The biweekly “So What?” guide highlights advice, events, and tips — mostly from the advocacy and evaluation worlds, selected by the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program. We’re a consulting practice at the Aspen Institute that partners with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and individual funders to help them strengthen their efforts to bring about positive change in society.
Knowing what works
We cited work in Afghanistan recently and asserted that surveys can save lives. What else makes a big difference? Give Directly posits that direct cash transfers and universal basic income are the best way to reduce poverty: a simple idea, and the subject of a forthcoming evaluation. Do social movements improve lives? InnoNet links to news of a forthcoming guide to movement building evaluations. A new algorithm designed by Professor Wendy Tam Cho seeks to identify and better regulate gerrymandering. Readers: check out the paper here. Lookers: check out the video.
Call me healthy
Through APEP’s work with Independent Television Service (ITVS), we have been learning about how organizations can use interactive voice response (IVR) systems to measure program impact. ITVS is gathering feedback via mobile phones from female relatives of young men in a project aimed at changing male attitudes and behavior towards women in India. The IVR work builds in part on years of efforts in mobile phone-based data collection in the public health field — (mHealth to the cool kids). Here is a major new report on mHealth research and assessment.
3, 2, 1 Book Launch!
APEP is justifiably renowned as a breakfast destination of hungry Washington, DC evaluators. But we are venturing into new territory for our next special event: wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres, people. Save Wednesday June 14 from 5:30 to 7:30, when we will host, in partnership with the Center for Innovation Evaluation, the DC launch of Annette Gardner and Claire Brindis’s book Advocacy and Policy Change Evaluation: Theory and Practice. The event will feature author remarks and a panel discussion. And did we mention drinks? Space will be limited, so click here to learn more and RSVP!