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 six 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....read more
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
Building a world where hundreds of millions of people in the poorest places have better opportunities and their lives are measurably improved.
Evidence Action aims to be a world leader in scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Evidence Action’s Accelerator drives new program development, selecting high-potential interventions with massive opportunity for evidence-based, cost-effective impact. The Accelerator tests and refines delivery models with the goal of rapidly scaling interventions with levels of impact similar to our existing flagships.
Evidence Action exists to ensure that evidence-based, cost-effective interventions reach their scale potential – improving millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of lives. The Accelerator selects and rapidly develops programs that we anticipate will have outsized impact. To build the next generation of programs, our Accelerator focuses on two critical dimensions:
Both of these focus areas are non-exclusive – the Accelerator will continue to identify and adopt a small number of earlier-stage programs that may require small scale pilots, field trials, or further replication before they are ready to be tested at scale. True to our cross-sector founding purpose, the Accelerator also remains open to opportunities in other sectors with outsized evidence base, cost-effectiveness, and scale potential.
Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation in India
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, affecting more than 3.5 billion people in developing countries. In India, iron deficiency contributes to more than 50% of anemia cases. Supplementation, particularly on a weekly basis, has been shown in many studies to support increased iron absorption and reduction in anemia. In addition, weekly supplementation is cost-effective and easier to deliver as a public health intervention than other alternatives such as food fortification. India’s Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) program is one of the key strategies under the Government of India’s flagship program for anemia reduction, Anemia Mukt Bharat (Anemia Free India), launched in 2018 and targeting children and adolescents. However, implementation challenges have prevented WIFS from reaching its full potential in all states. In 2019, we are launching technical assistance to the Government of India and selected state governments to improve program delivery and coverage. We will seek to deliver our technical assistance within a set of states in India, with the goal of further scale up if successful.
Globally, there are nearly one million pregnant women with active syphilis infections that result in over 350,000 adverse outcomes each year, including spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, neonatal death, and congenital syphilis. A single penicillin injection can avert the majority of these adverse outcomes and new rapid fingerstick tests allow providers to screen and treat women on the day of their first antenatal care appointment. Evidence Action aims to support governments in the introduction and scale-up of a dual HIV/syphilis rapid test that allows providers to diagnose women for both infections with a single fingerstick and will allow countries to leverage their existing HIV funding to address maternal syphilis. We are currently exploring the feasibility of this approach and looking to test at scale within one, or multiple, geographies in the coming year.
Our Project Archive provides information about projects we have exited or terminated, including why we chose not to further pursue those interventions.
NGO / Non-Profit Associations
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