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Top five blogs of 2021

8 December 2021

At the end of each year, we look back at some of the highlights of the past 12 months. This includes our blog, which we hope has helped readers learn practical research tips, see an issue in a new light, or maybe reflect differently on their own work. In this year-end wrap-up, we highlight our most visited blogs of 2021 – from evidence-informed vaccination drives to using algorithms for social service provision.

In first place:

The challenges of India’s vaccination drive

Image by Artem Podrez on

How do we ensure that India’s most vulnerable populations obtain fair and equal access to vaccinations? In most country-level efforts, vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized populations remain at the fringes. They have lost work and lost wages, and they often are unable to seek healthcare when they critically need it. In this blog, Neha Raykar and Shubha Nagesh suggest four ways to tackle this challenge in India.

2. Reflections on three years of informing decisions with data and evidence

Chris Chibwana, IDinsight Partner and Head of Africa, with teammates at the IDinsight Lusaka office.

I have had an opportunity to work with some of the best people in international development on some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today.

In February 2021, IDinsight Partner and Head of Africa Chris Chibwana joined the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as the head of the Agricultural Policy Action Hub. Over the course of three years, Chris was instrumental at IDinsight, building strong partnerships and contributing to high-impact projects. In this blog, he shares five themes that have guided or influenced his work.

3. Informing specific decisions with rigorous evidence

A tree in Mukobela Chiefdom, Southern Province, Zambia taken as part of IS Nano pilot. ©IDinsight/Natasha Siyumbwa graphics by Torben Fischer

In this blog and related working paper, Torben Fischer, Dan Stein, and Doug Johnson present a methodological guide for how to design impact evaluations when the audience is a specific decision-maker. They argue that in certain, commonly encountered scenarios, orienting the evaluation’s design and inference to fit the decision-maker’s needs can make it easier for evidence to inform policy. In addition, having a specific decision-maker in mind opens up the door to Bayesian analysis. This paper provides a practical guide to designing and analyzing evaluations to inform specific decisions, using both frequentist and Bayesian approaches.

4. Using algorithms to match eligible people to social benefits in India

Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

India has many government welfare programs designed to transfer money to some of its most vulnerable people. But for a number of these schemes, people either don’t know they are eligible or don’t apply. Many of the funds allocated remain unspent. Together with Indus Action, we built an outreach system that, given a set of citizens and their characteristics, is able to predict the probability that a citizen is eligible for a benefit. In this blog, we highlight the challenge and our approach.

5. A Series B funder gets us to A+ impact

Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels

As a non-profit start-up, now a fully established international social impact organization, our situation is far from perfectly analogous to a venture-funded for-profit business. But the parallels are there.

In this blog, IDinsight CEO Ruth Levine shares how receiving a large grant as a growing non-profit has some similarities to a private sector start-up receiving Series B funding.