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Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Knowledge without borders



    by Joaquim Tres.

    America Central comercio blog


    Truck driver Eduardo Escobar regularly drives his containers across the border between El Salvador and Honduras at the El Amatillo crossing. Just like him, 200  truck drivers cross the border each day. But while carrying out the required customs procedures used to take them five hours of waiting under sweltering heat, now it takes them just five minutes. Central American truckers now don’t even have to get out of their vehicles at the border: They just wait for the computerized system to give them the green light, and continue on their way. Read more…

    UC Berkeley and IDB partner to improve impact evaluation of projects




    With over 3,743 investment projects approved during the last 5 years in Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest and oldest multilateral lender in the region. In order to address pressing development challenges within the 26 borrowing member countries, the IDB has invested billions in project design, implementation, and evaluation.

    As a result of the pressing need for evidence-based development, especially in the context of public fund expenditures, the IDB has put in place a system to design, monitor, and measure the impact of their development programs on the ground. Donors, decision makers, investors, and beneficiaries alike require rigorous evaluation to inform project investment decisions. Since approval of its Development Effectiveness Framework in 2008, the IDB has moved to institutionalize impact evaluation of its projects, implementing 274 impact evaluations between 2008 and 2014. Yet many of the government counterparts and implementing agencies in the region don’t have the know-how and experience required to conduct an impact evaluation. Read more…

    Best invention ever? Hands down, the washing machine … after electricity, of course



    By Irani Arraiz*

    Imagine life without access to electricity.  No TV, no fridge, no washing machine! (Have you ever had to consistently wash all your clothes by hand?)  When I was a child, I spent summers in my grandpa’s ranch in the plains in Venezuela, without access to electricity (because of the ridiculously low population density).  I loved being in contact with nature, so I did not miss the TV at all. I especially loved the big family gatherings after dinner and hearing stories lighted by the moon (because, without being able to see much, there was nothing else you could do but gather and talk).

    I hated having to wash all my clothes by hand, though (oh man, I love a washing machine; I think it is the best invention after electricity). But it was OK, because I knew that that lifestyle was temporary and that back home, we were lucky enough to enjoy many amenities (including a washing machine).

    For many people all over the world, no electricity is a permanent condition.  For them, most activities end shortly after sunset, they are limited in the way they preserve food (and then in the type of food that they can regularly consume), they have limited access to information, and not much time to read, because their time is consumed by activities that could be shortened and simplified by the use of electricity. A case in point: a washing machine. Read more…

    How to increase the impact of  your impact evaluation ?



    Disseminating the results of an impact evaluation is key to have a real impact in development policies

    By Paloma Acevedo*

    After designing, implementing, and analyzing the data, the results of your impact evaluation are ready to see the light! After all the effort you and your team have devoted to the evaluation, you know that the intervention is twice as effective when it is combined with information campaigns. You have shared the results with government, and incorporated comments into the report. Based on this evidence, they will extend  the more effective program across the country, saving a lot of money.

    Mission accomplished!  Or not? Read more…

    Empowering communities helps reducing crime in Trinidad and Tobago



    By Dana King*

    Trinidad and Tobago shows how working with the community is the best weapon to fight crime.

    Awareness campaign to fight crime in Trinidad and Tobago

    Awareness campaign to fight crime in Trinidad and Tobago

    Betheem Gardens is a low-income neighborhood and   crime “hotspot” that sits on the outskirts of Port of Spain and runs alongside the East/West corridor highway and Trinidad’s largest landfill.  For those that live in this community, the stigma associated with the neighborhood can be as potent as the landfill’s fumes.  The Citizen Security Program (CSP), created with support of the Inter-American Development Bank, is working to transform these high-risk communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

    In piloting a new approach to crime and violence prevention, CSP couples innovative, human-centered support to communities with more traditional crime prevention support to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Ministry of National Security.  Six years ago when the project was approved, Trinidad and Tobago had a murder rate of 43/100,000, while the rate in CSP communities was 98/100,000 persons; almost ten times higher than what the World Health Organization considers epidemic levels.  The new approach to crime piloted under CSP aimed to make communities an integral part of crime prevention. Read more…

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