What Do We Mean By Impact

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In this image:A photo of remote learning taking place in Peru, taken during a study using data to inform education programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. © 2020 MINEDU-IPA-IDB
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We cannot measure our own impact with a randomized evaluation, as much as we would like to be able to.


Ironic, we know. What we can do is track changes in programs, policies, and debates that we are confident we have contributed to. We say contribute because we never do this alone —our partners, researchers, and many others are also crucial to any impact we achieve.

Some of our research, such as evaluation results on strategies to increase mask-wearing, chlorine dispensers, bednets, or deworming, was used by various governments and NGOs to develop programs that are reaching millions of people. Other impacts are smaller, such as using data to inform education programming in Peru during COVID-19, or the scale-up of an effective campaign to increase demand for modern contraceptives in Burkina Faso. Our work has also influenced international development debates on crucial investments, as in the cases of microcredit and cash transfers.

On these pages, you will see many cases that demonstrate our impact, but you will not see them all—many are unknown. When our evidence goes out into the world, it can be used by anyone, and we hope it is. Organizations rarely, if ever, cite an academic paper or policy note when they start a new program. We will not attempt to tell you about impacts we cannot track.