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.
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.
With a high rate of poverty, poor technical infrastructure, and difficulty providing service to and accessing information from remote and disadvantaged areas, Zambia has not enjoyed the benefits of a quality education system. In 2003, the government sought to achieve increased and equitable access to quality education at all levels through a variety of policy decisions, initiatives, and programs. In response to this demand, the Zambia EQUIP 2 Project began in March 2004 and grew out of a previous project with the Ministry of Education.
Many international development programs rarely make the effort to involve disabled persons organizations as stakeholders, and as a result, fail to address the needs of people with disabilities in a strategic and inclusive manner. The purpose of the ENGAGE Project was to advance inclusive development assistance practices. Working in Pakistan, Zambia, and Mexico, the ENGAGE Project designed and tested strategies to include a viable disability dimension in programs in the HIV/AIDS, education, and governance sectors.
Lusaka, Zambia faces many challenges with regard to water supply, sanitation, and waste management. This is especially true for residents of peri-urban areas, where many of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable people reside. The Millennium Challenge Account-Zambia supports the implementation of water supply, water quality, sanitation, and hygiene interventions under the Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage Project.
The Zambian Ministry of Education’s 2002 “Education for All” policy provided access to education for thousands of children, many coming from lower socioeconomic levels. The inclusive, equitable policy greatly benefited vulnerable children, especially girls, but it also challenged the education sector by flooding schools with more pupils than the system could handle. To fight the huge inequities in Zambia’s education system, the Strengthening Educational Performance Up Program aims to help the Ministry of Education undertake management reforms to improve learner performance.
Literacy is a fundamental skill that serves as the foundation for an individual’s future learning and, collectively, for a country’s social and economic development. The LAC Reads Capacity Program (LAC) aims to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of early grade reading interventions in the LAC region through the development of state-of-the-art knowledge resources.
1 Jan 2015
There has been a significant increase in school enrollment globally, yet millions of children across the world are unable to read a single word even after up to four years of schooling. AIR is focused on improving the quality of learning outcomes by enhancing the science of reading, while developing solutions for the global learning crisis.
1 Jan 2015
Evidence-based policy making and evaluation are a critical part of effective public management and international development. Data and metrics provide a core foundation for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Governments and organizations are learning to embrace more Open Data and Big Data approaches as a way to streamline and modernize their data-driven policy approaches. AIR develops and implements these approaches to provide new insights into organizational capacity and impact.