Innovations for Poverty Action

Skills or tools used:

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) generates high quality evidence of program impact using randomized controlled trials, and uses that evidence to design better programs and policies for the poor. 

I worked with IPA on a randomized controlled trial called Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) which looked at the effects of access to and ownership of drought insurance on how rural and subsistence farmers choose to invest in their farms. This was a massive project with multiple principal investigators, and in-person interviews and insurance marketing for more than 1300 respondents. 

I wore a number of hats while working for IPA.  I designed and piloted a new portion of the questionnaire to include questions that would elicit data on risk-taking and weather prediction.  The literature on risk-taking and weather prediction is wanting, so I piloted innovative ways to capture this hard-to-get information via weather prediction and risk-taking games.  Each had to be tailored to a specific village context, requiring cultural competency and creativity.  For example, I designed a rainfall prediction game using the Islamic calendar since most of the farmers in the communities where we worked are Muslim.  I reported the pilot findings in a clear and useful fashion to aid data-driven decision-making with regard to questionnaire design.

 

Image: Rainfall prediction game with Islamic calendar

Image: Rainfall prediction game with Islamic calendar

In addition to tailored survey design, I trained and managed the Ghanaian survey team (50+ individuals), again with a very tailored training and monitoring program that affirmed and supported the local culture. For example, I used story telling, games, and other interactive learning methods to excite the survey team and help them learn professional surveying skills.

I also provided detailed data cleaning and preliminary analysis for reporting to the principal investigators. 

Image: Surveyors ready to go into the field

Image: Surveyors ready to go into the field