This week, CEGA and IPA researchers released a working paper with results from a groundbreaking project in Togo that distributed emergency humanitarian aid using machine learning and mobile phone data. The working paper finds that the machine learning approach reduced the number of people who didn’t get benefits, but should have, by 4–21% relative to the alternative geographic targeting approaches being considered by the government at the time.

This post is written by Senior Program Associate Anya Marchenko.

Game Akoko, a cash transfer recipient in Togo. Credit: GiveDirectly

Why targeting, why Togo?


In this post, CEGA Intern Natalie Ayers (MS-CAPP ’22, University of Chicago) and Technology and Data Science for Development Program Manager Sam Fishman highlight a new suite of tutorials that the Geo4Dev Initiative is building to make novel geospatial datasets as well as analytical tools and approaches accessible to a wider community of researchers and partners.

The Lena River Delta in Russia, derived from a high-resolution stereo digital elevation model. Credit: Dan Coe

The physical characteristics of our world — natural and artificial — have shaped societies in ways that have been historically difficult to quantify. However, with increasing quantities of data being collected worldwide by satellites, remote sensors, and geolocation technologies, and a continuous improvement in…


This World Youth Skills Day, CEGA Communications Intern Yevanit Reschechtko (MDP ’22, UC Berkeley) explores CEGA’s recent research projects that support youth skills and promote economic stability.

Youth participate in an employment skill-building workshop in Rwanda. Credit: aphromutangana

July 15 is recognized by the United Nations as World Youth Skills Day, a day to highlight the importance of equipping young people with the skills they need for employment and economic stability. Despite progress toward improving youth employment and skill-building in recent years, young people still face significant barriers to accessing gainful employment.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 22% of youth (aged 15–24) globally were not in school, employment, or training, with…


CEGA Associate Director of Global Networks and Inclusion Maya Ranganath and Network of Impact of Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) Program Manager Jennifer Nyakinya recently talked with EASST Fellow Anthony Mveyange about his career trajectory and new role as the Executive Director for Partnerships for African Social and Governance Research. This post is abbreviated and reposted from the original publication on the NIERA blog.

Since 2011, CEGA’s East Africa Social Science Translation Collaborative (EASST) has brought 32 East African researchers or “fellows’’ to our headquarters at the University of California, Berkeley to study rigorous impact evaluation methods (and we’ve recently…


Leah Bridle, Associate Director of Research, and Anya Marchenko, Senior Program Associate, highlight policy impacts from a set of randomized evaluations (RCTs) co-managed by CEGA and Oxford Policy Management, funded via the Economic Institutions and Development (EDI) program (2015–2021)¹, and reflect on why the majority of studies in this portfolio succeeded in informing policy decisions. You can read their full “Impact Report” here.

CEGA convened policy partners who worked on research projects in Kenya, India, Mexico, Senegal, Uganda, and Pakistan.

EDI is a research program designed to test key institutional reforms and impact policy. CEGA helped competitively select studies that responded to the demands of decision-makers while expanding global knowledge. The research agenda was ambitious: to rigorously…


This post was originally published on the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) blog and was written by Katie Hoeberling, a Senior Program Manager at BITSS.

The Social Science Prediction Platform (SSPP), managed by BITSS and CEGA, allows researchers to systematically collect predictions about the results of research, as discussed in this post from last July. When faced with important questions and scarce resources, policymakers and practitioners rely on research and expert perspectives to make decisions (often with implications for many people). …


This post written by Supraja Parthasarathy (IFMR), Vasanthi Subramonia Pillai (IFMR), and Luisa Cefala (UC Berkeley) shares how the results from a phone-based survey in Chennai could inform policymaking on informal labor markets amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Labor stands in Chennai, India

Today, as you read this, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle India — shattering the country’s capacity to cope with the disease. On 17th May, more than one year after a first, nation-wide lockdown, several Indian states — including the South-East state of Tamil Nadu — decided to implement a new lockdown.

While this was deemed necessary due to…


Findings from a qualitative study of mobile money usage among Savings and Credit Co-Operatives (SACCOs) sheds light on the potential benefits of digital final services in rural Rwanda, and persistent barriers to take-up.

In this post, CEGA Program Manager Sam Fishman interviews Mercyline Kamande (Mount Kenya University, Kigali) and Anna Kamanzi (UC Irvine), about their qualitative study in Rwanda. The project was supported by the Development Impact Lab (DIL), a USAID Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) lab co-managed by CEGA.

Credit: CDD Mobile Money Research Team

Dr. Mercyline Kamande (Senior Lecturer at Mount Kenya University in Kigali) and Anna Kamanzi (PhD Candidate at UC Irvine) recently released the results of a qualitative study exploring uses of mobile money services among tea farmers and pickers in Rwanda. The study, conducted between February and August 2020 with support from the Development…


Why accelerating the adoption of open science practices can reduce political polarization around policy debates

This post was written by BITSS Project Scientist Fernando Hoces de la Guardia.

At left, an image from the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama’s on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 2017. At right, the image of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Credit: National Park Service)

The emergence of “alternative facts” and post-truth politics is usually associated with the rise of populism in western democracies. While there is an element of truth to this association, democratic governments have struggled with estimating the expected costs and benefits of policy options even before the rise of new authoritarian trends. In other words, long before the emergence of alternative facts, we have allowed for multiple policy reports to co-exist, often representing vastly diverging “facts.” For example, in 2010 two reputable analysts made diverging claims about the…


CEGA Senior Program Associate Chelsea Downs and the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) Program Manager Jennifer Nyakinya, recap the 2021 Africa Evidence Summit. This online event showcased policy-relevant insights on poverty alleviation in East and West Africa from leading African and US-based researchers; and connected policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to discuss inclusion in global development research. We are grateful for support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to host this event.

Photo: Panel on African Led Impact Evaluation at the 2021 Africa Evidence Summit which included Charles Amoatey, Constantine Manda, Jane Mariara, Annet Adong, and Ronald Mulebeke.

Over the past decade, CEGA’s East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative has linked early-career East African scholars, US-based scholars, and local policymakers to bolster…

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