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Student Reports

Spring 2017

Professors Douglas Call and Carl DeLorenzo

In Spring 2017, students worked with Catholic Relief Services, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, International Food Policy Research Institute, Logistics Management Institute (LMI), Pan-American Health Organization, Social Impact, US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank Group. Students performed a wide variety of analyses, including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, policy analysis, performance measure development, process evaluation, and research synthesis.

The following are the final projects prepared by the students. They are listed in order of clients.

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Federal Government

US Agency for International Development

1. Measuring Corruption in Balkan Energy Sectors: A Three Pillar Approach.

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2. Women in Science: Challenges for Females to Enter and Remain in Science in Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and South Africa. The paper is a policy analysis emphasizing gender parity in science field in Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya and South Africa. Through evidence-based analysis, literature review and consulting with related experts, we found that gender parity has been achieved in primary and secondary education in those four countries and globally, yet the “pipeline” narrows down when it comes to tertiary education. Talent scarcity along with fewer women remaining in the field of science raise development concerns. Challenges faced by females are severe. Gender-balanced programs and data reform are needed to address the ingenuity of the world’s half population. Equal chances should be made to engage more women into science.

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Inter-American Development Bank Group

3. Connecting Guyana to Regional and Global Markets.

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International Food Policy Research Institute

4. An Analysis of Nutrition Programs and Policies in Tajikistan. The Central Asia Program at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) determined a need for a policy analysis of malnutrition in Tajikistan. Tajikistan, the poorest country in Central Asia, is currently struggling with multiple burdens of malnutrition. These burdens include overnutrition among adult women, undernutrition among children, and micronutrient deficiencies, such as anemia and Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) among both women and children. Among the multitude of policy options available, the policy analysis finds that supplementary feeding, iodized salt quality assurance, and support for household-level farming are the programs that are most likely to produce the largest improvement in nutrition, given the multiple constraints to the capacity of the government of Tajikistan.

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The World Bank Group

5. Descriptive Analysis of Performanced-Based Financing Project in Burundi. Performance-based financing (PBF) is a pay-for-performance approach commonly used in the health sector in developing countries. PBF serves to encourage positive behavior change through financial incentives, ultimately leading to higher quality of care and improved health outcomes. This same approach has been applied to the education sector in the province of Bubanza in Burundi. The World Bank Group is investigating the feasibility of scaling up this initiative to the national level in order produce better educational outcomes and improve the academic system in the country. As such, the author is conducting a process evaluation to assess the PBF education program’s design and implementation.

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Pan-American Health Organization

6. Designing Performance Criteria for Earmarking Tobacco Taxes For Health-Related Activities. The objective of the report is to answer the request made by the Pan-American Health Organization’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health (NMH) to study what performance criteria would be important to consider when evaluating whether or not to earmark tobacco taxes. To answer the client’s request, a four-step methodology was developed and implemented. The first step was to conduct a comprehensive literature review. The purpose of the literature review was to assess the current academic and professional guidance on the type of performance criteria used to analyze the feasibility of earmarking tobacco taxes. Based on the literature review, the second step was to compile a set of criteria that looks at the tradeoffs of funding health related programs for controlling tobacco through earmarking or the General Fund from a multitude of angles. Then to select the most important evaluation criteria, each evaluation criteria was compared against each other through the lenses of a set of three evaluation factors (Relevance, Social Impact, and Control of Spending) also influenced by the literature.

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Catholic Relief Services

7. Literature Review and Policy Analysis of CRS Peacebuilding Programs. Based on its 2017 Learning Event and country-level learning priorities, Catholic Relief Services Sudan identified the need for a literature review and policy analysis to address the limitations to programming of low levels of youth participation in peacebuilding projects and continued outbreaks of conflict around sites of its education projects. A literature review was conducted using a keyword search of published literature but relied more on grey literature from organizations conducting similar programs or research on the areas of interest. Developing interventions that address these impediments to programming insecurity and marginalization occur in different ways Programs that seek to address the effects of driver of youth marginalization or insecurity will likely ignore another. As existing data collection on conflict has indicated, cultural practices and disputes have generated responses that differ based on locality. Building interventions that address the realities of communities where CRS implements its programs will require community-level analysis and involvement of community members in program design and implementation.

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8. Best Practices for Impact Evaluations in Areas of Conflict: Catholic Relief Services in Jebel Marra, Darfur. Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Sudan office is implementing a project to address malnutrition in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur. Areas of conflict, such as the Jebel Marra region, are difficult environments in which to implement and evaluate programs. The CRS evaluation best practices manual does not explicitly provide guidance on the best impact evaluation methods to utilize in areas of conflict. A review of best practice literature found that there are five barriers to impact evaluations in areas of conflict: safety, ethics, flexibility, data, and community interaction. The CRS Sudan office is using a pre-post study to evaluate the impact of their program. The recommendations for evaluating the impact of this CRS program and future CRS interventions in Jebel Marra are: continuing to use pre-post studies if conflict stays the same; transition to post-only studies if conflict worsens; and transition to interrupted time series studies if conflict improves.

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9. West African Migration A Secondary Needs Assessment of Migrant Profiles, Trends and Programmatic Gaps. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) West Africa Regional Office (WARO) commissioned a secondary data needs assessment to provide a more in-depth, up to date and comprehensive understanding of migration and priorities across the West Africa region. As dynamic ebbs and flows are not contained within the borders of one or even a few countries, the assessment provided an in-depth assessment and analysis at the sub-regional level to include an examination of migrant profiles, the relationship between migration and gender, youth, conflict and climate change, and the overall policy landscape governing migration trends in West Africa and Europe. The objectives of the assessment were to 1) outline West Africa regional trends, dynamics and priority needs as supported by available research and/or programmatic data and literature, 2) identify priority critical gaps in information and areas of geographic focus for potential primary data collection efforts, and 3) provide/identify initial programmatic directions as supported by assessment findings and that fall within the organizational mandate of CRS.

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Social Impact

10. Cost Effectiveness Analysis and Plan for Cost Benefit Analysis for A Ganar in Honduras. A Ganar program in Honduras is a sports based youth workforce development program, funded by USAID and currently is being evaluated by Social Impact Inc. This project course is to design a cost effectiveness analysis with the existing data from impact evaluation of A Ganar and to compare A Ganar with other similar youth workforce development programs in Latin America. 

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Logistics Management Institute (LMI)

11. FEMA and Emergency Preparedness: What should the government do when the world is in trouble? Logistics Management Institute (LMI) is interested in researching whether or not there is a need within the federal government to aid in evaluating the readiness metrics to measure emergency preparedness. LMI hopes to potentially look into building a readiness reporting system that can be beneficial to the Department of Defense. If that is a success, the client hopes to be able to generate a readiness reporting system that could be used throughout the federal government, a way to contract out emergency preparedness readiness metrics that can be consistent with the best that is available. In order to assess if there was a need to address within the readiness reporting system and a need for metrics evaluation I researched the current system. Currently the readiness reporting metrics are flawed and do not measure what they should. There is much work that needs to be done to understand how to better understand and remedy this situation. In this report, I list out the major hurdles that agencies and departments (as well as FEMA) face such as resources, unskilled staff, measurements of the wrong variables, a lack of understanding of the program theory, and a lack of understanding of proper evaluation. LMI is furthering their studies in to this topic in an attempt to evaluate the readiness metrics as well as trying to create enhanced performance measures to aid in readiness response reporting.

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