Mar 19, 2014

Fundamentals, Not Fads: Pratham Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Social Innovation Review by Kim Jonker and William F. Meehan III

In part one of a six-part series that highlights the experience of prize-winning leaders in the social sector, the Stanford Social Innovation Review recognizes Pratham, 2010 recipient of the Henry R. Kravis Prize for Non-profit Leadership, for our rigorous program measurement.

According to the article, more than 75% of the nonprofits researched lack reliable impact data about whether their programs actually work. Pratham is one of the exceptions.

“The gold standard of evaluation methods is the randomized controlled trial (RCT),” notes authors Kim Jonker and William F. Meehan III.

While many organizations avoid RCTs due to their expense and the risk of highlighting failures, Pratham has completed 11 RCTs in the last 12 years.

Our partnership with MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a research center known for their rigorous scientific evaluations and RCTs, helps us to continually assess program effectiveness and to make adjustments as needed.

“RCTs have been tremendously helpful in letting us zoom in on a strategy that works,” says Pratham co-founder and CEO Dr. Madhav Chavan. “The data give us impetus to act. Yes, the RCT process is expensive, but the value is enormous. The RCT process builds internal capacity. After we started doing RCTs, we acquired a better understanding of how to think of impact with a mindset that constantly tries to maximize it.”

Read the full article.