Partnerships & Communications
Deputy Director, Communications and Data Analytics
John Custer is AidData's Deputy Director of Communications and Data Analytics. His team's writing, editing, graphic design, data wrangling, and front end development support AidData's website, blog, data visualizations, interactive dashboards, and flagship reports.
M.S.B.A, College of William & Mary
B.S., International Business, Grove City College
John brings two decades of professional and international experience as AidData's Communications Manager. Prior to joining AidData, John co-founded an online coffee company and worked as the Government Relations Director for an NGO in Southeast Asia running multilingual education programs. John holds a BS in International Business from Grove City College. While at AidData, John went back to school and graduated from William & Mary in 2020 with a masters in business analytics.
As budgets shrink, study finds little evidence aid is directed to the worst-off
Conventional wisdom is that scarcity shifts aid resources to needier places, but a new study finds this isn’t the case.
Beyond saving lives, landmine removal in Afghanistan clears path to development, study finds
AidData’s geospatial impact evaluation of a demining program in Afghanistan sheds light on the results of a decades-long effort to tackle the complicated and compelling problem of landmine removal.
Development that doesn’t deforest: Study points to path forward for local infrastructure projects
A groundbreaking study of 40,000 local infrastructure projects in Cambodia finds the program by-and-large created economic gains while not hastening forest loss.
Is it possible for infrastructure not to hurt forests?
A recently published study in JAERE finds that certain types of local infrastructure projects can improve rural livelihoods AND forest conditions, but important caveats apply.
Aid distributions to the most vulnerable remained equitable even after Nigeria crossed a key income threshold, study finds
The country avoided one potential unintended consequence of a policy question that will affect nearly two dozen countries over the next decade.
A “new” type of data for development
AidData’s next-generation measures of important development outcomes use machine learning to help policy makers overcome data gaps.
Plan B for development impact evaluations? Going remote.
New methods to predict missing geospatial data could reduce barriers to evaluating development programs in hard-to-reach areas.
Un Plan B pour évaluer l’impact du développement? Aller dans les zones reculées.
De nouvelles méthodes de prédiction des données géospatiales manquantes pourraient permettre de réduire les obstacles à l’évaluation des programmes de développement dans les zones difficiles d’accès.
U.S. contributions to Kenya estimated at over $3 billion annually, according to new AidData research
The report is the first to provide a whole-of-society view of U.S. contributions to Kenya’s economy and development.
Five lessons on counting the costs of sustainable cities
We share lessons learned from our work with UN-Habitat to understand the financing needed to achieve SDG 11 at the city level.
How Cambodia’s program to strengthen local governance built roads and saved lives
A new report on the long-term impacts of locally-led development projects provides insights for those who work in post-conflict settings.
GeoQuery reaches 10,000 dataset requests
GeoQuery, AidData’s flagship platform for creating customized geospatial datasets, today fulfilled its 10,000th data request.
Back to basics: A stronger case for bednets to fight malaria
A new study in PLOS ONE by a team including AidData, William & Mary researchers finds that a bednet campaign in the DRC led to a 41% decline in child mortality rates.
In fragile states, increasing citizen trust in democracy
AidData is surveying thousands of households in Niger to evaluate a USAID project that aims to strengthen government accountability.
GeoSIMEX: A better method for handling geospatial imprecision
Analysts need to find ways to live with the reality of noisy and imprecise geospatial data. GeoSIMEX may be able to help.
AidData/William & Mary awarded two-year grant to study data on refugee, migrant and trafficked children
The two-year, nearly $500,000 grant funds research to improve the data needed for assistance programs seeking to help children on the move.
Filling the missing middle: A method for impact evaluators on a budget
Faster and cheaper than a randomized control trial but more rigorous than a performance evaluation, Geospatial Impact Evaluations (GIEs) fill the “missing middle” for organizational learning.
Six deep dives into China’s checkbook diplomacy
AidData’s release of the most comprehensive dataset yet on Beijing’s spending abroad prompted a flurry of media coverage and policy analysis. See our top five picks for articles and interviews that provide new insight.
Avoiding Data Graveyards: How can we overcome barriers to data use?
Development practitioners track mortality rates for scourges like HIV/AIDS, and malaria. But nobody tracks the mortality rate of data.
What are development corridor strategies, and do they work?
Liberia made foreign direct investment (FDI) the centerpiece of its development strategy. We examine how these natural resource concessions affected local economic growth.
Want to reform aid? Double down on impact evaluations
More investment in evaluation would determine which types of projects deliver the best results, and reassure American taxpayers that foreign aid can provide good value-for-money.
Using machine learning to combat environmental degradation on a global scale
Leveraging machine learning algorithms to sift through terabytes of high-resolution satellite data, a new report by AidData and the Global Environment Facility has identified the factors that contribute to land degradation on a global scale.
Groundbreaking study on how developing world leaders view German aid
The study is the first to analyze Germany’s official development assistance activities based on the experiences, observations, and opinions of decision makers in the countries that German aid agencies seek to help.
Viewing poverty more clearly — from space
Ground-breaking research by Stanford University scientists has combined satellite imagery taken from space and machine learning to bring better measurements of poverty and economic development within reach.