J-PAL South Asia @ 10

A decade of research to guide policy action

Milestones from J-PAL South Asia’s first decade in reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence.

Timeline | Testimonials | Communications


Large staff photo in front of palm trees

  • 165 payroll staff, 1000 field staff, 72 projects, 9 offices in India with training partnerships in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Institutional partnership signed with the state Government of Punjab: to support the government in taking an evidence-informed approach to its poverty alleviation efforts.
  • New areas: early childhood education, skilling, non-communicable diseases, direct benefit transfers, data analytics using administrative data, gender, crime.
  • We are creating impact through research: ‘Targeting the Ultra-Poor’ evaluation; ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ evaluations, Gujarat pollution project now a statewide reform in Gujarat; MGNREGA funds flow research in Bihar with cabinet approval for nationwide roll-out; ‘Training Informal Healthcare Providers’ in West Bengal; and several other projects that have influenced policy decisions.

Photo: Field Staff Training 2017


Four people pose with official MoU document

  • Memorandum of Understanding with National Civil Service Academy to strengthen senior civil servants’ understanding of evaluation methodology, existing evidence of what works, and how impact evaluations can be used to make better policy decisions.
  • State Government-funded TUP scale-up initiated in Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
  • Union Cabinet approves nation-wide fund-flow reforms for MGNREGA, influenced by results from an evaluation in Bihar.
  • Cash Transfers for Child Health Initiative (CaTCH) launched with the aim of generating rigorous policy-relevant evidence on the design and delivery of cash transfer programmes in India.

Photo: Memorandum of Understanding signed with the National Civil Service Academy


Four people inspecting a factory

  • Scale-ups: Reform by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) of its environmental auditing system based on J-PAL evaluation; Targeting the Ultra-Poor (TUP) programme to help poor women graduate from extreme poverty: scale-up pilots in Bihar and Odisha.
  • New course on Measurement and Survey Design to equip M&E and research professionals with good data collection and survey design skills.
  • J-PAL South Asia Twitter handle launched: @J-PAL_SA.
  • J-PAL South Asia hosts suite of research projects under the Payments and Governance Research Programme to study direct benefit transfers, in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Photo: Conducting an environmental audit in Gujarat


Government officials and J-PAL leadership sit at large table

  • Institutional partnership signed with Government of Tamil Nadu to institutionalise the use of evidence in policymaking by evaluating innovative programmes, strengthening monitoring systems, and enhancing the officials’ capacity to produce and use scientific evidence.
  • First field staff training held for field staff of J-PAL South Asia projects.

Photo: MoU signing with the Government of Tamil Nadu


Three women wait in line at health clinic

  • First training for probationer-level officers of the Indian Economic Service (IES) on Monitoring and Evaluation. The training focused on the use of impact evaluation to inform policymaking and programme design. 
  • Collaboration with Government of West Bengal to test the impact of training informal healthcare providers in India.

Photo: Women at a rural pregnancy clinic in Adapur, Bihar, India. Travel Stock | Shutterstock.com


Two women sit together, one entering data into a tablet

  • 57 payroll staff, 19 projects, 4 offices in India with training partnerships in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Workshop on ‘Early Grade Reading’ in partnership with USAID India exploring global evidence produced by randomised evaluations, to design more effective programmes in India. 
  • Teaching at the Right-Level: Teacher-led model evaluated in Haryana government schools.
  • Started Digital Data Collection through mobile phones and tablets.

Photo: Data collection through tablet in Bhubaneswar, Odisha


Man lectures in front of a class

  • First Scale-up: School-based Deworming through partner Evidence Action through Deworm the World initiative in Bihar.
  • A dedicated Policy and Training team to create new content, disseminate knowledge about “what works” in poverty alleviation and partner with policymakers to scale up effective programmes.
  • Selected to host the South Asia Center for CLEAR (Regional Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results), a World Bank-led initiative, to help build monitoring and evaluation capacity in the region. through training courses and advisory services.
  • Begins long-term partnership with India’s National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) to conduct evidence workshops and trainings on impact evaluations for senior civil servants of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
  • First set of external engagements begin in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh via training workshops.

Photo: Training of Indian Administrative Services Officers


A group of people pose in front of a J-PAL banner

  • Bihar Policy Conference: partnered with the Government of Bihar for a conference with 100 top policymakers of the state. As a direct result of the conference, the Government of Bihar decided to implement universal school-based deworming to improve health and school attendance.
  • Replications: Evaluating the impact on anaemia of making double-fortified salt available in Bihar; and evaluating the impact of a biometric attendance tracking system on staff attendance and patient health in primary health centers, with the Government of Karnataka. 
  • An in-house Survey and Data Operations team set up to collect primary data for evaluations.

Photo: J-PAL directors and affiliates with Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and other government officials


Staff pose for a group photo

Photo: First Staff Training, 2009


Girl works on a test while a man supervises

  • First project with state governments (Uttarakhand and Bihar) after J-PAL SA was formally set up, to evaluate Pratham’s ‘Read India’ programme.
  • Research Manager (Team Leader) position created in South Asia to manage multiple projects.
  • Delhi Voters’ Project initiated to understand whether voters make informed choices when presented with performance evidence of incumbents.

Photo: Surveyor administering the test


Man hands package to woman holding infant

  • Established at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai, India, with support of the Mulago Foundation
  • First NGO partners in India – Pratham and Seva Mandir with evaluations on:

Photo: Woman receiving a kilogram of lentils as a reward for having her child vaccinated, Rajasthan.