (according to United Nation’s estimates) of the world’s poorest still don’t have them. And it’s harder to press that case than might be imagined. After all, the causal link between fecal contamination and human health is a scientific fact while the decision to buy or use a toilet is governed more by such variables as cost, tradition, and culture than by science. When it comes to behavior change, effective outcomes depend wholly on recipients’ decision-making—a process that’s rarely understood, much less taken into account in project design.
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16 Oct 2015
New types of agricultural advisory systems for farmers in Kenya set up plant clinics, like those for human health, where trained plant doctors provide farmers with science-based diagnoses and advice. AIR experts Juan Bonilla and Andrea Coombes comment on the latest evaluation of the Plantwise program and indications that it is having positive effects on farmer wellbeing.
8 Sep 2015
In this commentary, Pooja Reddy Nakamura, an AIR senior researcher explores the question of when to introduce English to children in multilingual contexts. Rather than introducing it at the first opportunity, she suggests grouping classes by local language achievement skill—not just age—and introducing written English only after the local language threshold has been reached.
28 Jul 2015
In the Field
How can we curtail extreme poverty? It’s a question weighing on governments around the world. In the Republic of Zambia, the answer is one household at a time. The Child Grant program supported the country's lowest-income households and demonstrated a number of successes after three years, including increased food consumption and reduction of family debt.