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Dispensers for Safe Water: An Updated Review of the Evidence

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Dispensers for Safe Water: An Updated Review of the Evidence

We only implement programs that have been rigorously evaluated, that have proven and measurable impact, and that are cost-effective. We periodically review and assess the evidence base for our programs to ensure that we are aware of potential changes which may impact our assessment of the underlying strength of evidence for a program and to adapt our programs. The following is our current assessment of the evidence base for Dispensers for Safe Water.

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Mass Deworming: It's Good Public Policy

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Mass Deworming: It's Good Public Policy

Intestinal worm infections are among the most widespread diseases globally today that affect more than a billion people especially in low-income countries. These parasites--roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms--affect especially school-age children, causing malnutrition, fatigue, and even organ damage and internal bleeding. Periodic and presumptive mass treatment of every child is inexpensive, considered very safe, and is recommended WHO policy in areas where worms are endemic. A number of countries have made school-based deworming part and parcel of their national health and education policies.

Yet, some have argued that the WHO recommendation of mass treatment of everyone in an affected area is not supported by enough evidence.

In a new paper, authors Amrita Ahuja, Sarah Baird, Michael Kremer et al. argue that mass deworming treatment is not only effective for children, supported by ample and growing rigorous evidence, but also smart educational and economic policy for endemic countries.

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Evidence Action Joins the STH Coalition

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Evidence Action Joins the STH Coalition

Evidence Action is pleased to announce that we have joined the STH Coalition, a new group of organizations focused on reducing the public health threat of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) worldwide. Soil-transmitted helminths --intestinal parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm-- affect the health, education, and livelihoods of over one billion people worldwide. The World Health Organization has set a target of reaching 75% of all at-risk children by 2020; yet only 32% of children received deworming drugs in 2012. Given the magnitude and complexity of the challenge, we at Evidence Action believe that a cross-sectoral, collaborative approach to addressing STH is essential.

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The Evidence for Impacts of Deworming Grows

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The Evidence for Impacts of Deworming Grows

Evidence Action engages in a rigorous and systematic approach to identify development interventions that we can turn into programs that benefit millions of people with real and proven results. That is what sets us apart from most global development organizations. All programs that we undertake have a strong evidence base generated from peer-reviewed, rigorous evaluations that demonstrate a clear causal chain, most often in the form of randomized control trials (RCTs). 

Evidence Action engages in a rigorous and systematic approach to identify development interventions that we can turn into programs that benefit millions of people with real and proven results. That is what sets us apart from most global development organizations. All programs that we undertake have a strong evidence base generated from peer-reviewed, rigorous evaluations that demonstrate a clear causal chain, most often in the form of randomized control trials (RCTs).

Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative is a good example of a program that is bolstered by a well-rounded and very strong evidence base that highlights the positive impacts of mass deworming on children’s cognition and education across diverse settings.

And now there is new evidence that further supports that mass deworming works and even has long-term effects.

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Dispensers for Safe Water Uganda - New Project Video!

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Dispensers for Safe Water Uganda - New Project Video!

Check out this new video about Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda, produced by our carbon partner, South Pole Carbon.  It gives a great overview of Evidence Action's approach to Dispensers for Safe Water. Chlorine dispensers are an innovative, low-cost method proven to significantly reduce water-borne diseases such as diarrhea. Chlorine disinfects drinking water while protecting it from re-contamination. Evidence Action has continued to see high adoption rates among our customers as we scale this program in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi. Currently, over 2.6 million people across Eastern and Southern Africa have access to safe water via more than 12,000 chlorine dispensers.

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Kenya Deworming Results Announced: 6.4 million Children Worm-Free and Ready to Learn

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Kenya Deworming Results Announced: 6.4 million Children Worm-Free and Ready to Learn

We are so very proud to report the results of the 2nd Kenya National School-Based Deworming Programme.  Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative in Kenya and the Government of Kenya announced today at a press conference in Kenya that more than 6.4 million children were successfully dewormed, surpassing the national target of 5.7 million children by 12%. Deworming took place in nearly 16,000 schools in 28 counties that are endemic for parasitic worms.

This was the largest deworming exercise ever conducted in Kenya. A huge congrats to the Kenya Deworm the World team!

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Announcing a Big Milestone: Carbon Credits for Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda Approved

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Announcing a Big Milestone: Carbon Credits for Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda Approved

Evidence Action is proud to announce that we are now officially registered under South Pole Carbon’s International Water Purification Programme to generate carbon credits for Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda. The project in Uganda will be jointly registered with the Gold Standard Foundation, meaning that it meets the highest standards of sustainable development for the communities in which we work. Dispensers for Safe Water, one of Evidence Action’s flagship programs operating in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, reduces the need to burn fossil fuels as a means of boiling drinking water. Instead, people are able to purify their water with the simple and effective addition of a small amount of chlorine directly at the water source.

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Listening to Users: Using Evidence in Designing Products for Development

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Listening to Users: Using Evidence in Designing Products for Development

Social entrepreneurs are driven by passion. We are people who have bold ideas to solve huge challenges, and have almost singular vision to the execution of our idea. Our products are our babies--we know every dimension, every line of code, or every component because we have spent many long evenings debugging, tinkering, sketching, and wholly immersed in the creation of something we believe to be truly innovative. We believe that are products will have large scale impacts and solve big problems. The trouble is, we may be so dedicated to our solution that we don’t dedicate enough time to fully understanding the problem. We may be so focused on the product as the solution, we don't gain enough perspective on the issue to really understand what is needed to address it.

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Sustainable Water Services: Dispensers for Safe Water for Everyone, Forever?

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Sustainable Water Services: Dispensers for Safe Water for Everyone, Forever?

“Everyone Forever” is a set of principles for water sector service delivery promoted by Water for People and its partners, including IRC International Water and Sanitation Center and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.Everyone, Forever has three main tenets: 1. universal access for every individual and institution starting at the district level; 2. long-term indicators of sustainable service delivery; and 3. meaningful, financial engagement with communities and governments.

Everyone, Forever is a response to the historic focus on inputs and short-term metrics that have previously prevented the sort of transformational change necessary to dramatically and sustainably improve access to water services in developing countries.

We at Evidence Action are committed to sustainable services with our Dispensers for Safe Water program, and are keen to contribute to the goal of Everyone, Forever.

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Carbon Credits for Dispensers: Financing Clean Water For Millions

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Carbon Credits for Dispensers: Financing Clean Water For Millions

Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water program currently provides access to sustainable safe drinking water services to about two million people. This reach will extend to four million by the end of this year and 25 million by 2018. Scaling up this program, which is proven to be highly effective, takes new and innovative financing approaches. We are committed to providing sustainable services.  How do we do this?   

We do not recover costs directly via user fees in our Dispensers for Safe Water program. There is rigorous evidence in the rural water sector, and in preventative health more generally, that charging user fees screens out many people as people are not willing to pay for very much at all for these services and there are many competing demands in families for scarce resources.

Even at an anticipated low cost of $0.50 per person per year at scale, we needed to put in place the necessary financing to ensure that dispensers can be maintained and refilled with chlorine over the long-term.

One option that helps us achieve our dual commitments to sustainable services and zero user fees is revenue from carbon credits.  How do they work? 

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Announcing Evidence Action's New Board of Advisors

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Announcing Evidence Action's New Board of Advisors

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Board of Advisors.  Our advisors support our decision making about whether potential programs and expansions or innovations associated with current programs are evidence-based, have a sound business model, and are a strong fit for Evidence Action

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Evidence Action Announces Partnership with 1% for the Planet

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Evidence Action Announces Partnership with 1% for the Planet

Evidence Action is a new nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet, an alliance of over 1,200 member companies in 48 countries that give one percent of revenues to environmental causes. Evidence Action is now eligible to receive donations from 1% for the Planet member companies, placing us among a diverse, global network of environmental organizations. 1% member businesses fuel this non-profit network through their annual contributions, which totaled over $20 million in 2013.  Partnership with 1% greatly expands the potential pool of funding to which Evidence Action can look to for support.

Evidence Action contributes to a healthier planet by reducing and avoiding future burning of wood fuel for water boiling with Dispensers for Safe Water. Communal chlorine dispensers allow users to treat their drinking water directly at the source.  There is no need to boil water using carbon fuels to make it safe to drink. 

Over 3,600 nonprofits worldwide are included in the 1% for the Planet network, and over $100 million has been funneled to its nonprofit partners to date. “The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful force in solving the world’s problems,” says John Tashiro, Interim CEO of 1% for the Planet.

“We are very excited to be a part of the 1% for the Planet network. We are excited to use 1% for the Planet support to further expand our reach and increase the positive impact that the chlorine dispenser program can have on the environment,” says Christina Riechers, Director of Business Development and Strategy at Evidence Action.

About 1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet is a global network of businesses that donate one percent of annual sales directly to approved environmental and sustainability nonprofit organizations. More than 1200 member companies in 48 countries give back to this big blue planet through over 3600 nonprofit partners.  Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet helps people buy better products and protect the planet we play on.  To date, our network has given over $100 million back to blue. To learn more go to: www.onepercentfortheplanet.org.

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Research to Action: The case for Dispensers

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Research to Action: The case for Dispensers

Evidence Action's Executive Director Alix Zwane spoke at a World Water Day event hosted by the U.S. Water Partnership recently. She expressed the need for knowledge transfer from research to large-scale action and implementation, using evaluations on getting people to drink safe water and dispensers as a short case study.  Watch the video here: 




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Full Transparency: Deworm the World Initiative's Grant from Good Ventures

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Full Transparency: Deworm the World Initiative's Grant from Good Ventures

Good Ventures provided $1.5 million to Deworm the World Initiative at Evidence Action, based on GiveWell’s recommendation of Deworm the World as a top charity for 2013. These funds were donated by Good Ventures to “cover around 75% of the minimum level of funding that GiveWell would like to see its recommended charities raise during the 2013 giving season.”  

In the spirit of openness and transparency that GiveWell practices, the purpose of this blog post is to share how we are deploying the Good Ventures grant resources. 

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Summary of the Deworming Evidence Base

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Summary of the Deworming Evidence Base

There is an interesting on-going discussion around the evidence base for deworming. There is consensus that treating children for intestinal worms is safe and appropriate. The discussion focuses on whether the evidence we have to date, specifically the evidence on education and labor market outcomes, does justify mass treatment programs of the sort supported by our Deworm the World Initiative; that is, programs in which all children in an endemic area are treated, without determining infection status. In this post, we aim to point to some resources that summarize the evidence on this question, provide links to the conversations that inform this discussion, and share why we find deworming to be a sound investment.

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Groundbreaking Announcements for Deworming

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Groundbreaking Announcements for Deworming

Last week, the community of global stakeholders combatting the scourge of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH), the major category of intestinal worms that we focus on, came together to discuss groundbreaking investments and chart a path forward in the fight against STH. In a series of events hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, the community agreed to work collaboratively toward the collective goal of scaling treatment of STH globally. 

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A colorful launch yet again in Delhi

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A colorful launch yet again in Delhi

It was a colorful launch yet again for the second annual mass school-based deworming in Delhi schools by the former Health Minister of the Government of Delhi, Dr. A.K. Walia, and senior government officials. The event was enlivened by the presence of many schoolchildren...

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