Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and J-PAL LAC partner to promote evidence-based decision-making in Guatemala
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)—through its regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean (J-PAL LAC)—announced their partnership to promote the use and generation of evidence for the design of public policies and social programs in Guatemala. During the next years, both organizations will implement research, carry out activities for strengthening local capacities, and disseminate existing evidence to ensure that decision-making is informed by evidence.
J-PAL has built long-standing partnerships to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. During 20 years, it has connected the dots from research to action: J-PAL’s global network of more than 750 researchers has carried out more than 1,640 randomized evaluations in 95 countries, while J-PAL staff has helped disseminate the results of those studies and offered education and training for conducting rigorous evaluations. This experience will be complemented by UVG’s strategic position as the leading private university in Central America, to work with local researchers, NGOs, government organizations, donors, and other interested parties to create a culture of evidence use in Guatemala.
Paula Pedro, Executive Director at J-PAL LAC, said: “Combining J-PAL’s experience with UVG’s strategic position in Central America will allow us to carry out new research, disseminate evidence, and strengthen the local capacities in Guatemala. This will facilitate creating a culture of evidence use in decision-making among organizations and governments to continuously improve the lives of the people in Guatemala, and eventually in other countries of the region”
PROSA, boosting Early Childhood Development
J-PAL LAC and UVG's collaboration will start with PROSA, an acronym for “Programa de Sondeo y Arranque”, which means “screening and launching program” in Spanish. This project will map programs related to Early Childhood Development (ECD)—ranging from early stimulation to nutrition and health interventions—and evaluate their joint impact on the lives of 0-5 years old children.
Constanza Alarcón Cordón, PROSA Manager, said: “There is relevant ECD work in progress in the northern part of Central America, but we need to work together to improve it. We will hold meetings with private and government organizations working on innovative interventions around ECD to push evidence use and co-creation in Guatemala, and we seek to eventually use the lessons learned by this experience in other Central American countries such as El Salvador and Honduras”.
Beyond Early Childhood Development
The partnership aims to create a culture of evidence use beyond ECD, through three key action lines:
- Disseminating evidence in priority topics: Nutrition, preventive health, home environment, stimulation, and early childhood education.
- Strengthening capacities of organizations and researchers based in the region to generate and use evidence and data.
- Promoting and supporting the co-creation of research.
Monica Stein Coronado, Vice Rector for Research, Collaboration, and Partnership at UVG said: “At UVG, we recognize the importance of this work for the region. As an academic institution, we have seen how putting research into action can change lives. With J-PAL global experience we hope to generate meaningful changes in ECD and the general use of evidence for the design of public policies and social programs in the region. We are excited to join forces to build on this path to help improve lives in Guatemala and eventually other countries like El Salvador and Honduras.”
The partnership will be launched in a ceremony on July 21, 2023 at UVG’s central campus. The event will be presented by Roberto Moreno, Rector at UVG, Paula Pedro, Executive Director at J-PAL LAC, and key allies.
Media Contact, J-PAL LAC: Gaby Bustamante, [email protected]
About J-PAL LAC
Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 750 researchers at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL LAC, based at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile), leads since 2009 our work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala was founded more than 50 years ago, with the purpose of offering higher education using modern pedagogical techniques. In 1994, UVG opened Campus Sur, located in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, and in 2000 Campus Altiplano, in Sololá. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala has seven schools: Sciences and Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering, Education, Business, Design, Innovation and Arts, Architecture, and the University College. UVG has more than 6,500 students distributed among its three campuses.