Programs

We believe that the global community needs a stronger evidence base to find the signal in the noise as they target sustainable development investments, coordinate efforts, and monitor progress toward global targets like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To that end, we are focusing our research agenda to catalyze innovation in data, methods, and tools in five program areas that inform and empower development organizations, decision-makers, and stakeholders.

GEO: Geospatial Data & Tools for Analysis

The GEO program breaks down technological barriers and empowers a broad range of data users with next-generation geospatial data, methods and tools. Our flagship initiative, GeoQuery, enables individuals of all skill levels to freely find, access, and merge together spatial data from a wide variety of sources into a single, simple-to-use file. Since 2017, GeoQuery has processed more than 10,000 data requests. AidData has partnered with the Cloudera Foundation to take GeoQuery to scale and reach a range of new actors, from large international organizations to small grassroots nonprofits. The GEO program is also working to create new datasets with information on development outcomes captured frequently and at high levels of spatial detail; provides the largest open-source repository of data on geographic boundaries; and innovates new geostatistical analysis and machine learning-based methods.

For more information, contact:
Research & Evaluation
Seth Goodman
Data Engineer

GIE: Geospatial Impact Evaluations

More rigorous than simple performance evaluations but often significantly cheaper and faster than randomized controlled trials, GIEs are helping to fill the "missing middle” in evaluations of development programs. AidData is a widely recognized industry leader in the creation and application of GIE methods and tools. With our partners, we’ve led a global effort to use location-based data on development interventions and their outcomes in combination with quasi-experimental methods to measure the intended and unintended impacts of development programs in different locations and under different conditions. We’ve conducted GIEs to generate estimates of the net, attributable impact and cost-effectiveness of programs across sectors including public health, infrastructure, agriculture, and the environment.

For more information, contact:
Research & Evaluation
Ariel BenYishay
Chief Economist, Director of Research and Evaluation

LTL: Listening to Leaders

The LTL program collects holistic feedback on development from the perspectives of an under-represented group: leaders in low- and middle-income countries. We research how development priorities converge or diverge between leaders, citizens, and donors; barriers and opportunities to advancing reforms; the performance of donors; and what leaders need for evidence-informed policymaking. LTL produces a wide range of custom analyses, profiles, and datasets for public use and the internal needs of funding partners. The next wave of our LTL survey of more than 55,000 leaders will be fielded in 2020. In addition to these large-n surveys, we also field short surveys, or snap polls, to targeted individuals to gain a deeper understanding of a specific topic, like education. 

For more information, contact:
Policy Analysis
Samantha Custer
Director of Policy Analysis

SDI: Sustainable Development Intelligence

The SDI program helps governments and civil society groups to better use data for policy planning and learning so that no one is left behind. Ultimately, SDI seeks to more effectively translate evidence into tangible progress for the most vulnerable. SDI operates across sectors and cross-cutting areas. Currently, the team is identifying gaps in the data on migrant, refugee and trafficked children to provide actionable recommendations that decision-makers can apply to better direct resources to them. Elsewhere, SDI partners with local organizations to develop in-country, sustainable health data systems that increase access to data and ensure services reach vulnerable communities. Finally, SDI is spearheading a new methodology to track and analyze funding to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. 

For more information, contact:
Policy Analysis
Jacob Sims
Associate Director, Sustainable Development Intelligence

TDF: Transparent Development Footprints

The global landscape of foreign aid and public diplomacy power players is shifting. The TDF program tracks financial flows from opaque donors, lenders, and investors who publicly disclose little about their spending priorities and activities. We’ve pioneered open source methods that make it possible to shed light on the large and growing number of development investments made by governments like China, private companies and philanthropies, and low- and middle-income countries. TDF conducts large-scale original primary data collection, policy analysis, and scholarly research, and has published the largest publicly available dataset on China's foreign aid spending and the first analysis to quantify China’s public diplomacy activities across East Asia and the Pacific.

For more information, contact:
Policy Analysis
Siddhartha Ghose
Associate Director, Transparent Development Footprints