Report Series: From Evidence to Policy

This is a note series on learning what works, from the Human Development Network.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 77
  • Publication
    Kenya: Can Scripted Schooling Improve Learning?
    (Washington, DC, 2022-10) World Bank
    Before the COVID pandemic, more than half of children in low and middle-income countries suffered from learning poverty: they either were out of school or failed to learn to read with comprehension by age 10. At the same time, numerous studies have documented serious challenges related to the quality of education services, particularly for those serving poor students. In a country like Kenya, for example, teachers exhibit low levels of content and pedagogical knowledge. Previous research has shown that highly structured teaching guides could improve literacy, but scripted lessons are not without critics, who worry that teachers will not be able to adapt content to student’s needs. In places where teachers may be less prepared to tailor high quality lessons to their students, however, scripting may offer a way to standardize a minimum level of quality at scale.
  • Publication
    Rwanda: Can Parenting Programs Improve Child Development and Prevent Violence Against Women and Children?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-11) World Bank
    Children need a safe, nurturing, healthy, and stimulating environment to thrive and reach their full potential. But millions of children living in poverty don’t receive enough stimulation or good nutrition in their first years of life, and poverty also makes them more likely to experience neglect and violence in the home. Domestic violence, however, is rarely addressed in programs promoting young children’s development, which also typically focus on mothers, with little attention on fathers. Previous research suggests home-based parenting programs can lead to positive improvements in children’s brain development. Can these programs be adapted to address family violence as well Can these services be effectively delivered through government social safety net programs which often target poor, vulnerable families
  • Publication
    India: Can We Make Parenting Programs More Cost-Effective?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) World Bank
    In the first years of life, all children need healthy food, a clean environment, and stimulation to thrive and reach their full developmental potential. However, poverty prevents millions of young children in low- and middle-income countries from receiving adequate nutrition and stimulation. As a result, many disadvantaged children’s brain development lags behind that of their well-off peers, which can have lifelong consequences. Previous research from low-income settings has found that encouraging parents to play and interact more with their children can improve children’s brain development, with impacts that can last into adulthood. Delivering these parenting programs at scale and in a cost-effective manner, however, has been a challenge, in part because some of the most successful programs have been delivered through intensive and relatively costly home-based programs.
  • Publication
    Armenia: Increasing Preventive Screening for Non-Communicable Diseases in Armenia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) World Bank
    More people around the world are dying from noncommunicable diseases than ever before. These diseases, which include cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and heart disease, prematurely kill more than 15 million people between ages 30 and 69 each year. Many of these health conditions also make individuals more susceptible to severe forms of other diseases like Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study targeted adults between the ages of 35 and 68 in Armenia who had not been screened in the preceding year. The baseline data suggests this population was not economically secure: half of participants responded that their income was sufficient for basic family needs, such as food, clothing, and utilities, but not enough for big purchases like a car, while 35 percent responded that their income is sufficient for everyday food but not for clothes and other basic needs. More than half of those in the study were unemployed. This research finds that conditional incentives and personalized invitations can substantially increase screening for diabetes and hypertension for those who haven’t been recently screened. Further research may be needed to evaluate these interventions at scale.
  • Publication
    Rwanda: Can Performance Pay for Teachers Improve Students’ Learning?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-01) World Bank
    Performance pay for teachers generates debate. Proponents argue that many school systems have low levels of accountability and advocate incentivizing teachers by linking their pay to either their own efforts or their students’ learning. Critics, however, raise concerns that performance pay attracts people to the teaching workforce who are in it for the money and can diminish the intrinsic motivation to teach among teachers already in classrooms.
  • Publication
    Philippines: Can Subsidized Microloans Increase Toilet Ownership and Use for Poor Households?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) World Bank
    The World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund supported a randomized controlled trial from 2015-2018 to assess the extent to which subsidized microloans can enable households to build and use improved toilets. The loans, which carried zero interest, included toilet installation and were offered to poor beneficiaries who also received sanitation behavior change promotion as part of a social safety net program. The large financial subsidy led to modestly higher coverage of improved toilets, better toilet quality, and greater satisfaction, while the small subsidy did not improve access to improved sanitation. Among those who took out the subsidized loans, 59 percent already had improved toilets, which explains the limited effects on improved sanitation and open defecation. Overall, these findings suggest that subsidy programs hold promise, but need to be better targeted.
  • Publication
    Bangladesh: Improving School Readiness with an Additional Year of Preschool
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07-21) Spier, Elizabeth; Kamto Sonke, Kevin; Molotsky, Adria; Rahman, A. F. M. Azizur; Hossain, Najmul; Nahar, Zannatun; Khondker, Hosneara
    Early learning experiences promote child development and help children get prepared for school, providing children with a foundation for learning that can last into primary school and well beyond. Evidence suggests the positive impacts of these experiences are particularly pronounced for disadvantaged children, who often have limited access to learning materials and stimulation at home, and policymakers around the world have expanded access to preprimary education. But how much preprimary education do children need? Is one year enough, or do children reap additional benefits from two years of preschool?
  • Publication
    Madagascar: What’s the Most Effective Way to Tackle Chronic Malnutrition and Poor Child Development?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) World Bank
    Young children everywhere need sufficient nutrition and stimulation to grow and develop appropriately. A healthy, diverse diet and a supportive caregiving environment can help children grow and develop in their early years, and also make children more likely to succeed later in life. Across low income countries, however, hundreds of millions of children don’t get enough healthy food for their bodies and brains to develop fully, putting them at a disadvantage starting from an early age. With so many children at risk of stunted growth and development, policymakers are urgently seeking effective and scalable approaches to improve children’s outcomes.
  • Publication
    Cambodia: Can New and Improved Preschools Improve Child Development in Rural Communities?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) Berkes, Jan; Bouguen, Adrien; Filmer, Deon; Fukao, Tsuyoshi
    Early childhood is a critical period for growth and development. Research shows that giving young children enough nurturing and stimulating experiences during these early years not only improves their chances of success in school but can also help them succeed and be more productive later in life. Although access to preschool has increased substantially in recent years, in many low-income communities’ children don’t receive any educational services before they start primary school. In some cases, parents aren’t aware of the value of early education and might not take advantage of opportunities to enroll their children in preschool, even when services are available.
  • Publication
    Bangladesh: Can Automated Chlorination at Shared Water Taps Reduce Disease in Urban Slums?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04) World Bank
    Safe drinking water is essential for healthy human development and survival, but millions of poor people in low-income countries only have access to contaminated drinking water. For children, the problem is particularly dangerous and deadly, with diarrheal diseases like typhoid and cholera responsible for approximately 800,000 child deaths each year.