USI South Asia Matchmaking Conference

Colombo, Sri Lanka

On July 18th and 19th, J-PAL hosted the first regional matchmaking conference for its Urban Services Initiative (USI) at Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Colombo conference brought together researchers and practitioners active in urban service delivery (particularly water, sanitation, and hygiene) throughout South Asia. The aim of the conference was to stimulate discussion on innovative micro-solutions to the need for better urban public services, and what collaboration opportunities might exist between the researchers and practitioners. 

Representatives attended from a variety of organizations: local city governments, UNICEF (Sri Lanka), the UK Department for International Development (Bangladesh), 3ie, local researchers, and several NGOs from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Existing randomized impact evaluations were presented – such as J-PAL’s communal sanitation project in Odisha, India – and breakout sessions were held in which researchers and practitioners who share similar regional and thematic interest discussed and mapped out opportunities for collaboration.