We had a chance to catch up with Alix Zwane of Evidence Action, who was in Oxford for the Skoll World Forum, on the 10th April. She gave us an update on what Evidence Action is up to.
It’s always a pleasure to touch base with the Executive Directors of our recommended charities, not just because of their dedication to work that we find so important and interesting, but because they are all lovely people to get on with. This was the first time we’d met Alix in person, and we enjoyed catching up in the cafe of Modern Art Oxford.
We were particularly interested to hear about the Deworm the World Initiative’s progress, the importance of which was summed up neatly by Alix: a great measure of a country’s equity in health services is progress against neglected tropical diseases, as these affect the poorest and most marginalized. The DtW Initiative is as strong as ever and still expanding. DtWI is exploring beginning work in additional states in India, and beginning work in Vietnam with new partners. Another of their potential new projects involves a collaboration with SCI- it’s great to hear that two such effective charities are working together!
We also chatted about other, broader work being done in the field. Currently there is new scientific interest in the potential to break transmission of soil transmitted helminths via mass drug administration. There have been some big wins for deworming recently, including a new $120 million commitment to control STH’s, spearheaded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Evidence Action is also exploring a range of new projects less focused around water or NTDs. These include a remedial education programme for young children in Kenya, in partnership with the government there. The evidence base for this work has been documented by the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which advocates for “teaching at the right level” as a cost effective education approach in developing countries.
Evidence Action remains focused on projects in health and development that work, and we can look to them and their sister organizations, J-PAL and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) for first-hand knowledge of how to effectively tackle some of the world’s most pressing, preventable and lingering problems.