Sneaking Evidence into Policy-Making: the role of evaluator-turned-advisor

“Your job is to slip some common sense past the prime minister without her noticing.”

Rachel Glennerster, now Executive Director of J-PAL, remembers being tasked with the above burden while working for the UK Treasury during Margaret Thatcher’s term.  It’s a shared burden among policy advisors, and one that can be made easier or harder, depending on the political environment of the time.  The more evaluators are called to provide new proof for policy, the more we must learn how to navigate the political world in a way that furthers the mission of making evidence-based decisions.

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How do you say “charge the tablet” in K’iche’?: Evaluating tech* interventions in Mayan language communities

We just finished our first year piloting an educational intervention which uses tablets to provide access to over one hundred educational games and books for children.  At year’s end, my team and I were in charge of conducting a first-level qualitative evaluation to determine the program’s merits for expansion.  While the kids were the ones who received tablets, we were particularly interested in the parents’ perceptions of the school’s program.

More on evaluating tech in a Mayan language…