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. In this context, governments are asking, How do we get emergency assistance to those who need it most?
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.
1) Support core research on targeting led by CEGA Faculty co-Director Joshua Blumenstock
CEGA is supporting ongoing efforts to deploy frontier AI technology to help our government partners in Togo to target COVID-19 aid precisely, rapidly, cheaply, and at scale to vulnerable households, with important lessons for other countries and contexts. We are working closely with colleagues at IPA, J-PAL, and Y-Rise on these projects.
Learn more about the ongoing work in Togo from this continuously updated list of outputs:
2) Coordinate knowledge-sharing and collaboration across an international community of practice.
The Targeting initiative facilitates the efficient exchange of practical knowledge, evidence, and collaboration opportunities to researchers, policymakers, frontline providers, and donors invested in the effective targeting of humanitarian assistance at scale.
See our Featured Projects List for a running list of prospective and active projects related to targeting aid.
As the initiative evolves, we are sharing future funding opportunities, latest targeting research, and resources with our network through our newsletter, webinars, and strategic matchmaking activities.
You can sign up for our Targeting newsletter to receive targeting and larger Data Science for Development updates, or access past newsletter issues here:
3) Request for Proposals (currently closed)
In fall 2020, we competitively awarded grants of $50-100k to research teams improving targeting approaches in LMICs. See the below “Targeting Initiative Research” section for details on each of the funded projects, or read our blog post for an overview of funded studies.
CEGA prides itself on supporting inclusive research. Two of the three projects we funded had an LMIC co-investigator.
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