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Does information work? Presentation by Rakesh Rajani

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Does information work? Presentation by Rakesh Rajani, at ODI Washington Conference, Feb 2014

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Does information work? Presentation by Rakesh Rajani

  1. 1. Does information work? Lessons from two Twaweza cases in East Africa Rakesh Rajani / twaweza.org / @rakeshrajani / 28 February 2014
  2. 2. Information Citizens Agency Improved Service Delivery Outcomes private agency public agency
  3. 3. Case I – Daraja
  4. 4. Sources: Afrobarometer; WaterAid % of rural Tanzanian citizens identifying selected issues among top three priorities for government to address Addressing a real, felt need
  5. 5. Programme model Citizens Database Media Local Government SMS-based feedback mechanism Media partnerships for accountability Popularising information
  6. 6. In practice District / Category Number of texts received Number of texts forwarded to DWEs Number of actions taken Njombe 35 13 11 Morogoro Rural 41 17 4 Mbozi 60 23 5 Total 136 53 20 Others (outside pilot area) 308 150 1 Unusable sms texts (unintelligible, wrong number, etc.) 631 Total 1072 208 21
  7. 7. Why did it fail?
  8. 8. Case II – Uwezo
  9. 9. A lot has been invested in education: Source: Tanzania Ministry of Education
  10. 10. 1 Primary School Leaving Examination; 2 Certification of Secondary Education Examination; 3 Grade A-C; 4 Division I-IV Source: National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA), Big Results Now But these investments do not turn into results
  11. 11. Source: Uwezo Percentage who can do the Std 2 level, Tanzania (2011) On completion of primary schooling, many still cannot read Std 2
  12. 12. Communications
  13. 13. Average Treatment Effects: Citizens Actions (Public Agency) Involved in improving education If actions taken to improve school Participated in education groups If meetings attended on education Contributed to education groups Villagers approached officials Villagers asked officials to improve government If actions taken to improve outcomes
  14. 14. Average Treatment Effects: Private Actions (Private Agency) Do you help with reading Did you read to child last week Do you help with writing Do you help with math Do you ask about teacher presence If possible consider switching schools
  15. 15. Causal chain From Liberman, Posner and Tsai
  16. 16. Concluding thoughts • "Does information work?" is a very bad question • People's experiences and bandwidth matter more than the merits of the issue • Only a few will be the trigger actors among citizens and govts, and our antenna to know and work with them are clunky • Don't underestimate the power of ideas and storytelling in shifting norms • Since there are no guarantees, curiosity is as good as it gets

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