As COVID-19 spreads in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), economic disruptions have left hundreds of millions without work or income. To offset the pandemic’s most devastating effects, governments around the world are quickly rolling out new measures for humanitarian aid and social protection. However, many LMICs lack reliable information regarding economic conditions on-the-ground, especially for the large number of individuals working in the informal sector. In this context, governments are asking, How do we get emergency assistance to those who need it most?
Groundbreaking research by CEGA faculty has shown how high-frequency data from mobile phone operators and satellite networks, combined with machine learning approaches, can be used to fill this information gap and rapidly identify the households most in need of support. Ongoing projects explore how alternative sources of administrative data can be used to supplement standard government registries. These and other innovative targeting methods carry enormous potential to help policymakers quickly and effectively target assistance to people in direst need.
CEGA’s Targeting Aid Better (“Targeting”) Initiative – launched in 2020 with support from an anonymous donor – facilitates the use of innovative approaches to improve the targeting of social protection programs in LMICs. We are prioritizing work with government and NGO partners that facilitates rapidly delivering financial resources to the most vulnerable households and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19.
Key activities include:
Our Request for Proposals is now open to research teams, governments, and NGOs interested in applying for funding through this initiative, with a deadline of October 30, 2020.
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