3ie: from take-off to cruising through an ever changing world

Even though it’s been over three years since I joined 3ie, I was still fascinated to read Howard White’s reflections on how it all started. A question that has often come up for me as well is about why I’m in Delhi. As Howard said, the vision of an organisation having its locus of authority be in the Global South, is something that attracted me as well.

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.

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.