Innovations for Poverty Action

IPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating, evaluating, and replicating innovative solutions to poverty and policy problems worldwide. Combining technical rigor and creative thinking, IPA partners with frontline organizations to create and evaluate context-specific solutions to poverty problems. IPA is driven by the belief that concrete evidence on what works, what does not work, and why, will accelerate the eradication of global poverty.
Feb 21, 2014

Dispensers for Safe Water to serve over 5 million

The Dispensers for Safe Water program has transitioned to Evidence Action and is currently providing over 1.2 million Kenyans with sustained access to clean water through over 5,200 dispensers.  The chlorine dispensers have maintained high adoption rates by communities.  Rigorous evaluations found that less than 1 in 6 households chlorinated their water without dispenser access, but more than 40% of households with access to a dispenser chlorinate their drinking water.  Drinking chlorinated water reduces diarrhea – a top cause of child mortality in Kenya- by 41% and reduces the irreversible effects of stunted growth. 

Evidence Action aims to take this proven development intervention to scale.  To this end, we are working towards serving over 5 million Kenyans by 2016.  We will install more than 7,000 new dispensers in 2014. 

In 2013, Evidence Action launched a new, innovative partnership with Kiva which will fund sustained clean water access for up to 600,000 additional Kenyans in the next two years.  Carbon credits will finance the project for sustainable service delivery into the future, making it possible for communities to reap the benefits of their carbon offsets. 

To learn more about the progress of the Dispensers for Safe Water Program, please visit our website at  You can sign up for our newsletter on the homepage.   We also post frequent updates on our Facebook and Twitter accounts at and

Aug 28, 2013

IPA Announces Launch of Evidence Action to Bring Evidence-Based Solutions to Scale


Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new organization created with IPA’s support and dedicated to taking cost-effective programs to scale to improve the lives of millions in Africa and Asia. Evidence Action has been created to bridge the gap between evidence about what works to alleviate poverty around the world and what is actually implemented. The organization scales interventions based on rigorous evidence and crafts resilient business models for long run success.
Two IPA initiatives that touch millions of people in Africa and Asia – Dispensers for Safe Water and the Deworm the World Initiative – will spin off from IPA to be managed by Evidence Action. Dispensers for Safe Water is an entrepreneurial program scaling the chlorine dispenser system. This innovation is based on research that showed that installing chlorine dispensers next to community water sources made treating water easy, which increased usage of chlorine six-fold, providing a very low-cost strategy to get millions of people drinking safe water.  This year the program will reach over one million people in Africa. The Deworm the World Initiative actively supports the scale-up of school-based deworming programs worldwide to free children of intestinal worms. Not only has this been shown to be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve attendance in school, children in school-based deworming programs also have higher incomes a decade later. The Deworm the World Initiative has reached more than 40 million children by partnering with governments to support their work, ensuring integration with other health and education initiatives and long-run financial sustainability for school-based deworming programs.
While IPA will continue to operate and provide support for both of these programs throughout the transition period, the management and strategic planning of this work are transitioning to Evidence Action. Both organizations will continue to work closely together after the transition is complete.
“The launch and success of Evidence Action is central to IPA's overall strategic vision,” said Annie Duflo, Executive Director of IPA. “IPA’s vision is that evidence of what works translates to large-scale impact in practice. The creation of Evidence Action provides an exciting new path to take demonstrated ideas to the next stage of expansion, while allowing IPA to focus on designing and evaluating innovative solutions, and on mobilizing and supporting other organizations to use and apply this knowledge.”
“We are excited about the impact our collaboration will have on poverty alleviation around the world.”  Alix Zwane, Evidence Action’s new Executive Director who joined from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, adds: “The vision for Evidence Action is to take evidence-based interventions to scale. We identify innovative, appropriate financing mechanisms and build best practice operational models to cost-effectively impact millions of people.” Evidence Action will also benefit IPA's research by sharing lessons learned that can help research projects anticipate and plan for scale from the start.
For more information on the new collaboration click here.
About Innovations for Poverty Action
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is dedicated to discovering what works to help the world’s poor. Established in 2002, IPA designs and evaluates programs in real contexts with real people, and provides hands-on assistance to bring successful programs to scale. IPA partners with researchers in top universities and implementing organizations around the world to ensure that poverty-fighting activities are supported by rigorous evaluation. IPA shares the evidence generated with development practitioners, policymakers and donors, and provides technical assistance and support to governments and non-governmental actors to implement successful programs and bring them to scale around the world. IPA has ongoing research operations in 51 countries across Africa; North and South America; and South and South East Asia. Additional information can be found at
About Evidence Action
Evidence Action scales proven development interventions and crafts resilient business models for long run success. Evidence Action is committed to only scale interventions whose efficacy is backed by substantial rigorous evidence, and to target cost-effective interventions that can potentially improve the lives of millions. IPA has supported the creation of Evidence Action, and the two organizations will continue to work together closely to ensure that rigorous evidence is used in the most effective way to impact the lives of the vulnerable around the world. Additional information can be found at
May 31, 2013

Dispensers for Safe Water receives USAID Grant

On May 21, 2013, USAID’s Administrator, Rajiv Shah, announced an award from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) to support the scale-up of the Dispensers for Safe Water program. The $5.5 million grant, supported by DIV’s WASH for Life partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is DIV’s first Stage 3 award. Stage 3 funding is reserved for innovative solutions that have credible and rigorous evidence of development impacts at significant scale. Stage 3 projects transition an innovation from large scale implementation to widespread adoption; this grant will help Dispensers for Safe Water provide five million people with access to dispensers.

Director of Programs for Dispensers for Safe Water, Eric Kouskalis, said “we are thrilled to be partnering with DIV on the scale-up of dispensers. DIV’s objective is to find, test, and scale interventions that get the biggest bang for the buck, and at a cost of less than $0.50 per person per year at scale, dispensers fit the bill perfectly.” 

Dispensers for Safe Water critically evaluates the program to drive improvements throughout the expansion. DIV and Dispensers for Safe Water will measure success along metrics such as the number of dispenser users (by gender), the percentage of households with chlorine present in their drinking water, the percentage of individuals who understand the benefits and correct usage of dispensers, and the dispenser manufacturing and chlorine delivery costs. This data will provide valuable feedback to help the program maximize adoption, sustain dispenser usage, and increase operational efficiencies.

Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer at DIV, congratulated DSW on the award. “Results based on rigorous evidence is the hallmark of DIV. Through this award with Dispensers for Safe Water, we will avert 3.3 million cases of diarrhea, save 3,200 children's lives and that is just in the first three years.”