Results for Development
March 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
I recently had a meeting at Results for Development (affectionately referred to as R4D) in Washington DC and was pleasantly surprised–not only by their employees, but also by their projects, transparency and educated professionalism. Started by a past Regional Vice President of the World Bank, David de Ferranti, and guided by a highly capable and experienced cast of multi-dimentional characters, R4D is a non-profit that focuses on reducing poverty in low- and middle-income countries by designing and promoting high impact investments. R4D identifies and seeks to amplify what they determine to be “evidence-based”1 programs in health, education, governance, and innovative financing for development. For example, R4D is now partnering with a team with experience in bond insurance to launch Affinity MacroFinance (AMF), a new financial insinuation with potential to leverage billions of dollars using bond guarantees. By lowering risk, AMF aims to unlock capital from pension funds and other sources of capital in developing countries. These funds, says R4D, could be used to pay for health care, small and medium enterprises, education and infrastructure.
Or, as a hypothetical example of the type of work that R4D might do, pretend that a donor organization is giving grants to low-income countries in order to bolster their health infrastructure; and say that one of the recipient countries of this donor is now about to graduate into the status of a middle-income country. R4D may enter this relationship in order to assist the donor organization in determining how to formulate a policy for this situation without harming the recipient country (e.g. they could temporarily co-pay, immediately cut donations, progressively decrease donations, etc., etc.).
In all of its endeavors, R4D does not shun from rigorous analysis and works diligently to partner with experienced groups such as the Brookings Institution, Aspen Global Health and Development, Freedom from Hunger, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Rockerfeller Foundation, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bridge the gap between innovation and implementation. I encourage anyone who is interested in development to follow this group and stay up to date on its projects and endeavors. From what I can tell, there is much to see in the future.
1 Their definition of “evidence-based” was not something that I got a clear definition of in my meeting, but it was obvious to me that this group was knowledgable about the use and benefit of randomized controlled trials, wherever possible, and cognizant of the need to adapt evaluation design to the intervention at hand. What was quite clear about R4D was that they intend to innovate with transparency and a scientific discernment.