Our Approach and History

Our Approach to Development

Reducing poverty and spurring growth in developing countries requires strategic, high-value investment of scarce resources, whether they come from donors, governments, or communities. Interventions to reduce the burden of poverty need to be rigorously identified, tested, and scaled up to be cost-effective and have high impact.

Evidence Action develops and de-risks models for such interventions that allow tens of millions of people to be served and return on investment be measured.

We bridge the gap between rigorous research and pilot interventions on one hand, and institutionalized programs on the other. By focusing on promising approaches backed by rigorous evidence, we support programs that are measurably effective; by seeking to solve the challenge of scale, we provide cost-effective impact for many.

 

Our History

Evidence Action launched formally in 2013 to scale up poverty interventions that have been proven to be effective in order to benefit millions of people.

Evidence Action leads and manages two programs incubated initially by Innovations for Poverty Action: Dispensers for Safe Water and the Deworm the World Initiative. While Evidence Action grew out of a need to manage these programs, the larger goal of the organization was to design a process to bridge the gap between proven interventions that work and scaling them up to produce measurable impact for millions of people.

This led to the creation of Evidence Action Beta in 2014, which sought to test other rigorously-evaluated interventions to be implemented as sustainable programs at scale. Beta tested interventions including No Lean Season, Winning Start, and No Sugar, including conducting randomized controlled trials on programs to determine their suitability for further scaling. 

In 2019, our Accelerator replaced Evidence Action Beta, maintaining the emphasis on robust evidence, cost-effectiveness, and impact at scale and prioritizing ready-to-scale interventions that leverage our capabilities in scaled delivery, in particular of health-related programs. The Accelerator employs a program development process designed for rapid scaling and identification of the next generation of flagship programs. 

Evidence Action values iteration, evaluation, learning, and adapting. We envision our role as leading a strategic approach to development that fills the gap between “what works” and implementing interventions at scale. By both incubating these proven interventionsand also providing technical support and other functional services to our fully scaled programs, we span the continuum of evidence-based development that allows us to lay the foundations for effective monitoring and evaluation from the beginning. By strategically partnering, collaborating, and working with researchers, community members, institutions, and governments, we are looking to build a world where millions of people living in the poorest places have better opportunities and their lives are measurably improved.

Who We Are

Evidence Action today

Evidence Action is dedicated to improving the lives of millions of people across Africa and Asia. Our approach fills the gap between research about “what works” and implementing solutions for people in need. We operate in ten countries across the globe and positively impact hundreds of millions of lives every year in a measurable way by delivering our evidence-based interventions where the need and opportunity are greatest.

We provide services to the most vulnerable people in these countries irrespective of their race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. Some of the countries where we operate are representative democracies while others are not. Our operations in a given country in no way reflects an endorsement of that country’s form of government, and we continuously evaluate the political situation wherever we operate.

What makes Evidence Action unique is our process: we spend much of our energy identifying evidence-based interventions, pressure-testing them for scalable feasibility, and designing them to serve millions. We identify innovative, appropriate financing mechanisms and build best practice operational models. We voraciously self-evaluate, learn, and improve our models for scaling with a commitment to transparency on progress, impact, and value for money.

We lead with our values, putting evidence first. By going where the evidence leads us, it allows our decision making process–how we choose which innovations to scale up and how to constantly evaluate them–to produce programs that have the largest impact for investment.

Our Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision

Building a world where hundreds of millions of people in the poorest places have better opportunities and their lives are measurably improved.

Mission

Evidence Action aims to be a world leader in scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty.

Values

Evidence first. We are led by the facts. We go where the data takes us. Robust, rigorous evidence informs our choices and decisions.

Think big, act urgently. We are unrelenting in our pursuit of results at scale. We know that poverty does not wait. We act so that the best ideas deliver benefit to millions.

Iterate, again. We reflect constantly and adapt accordingly. We test,measure, and improve to ensure impact. If we can do something, we can do it better.

Economize without compromise. The biggest impact at the lowest cost is what we are after. We ensure value for money for all our stakeholders, but know there is no substitute for quality.

Challenge convention. We ask “why” and “why not” in equal measure. We are sincere in our skepticism and incessant in our search for solutions.

Passion throughout. We are driven to lessen inequality, to improve lives. We take action, converting impatience into impact.

 

Our Board and Advisors

Evidence Action is grateful for the leadership and counsel of our Board of Directors and Advisors. They lead us to live up to our organizational values of rigor, evidence, and action. We greatly appreciate the considerable commitment and time that they contribute.

 

Board of Directors

 

AMRITA AHUJA

Chair of the Board, EVIDENCE ACTION
DOUGLAS B. MARSHALL, JR. FAMILY FOUNDATION

Amrita Ahuja is a founder of Evidence Action. An accidental social-entrepreneur, she led the the start-up of Dispensers for Safe Water, and chaired the board of Deworm the World as it grew to reach 30 million children. She leads the Douglas B. Marshall, Jr. Family Foundation, an innovative funder of international education. Ahuja also worked as a management consultant for the Monitor Group where she led projects to evaluate market-based approaches to delivering products and services to the poor. There she developed consumer marketing strategies, distribution models, and best practices for health and other products. Ahuja brings experience in marketing and distribution of consumer goods in the public and private sectors in India and Africa as well as significant experience with innovation and evidence in international development.  She holds a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.

KANIKA BAHL

Chief Executive Officer, EVIDENCE ACTION

Kanika Bahl is CEO of Evidence Action where she has been on the Board since 2015.  Previously she served as Managing Director at Results for Development (R4D), where she established and led the Market Dynamics practice. The practice has increased access to products such as childhood pneumonia treatments and malaria bed nets for millions of individuals in Africa and Asia. It achieves this by aligning the interests of manufacturers, donors, and country governments to develop and execute healthcare solutions for under-served markets at scale. Bahl is on the Board of TechnoServe and previously acted as Market-Shaping Co-Chair for the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities. Prior to R4D, Bahl served as an Executive Vice President at the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Bahl received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her BA in Mathematical Economics from Rice University.

SHIKHAR GHOSH
Professor of Management Practice, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

Shikhar Ghosh is currently a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. Ghosh has been a successful entrepreneur for the last 20 years. He was the founder and CEO or Chairman of eight technology-based entrepreneurial companies and was the past Chairman of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and The Indus Entrepreneurs. He was selected by Business Week as one of the best Entrepreneurs in the US, by Forbes as one of the ‘Masters of the Internet Universe’, and by Fortune as the CEO of one of the 10 most innovative companies in the US.

JOHN B. GIANOLA, CPA, CGMA 

John Gianola is a retired partner from Ernst & Young, one of the leading global accounting firms. During his 38 year career, 27 as an audit partner, he had supervisory responsibility for engagements involving accounting and auditing for a variety of industries including banking, insurance, energy, mining, manufacturing, technology, not for profit and governmental entities. Gianola’s clients were both publicly and privately owned, ranging in size from small entities to multi-national Fortune 500 companies with subsidiaries operating in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Gianola led continuing education courses for Ernst & Young executives, was a guest lecturer in college classrooms, and served as an adjunct professor of accounting at West Virginia University. Gianola is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Board of Advisors of The College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University, and the West Virginia University Foundation.

DINA POMERANZ
Assistant Professor, UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH

Dina Pomeranz is an expert on impact evaluations and studies public policies in developing countries, with a particular focus on taxation and public procurement. She is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an affiliate professor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), and the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). She is also a member of the International Growth Centre (IGC) and the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative. Besides her academic interests, she serves on the boards and advisory boards of a number of social enterprise ventures committed to translating research into practice.

CHRISTINA RIECHERS
Payment Partnerships, SQUARE

Christina Riechers is passionate about building innovative business models with social benefit. In her current role she makes commerce easier for small businesses at Square, the financial services and payments start-up. A co-founder of Evidence Action, Riechers was previously Evidence Action’s Director of Global Programs as well as Director of Business Development and Strategy. In these capacities, she was a key player in Evidence Action’s start-up phase, generating resources for the organization, creating a vision for growth, and establishing organizational systems. Prior, Riechers worked with d.light design to make solar lighting affordable to rural households in India. She was also a management consultant for Bain & Company where she advised clients on strategy and operations. Riechers has a MBA from MIT Sloan and MPA/International Development from Harvard Kennedy School.

SAM TAYLOR
Equity Analyst, FIDELITY

Sam Taylor is an equity analyst at Fidelity, where he identifies attractive investment opportunities for ownership across Fidelity’s family of funds. His research leverages expertise in business strategy and accounting, as well as regional specialization in African and Latin American markets. Previously, he was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman and Mesoamerica Investments, advising clients in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America on business strategy. Sam holds an MBA from The Wharton School.

Board of Advisors

 

DAVID ADDISS

David Addiss is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health. He is a senior scientist at the Task Force for Global Health and Adjunct Professor at the Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, where he teaches global health ethics. Addiss previously was Director of Children Without Worms, and a Senior Program Officer at the Science and Spirituality Program at the Fetzer Institute in Michigan where he was responsible for directing and planning Fetzer’s research program. Addiss spent 20 years at CDC where he conducted research on the prevention and control of parasitic diseases, with an emphasis on lymphatic filariasis and other neglected tropical diseases. He co-founded and co-directed the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Control and Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in the Americas, based at CDC. Addiss received an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University.

STEFFANO BERTOZZI

Steffano Bertozzi is Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. He has led impact evaluations of large, national health and social programs in Mexico as well as in Africa, Asia and Latin America. His research has covered a diverse range of projects in health economics and policy, focusing on the economic aspects of HIV/AIDS and on the health impact of large social programs. Bertozzi was previously the director of the HIV Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. in health policy and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his medical degree at UC San Diego.

STEPHEN LUBY

Stephen Luby is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University and Deputy Director for Research at the Center for Global Health Innovation. He previously served at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh where he directed the Centre for Communicable Diseases exploring causes and prevention of diarrheal disease in settings where diarrhea is a leading cause of childhood death. Luby holds a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. He studied epidemiology and preventive medicine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HARI MENON 

Hari Menon is Country Director for India at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he works on policy, advocacy and government relations. Previously, Menon was the Deputy Director of India Country Office Programs for the Foundation where he supported a wide portfolio of work in public health in areas such as HIV prevention, and maternal and child health. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, he served as strategic philanthropy adviser to Rohini Nilekani, a leading Indian philanthropist in areas including water & sanitation, environment conservation, education and governance & accountability. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from XLRI, Jamshedpur, India.

MUSHFIQ MOBARAK

Mushfiq Mobarak is Associate Professor at Yale University with interests in environment and public finance issues. He has two main lines of research: (1) field experiments exploring ways to induce people in developing countries to adopt technologies or behaviors that are likely to be welfare improving, and (2) using field experiments and other methods to study the management of water resources and other infrastructure. He has experiments on migration, infrastructure (roads and electricity), water user associations, rainfall insurance, and environmental technologies (stoves, rainwater harvesting, conservation agriculture) ongoing in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. Mobarak holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland.

SUSAN NAZZARO

Susan Nazzaro is a senior program officer at the Gates Foundation. She sits in the Global Delivery Program where she leads the market dynamics strategy that focuses on ensuring sustainable and affordable access to essential health products including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, vector control tools, and devices. She manages a number of initiatives aimed at creating and maintaining a healthy marketplace, including demand forecasting, pricing analyses, product costing and cost effectiveness, and procurement strategies. She works across several of the foundation’s global health priorities, namely maternal & child health, HIV, and family planning, but is primarily deployed to the malaria team, where she also leads all new malaria product introduction. She is part of the team that manages the foundation’s engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and served as the senior advisor to the Vice-Chair of the Board from 2010 – 2012. She also served on the UNITAID Board as the foundation’s alternate Board Member from 2010 – 2016. Prior to joining the foundation, she was an advisor in the office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region at the World Bank, a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar, and a researcher at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. An economist by training, she holds an M.Sc. in Development Economics from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Wellesley College.

ERIK NIELSEN

Erik Nielsen brings over twenty years of academic and professional experience at the nexus of governance, innovation, advocacy, and strategic partnership creation. Nielsen is currently the Portfolio Director of Nutrition Leverage for Influence and Transformation, Nutrition International’s global innovation fund that leverages greater collaboration and resources for improved nutrition in developing countries. Nielsen has worked with a variety of international development agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Transparency International, EcoAgriculture Partners, and Global Affairs Canada. Erik has studied at Guelph, Cornell and Harvard universities and holds a doctorate focused on networked governance from MIT, where he was a Presidential Scholar. 

HENK VAN STOKKOM

Henk van Stokkom is a long-time entrepreneur and philanthropic advisor. He currently guides foundations and families in structuring and implementing charitable investments. Previously, he was the managing director of an investment company active on the Dutch stock exchange. Van Stokkom has worked for a number of companies such as Salomon Smith Barney Netherlands where he was involved in launching investment products (Managed Futures, Socially Responsible Investment, Emerging Market Debt & Private Equity/Venture Capital) for institutional investors, and has held positions as financial director for the De Waal Foundation and Hemar BV. For the De Waal Foundation, he was active in Latin America where the foundation was (co-) financing projects for children with disabilities. Van Stokkom has served on the boards of several charitable organizations including as chairman of Stichting Beheer Oikocredit Nederland Fonds (2002 -2006), a Dutch investment fund for micro credit.

Our People

Global Leadership Team


Kanika Bahl: Chief Executive Officer

Kanika is CEO of Evidence Action where she has been on the Board since 2015. Previously she served as Managing Director at Results for Development (R4D), where she established and led the Market Dynamics practice. The practice has increased access to products such as childhood pneumonia treatments and malaria bed nets for millions of individuals in Africa and Asia. It achieves this by aligning the interests of manufacturers, donors, and country governments to develop and execute healthcare solutions for under-served markets at scale. Kanika is on the Board of TechnoServe and previously acted as Market-Shaping Co-Chair for the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities. Prior to R4D, Kanika served as an Executive Vice President at the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Kanika received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her BA in Mathematical Economics from Rice University.

Paul Byatta: Senior Director, Africa Region

Paul leads the development and execution of Evidence Action’s regional strategy for Africa, and provides day-to-day operations and managerial oversight for Dispensers for Safe Water and the regional programs of the Deworm the World Initiative, which cumulatively reach over 10 million people in Africa. Paul also oversees partner and policy engagement in the region. Paul previously served as Evidence Action’s Associate Director for Monitoring, Learning & Information Systems (MLIS) in the Africa region, leading a team of nearly 70 staff across Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi in developing robust monitoring and evaluation systems and ensuring data innovation and effective data communication to support program delivery. Paul has served in a variety of roles within Evidence Action and previously worked for Innovations for Poverty Action. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University.

John de Wet: Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

John leads overall financial and operational management at Evidence Action. He oversees the diverse, global team that builds and maintains the organizational infrastructure which enables Evidence Action to execute its dynamic and impactful work. John has over two decades of relevant experience across the non-profit, public and corporate sectors. He has previously held multiple, senior leadership roles in a range of international organizations including BirdLife International, Arabella Advisors, and Conservation International. John is a certified accountant and an international associate member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a master’s degree in environment and development, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Cape Town.

Ryan Noll (2)

Ryan Noll: Chief People Officer

Ryan Noll leads the development and execution of Evidence Action’s culture and global people strategy helping the organization to attract, recruit, and retain a strong, diverse, and motivated global workforce. Ryan is an accomplished global human resources professional with over a decade of experience across the nonprofit and private sectors, leading creative people initiatives for both U.S. and international organizations such as Results for Development (R4D) and the United Service Organizations (USO). Ryan holds a masters degree in labor relations and human resources and a bachelors degree in communications both from West Virginia University.

EVIDENCE-Portraits-April-2018-Grace-Outdoor-FINAL-v1

Grace Hollister: Chief Engagement Officer & Global Deworming Lead

Grace leads all aspects of global strategy for the Deworm the World Initiative, working closely with country teams in Asia and Africa to ensure the program effectively reaches hundreds of millions of children each year. As Chief Engagement Officer, Grace oversees global communications and fundraising, including the execution of Evidence Action’s thought leadership and brand building agenda, and the cultivation and management of donor relationships. Grace was a founding member of Evidence Action, and previously worked at Innovations for Poverty Action and with the United States Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. Grace holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University.

EVIDENCE-Portraits-April-2018-Priya-Outdoor-FINAL-v1

Priya Jha: Country Director, India
 

Priya leads the development and execution of Evidence Action’s country strategy for India, providing technical and managerial oversight to in-country initiatives, most notably the Deworm the World Initiative which reaches over 250 million children in India alone. Priya also leads in-country policy, partner and donor engagement to ensure successful program delivery and growth, and to expand Evidence Action’s portfolio of in-country, evidence-based innovations that draw lessons from the successful, at-scale deworming program. Priya has a wealth of experience in program design, policy advocacy and scale-up of evidence-based programs. She has worked in both the public and non-profit sector, including with the Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and with leading global development agencies such as the World Health Organization, PLAN International, and the United Nations Population Fund. Priya holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Delhi.

Deworm the World Initiative

Suzy Campbell, Associate Director

Ima Chima, Country Director, Nigeria

Kate McCracken, Senior Manager

Brett Sedgewick, Director

Austin Walker, Senior Manager

Katherine Williams, Senior Manager

Beta Incubator 

Jeff Cook-Lundgren, Associate Director, Finance and Operations

Sasha Gallant, Senior Manager, Innovation

Karen Levy, Senior Director, Innovation

Anna Yalouris, Senior Manager, Winning Start

Dispensers for Safe Water

Moses Baraza, Senior Manager, Program Implementation

Prince Kasinja, Country Manager, Malawi

Richard Kibuuka, Country Manager, Uganda

Matt Seden, Director

Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation

Samantha Bastian, Director

Natalie Duarte, Senior Manager

Philip Kahuho, Senior Manager

India

Farhad Ali, Deputy Director, Deworming

Kaushlendra Kumar, Deputy Director, Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation

Shrabanti Sen, Associate Director, Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation

Gopal Sharma, Associate Director, Finance and Operations

Pahwa Smriti, Deputy Director, Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation

Deepak Yadav, Associate Director, Programs

Africa 

Leann Bankoski, Senior Manager, Global Project Operations

Evans Ithiria, Director, Finance & Administration

Caroline Muringi, Senior Manager, Finance

Loice Ochweri, Senior Manager, Human Resources

United States

Michele Anderson, Senior Manager, Human Resources

Michael Kinsella, Associate Director, Information Technology

Alexis Tobolski, Controller

Joanna Wald, Associate Director, Grants & Compliance

Our Financials

Financial Reports, Tax Returns, and Annual Reports

Evidence Action started formally in 2013 when we began leading and managing Dispensers for Safe Water and the Deworm the World Initiative. The full transition from Innovations for Poverty Action which incubated both programs, took place in 2014.

Our program expenses and revenue are detailed in our most recent financial documents:

Please download our 2016 Annual Report for best viewing.

Evidence Action is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, and contributions to us are tax deductible in the U.S. to the fullest extent allowable by law. Our EIN number is 90 087 4591.

Our determination letter issued by the Internal Revenue Service can be found here.

Our Policy Plan can be found here and our Privacy Policy here.

We are also grateful for the support of individual investors, and welcome your support. You can donate to Evidence Action online, and find out about other ways to give, here.  Thank you!


Our Supporters:

In 2013, Evidence Action was supported by the following institutional investors:

  • The END Fund: $ 160,000 for Deworm the World
  • Give Well: $ 501,000 for Deworm the World
  • Good Ventures: $ 1,500,000 for Deworm the World
  • Deworm the World Inc. (transfer from prior entity): $392,000 for Deworm the World

In 2014, Evidence Action was supported by the following institutional investors:

  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation: $4,194,186.00 for Deworm the World
  • Good Ventures: $250,000 for our Beta programs
  • Douglas B. Marshall Jr. Family Foundation: $156,046.61 for Beta and Deworm the World
  • Anonymous: $500,000 for Beta programs
  • Kiva Microfunds: $137,100 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Stone Family Foundation: $ 750,000 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • One Acre Fund: $4,620 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Skoll Foundation: $750,000 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • The END Fund: $20,000 for Deworm the World

In 2015, Evidence Action was supported by the following institutional investors:

  • Abt Associates: $171,244 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • charity: water: $72,200 Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation: $1,392,496.90 for Deworm the World
  • Douglas B. Marshall Jr. Family Foundation: $200,000 for Deworm the World
  • Dubai Cares: $375,000.00 for Deworm the World
  • Good Ventures: $420,792.00 for Deworm the World
  • Innovations for Poverty Action: $576,765 (sub-grant of USAID award)
  • Isenberg Family Charitable Foundation: $500,032.26 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Kiva Microfunds: $467,550.00 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Mercy Corps: $529,618 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Michael and Susan Dell Foundation: $391,192.00 for Deworm the World
  • One Acre Fund: $18,980.50 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • PATH: $106,192.51 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Skoll Foundation: $250,000 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Stichting Dioraphte: $71,655.91 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • Stone Family Foundation: $700,000 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • The Charitable Foundation: $92,539.00 for Dispensers for Safe Water
  • The END Fund: $447,574 for Deworm the World
  • Thrive Foundation: $89,521.00 for Deworm the World
  • Anonymous: $270,964 for our Beta programs
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