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.
Jun 14, 2012

One last update from Cagayan de Oro

A warm thank you to all our donors to help us reach our funding goal. Your support has been influential in making this project possible!

Since last year, we were able to pay off the debts of over 400 vendors worth a total of more than $25,000.  We were also able to offer free savings accounts to more than 200 of these vendors to encourage them to save and avoid falling back into debt.  Finally, we have been conducting a series of follow-up surveys that will continue in the coming months to help measure the impact of our debt payoff and savings effort as well as to inform us about other needs of this group of entrepreneurs.

Again, projects like these would not be possible without your generous support so thank you once again for helping make a difference in the lives of the vendors of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.

Jun 1, 2012

Welcoming the rain in Tamale

Main road leading to Tamale during the dry season
Main road leading to Tamale during the dry season

Greetings from northern Ghana, where the rains have finally begun to fall! The Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) project is currently involved in a number of exciting initiatives, including continued marketing of drought insurance and development of a new, community-based mobile agricultural extension system.

First, insurance: the EUI project has once again partnered with the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Programme (GAIP), Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), National Insurance Commission (NIC) and Swiss Re to market a commercial drought index insurance product to smallholder farmers in the region. For new readers, this means that we can offer a relatively low-priced insurance product to farmers because drought payments are automatically triggered based on rainfall readings recorded by the Ghana Meteorological Agency here in the Northern Region—requiring no claims officers and offering no opportunity for moral hazard. In the past, we saw that there was a very high demand and this is a unique, and exciting, partnership that allows us to offer this product throughout the region.

Farmers here face a clear risk when considering their rain-fed farms as an opportunity for investment and profit: if rainfall levels are low, they risk losing their farm investment in inputs and labor. The drought index insurance product offered by EUI and GAIP is meant to alleviate some of the risk associated with smallholder farming in Ghana, and the EUI study measures farmers’ responses to access to insurance. At our next update, we’ll provide numbers on demand and some ideas for scaling up availability of rainfall insurance.

As mentioned earlier, we’re also working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to develop an innovative approach to providing agricultural extension services to farmers, by providing specially appointed community members with mobile phones loaded with easily-updated agricultural information. This pilot is in the early stages – more details to come!

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Mar 6, 2012

New results from Ghana!

Greetings again from Ghana! In addition to some recent photos taken in Sampa, we have a lot to share with you on the activities of the last few months. Most notably, the remedial education program’s 1st endline data collection took place from November to December 2011, during which about 80% of the program’s evaluation sample was reached. Two rounds of midline surveying have been completed, with a third round underway.

Initial results indicate that the in-school and after-school remedial classes given by the Teacher Community Assistants (TCAs) had an effect on overall math scores. Pupils gained the most in basic skills, such as simple addition of single and double digit numbers. In literacy, pupils made the most progress in basic reading skills—particularly identification of letters, with significant impacts both from TCA remedial classes (during and after school) and from teacher training. Overall, the after-school intervention had the greatest effects on both English and math, implying that students may benefit most from supplemental rather than pull-out classes.

The program’s implementation team is planning refresher training for the program teachers and community teaching assistants in April. An international education conference is also being planned in May 2012 where the results from the 1st endline of the project will be shared along other education projects in Africa.

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