In this post, I trace my journey from English student to Global Health Corps Fellow at Evidence Action. I reflect on the process of realizing my personal mission: to leverage the collective power of stories and data to dismantle health inequities and improve people’s lives.
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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.
Evidence Action works on programs for which there is a solid evidence base of positive impact, often in the form of randomized control trials. We develop the business models to scale these evidence-based programs so they benefits millions of the most poor and marginalized people. Evidence Action doesn’t work exclusively on a particular sector, like water or microfinance, or has a commitment to a particular kind of service delivery model. We are guided by evidence of impact first. So, what do we consider when assessing interventions to explore or support?
How much evidence is enough before we know that a global development intervention works for people? How much evidence is enough to know that a program is worth scaling to millions of people because it works and benefits lives across multiple settings and contexts?
These are great questions that Michael Hobbes raises in an article in the most recent issue of The New Republic. In fact, we at Evidence Action think a lot about this. Our mission is to scale programs that have been proven to work so they benefit millions of people.
Unfortunately, Mr. Hobbes used a poor example to raise these questions by focusing on deworming. In the case of mass deworming of children and our Deworm the World Initiative, the policy has followed the (rigorous) evidence. Deworming has a well-proven, clear causal chain from intervention to effect.