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Amérique du Sud

Designing evaluation and communication for impact for cyber policy centres – DECI-4

Numerous strategic evaluations have found that learning and communications are key to research for development interventions. However, strategic learning and communications for development is challenging, and projects need adaptive strategies tailored to complex and changing contexts to ensure that research contributes to positive change in policy ecosystems. There is no blueprint for effective research for development, but it requires agility and forward thinking. This project provides organizational capacity building to help cyber policy centres (CPCs) improve their research impact by enhancing their capacities in evaluation, research communication, and adaptive management.

The CPC initiative supports organizational strengthening for a set of regional “think and do tanks” that specialize in public policy research at the forefront of artificial intelligence, data, and internet societies. Designing evaluation and communication for impact (DECI) is the principal mechanism for strengthening this group of institutions. The DECI-4 project combines evaluation, communication, and learning methods with mentoring throughout the project cycle. External evaluations have demonstrated that IDRC grantees benefit from having a learning partner and mentor who supports reflection, strategic planning, and adaptive management practices to help strengthen organizational development.

DECI-4 will also conduct a program-wide evaluation of the CPC modality to help IDRC assess the impact and effectiveness of the approach. As per its own approach to change, the CPC program has a set of assumptions that merit review and confirmation. The review will help IDRC understand how the support has led to organizational strengthening and it will identify expected and unexpected outcomes.

Project ID
109338
Project Status
Active
Duration
24 months
IDRC Officer
Ruhiya Seward
Total Funding
CA$ 226,875.00
Location
South America
South Asia
South of Sahara
Programs
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Canada
Project Leader
Institution
New Economy Development Group, Inc.

Besieged lives: Solutions-oriented evidence on young women, economic opportunities and violence in Latin America

Of the world’s ten countries with the highest youth homicide rates, half are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Youth are overrepresented in crime statistics both as perpetrators and as victims of violence. This violence has lasting effects on their economic, social, and educational opportunities.

A vast number of socio-economic programs and policies in the region are based on the unsubstantiated assumption that unemployment and lack of economic opportunities for youth drive violence, leading to the conclusion that creating economic opportunities is the way to “pull youth out of violence”. Learnings from IDRC-supported projects in Latin America demonstrate that the drivers of violence are more complex; that engaging youth in the construction of safer spaces is paramount to any program’s success; and that non-violent populations are unfairly stigmatized and deprived of employment opportunities simply because they live in violent territories, which then fosters cycles of violence.

A key knowledge gap is that young women’s experiences seeking economic opportunities in violent contexts are less understood and less represented in public policies than those of young men. As a result, this project seeks to generate new evidence on the specific challenges facing young women and to identify promising and scalable public and private interventions that can address violence and promote their economic inclusion.

To carry out this work, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) is implementing a competitive call for proposals that will ultimately support up to six projects. FLACSO is responsible for providing funding to these projects, ensuring their technical and administrative quality, and ensuring communication activities and synthesis of findings across projects to promote regional-level policy uptake.

Project ID
109261
Project Status
Active
Duration
36 months
IDRC Officer
Carolina Robino
Total Funding
CA$ 1,145,800.00
Location
South America
Programs
Governance and Justice
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Costa Rica
Institution
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales/Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences

Understanding the role of artificial intelligence for development in Latin America

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to enhance productivity and innovation around the world. Its influence will be widespread because it can be integrated and applied to almost any activity that involves information and communication technologies. The expected benefits promise to be transformative, but the negative repercussions could be magnified in developing countries, where the livelihoods of many people are precarious and social institutions can be fragile.

In an effort to improve understanding of how to ethically and equitably implement AI in the development context, this project will work with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to produce the knowledge necessary to create better informed AI policies and institutions. The initiative will also engage and support government AI projects by building evidence that supports the goal of inclusive AI solutions and scales them across the region. The knowledge produced by these activities will be used to build the capacity of key actors in the AI ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Coordinated by the Latin American Initiative on Open Data, a regional “think and do” tank in Uruguay, and the Centro de Política Digital para América Latina, Asociación Civil in Mexico, this grant will contribute to building the foundation of an inclusive, ethically grounded, and rights-based AI field in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Project ID
109138
Project Status
Active
Duration
30 months
IDRC Officer
Fernando Perini
Total Funding
CA$ 736,800.00
Location
South America
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Uruguay
Project Leader
Institution
Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos

Initiative for Digital Rights in Latin America (INDELA)

As we increasingly conduct our lives online, our digital rights, particularly the rights to privacy and freedom of expression, are becoming more important. We need to understand how our data is used by companies and governments. Policymakers everywhere are only now debating and proposing some necessary, if incomplete, legislative fixes, while citizens and stakeholders are beginning to understand their rights and vulnerabilities in the online environment. Meanwhile, the multinational technology sector has cornered data-driven business models to fuel their market expansion, while governments are improving their surveillance capacities. Now is the time to be monitoring and educating to ensure fundamental rights are protected in law and practice. This is very pertinent in Latin America, where there are too few institutions capable of mounting the sustained efforts necessary to promote and defend rights or develop ecosystems that support policy debates. The digital rights policy ecosystem needs to develop, establish stronger cross-regional linkages, and attract more varied sources of support. In addition, the mechanisms for coordinating regional initiatives need to be less haphazard.

The Initiative for Digital Rights in Latin America/Iniciativa por los Derechos Digitales en Latinoamérica (INDELA) is a three-year collaborative re-granting/funding arrangement intended to strengthen and support the digital rights ecosystem in Latin America. It ensures a consistent pool of funding to support institutional capacity building needs and to tackle current challenges and opportunities of digital rights in Latin America. The INDELA Fund has three overarching goals: to equip digital rights actors, to promote collaboration between organizations, and to strengthen coordination among funders and organizations in the region.

Based on identifying existing shared priorities among different funders and organizations in the digital rights field, the Fund will prioritize projects that promise to deliver specific results on issues that include privacy; freedom of expression (including content regulation, internet shutdowns, net neutrality, and “fake news”); accountability of governments and corporations; and access to knowledge (including copyright reform). Funding can support policy work, advocacy, campaigning, public awareness, action-oriented research, and protecting and promoting digital rights.

Project ID
109129
Project Status
Active
Duration
24 months
IDRC Officer
Fernando Perini
Total Funding
CA$ 332,300.00
Location
South America
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Panama
Project Leader
Institution
Fundación Avina

Strengthening cyber policy research centres in the Global South – Derechos Digitales

Networking technologies are increasingly at the heart of economic, social, and political activities. While digital tools improve people’s ability to innovate, organize, document, and share, they may also be used for surveillance, tracking, censorship, and repression. Thus, as networking and communication tools are facilitating new opportunities, they are also introducing new vulnerabilities into the digital ecosystem that require new standards, skills, and applications to enable digitally driven development. Leaders and policymakers, particularly in the Global South, generally lack the evidence and objective advice to develop effective regulation in the digital space. Few organizations have a specific research orientation on cyber policy issues and there is a shortage of experts able to provide rigorous, evidence-based advice on cyber policy.

The Cyber Policy Centre initiative is helping to ensure that policymakers in the Global South consistently use objective, high quality research to inform digital policy development. It is helping to strengthen research and policy capacity on critical digital policy issues and facilitate research centres to develop a robust policy research agenda that addresses all facets of cyber and digital policy. It will help build institutional capacity and sustainability to produce credible, legitimate, and locally relevant research that convenes different perspectives on critical policy issues. This will enable policy leaders to respond to the rapidly changing digital environment and allow communities to benefit from the opportunities that digital innovation offers, including improved health, governance, education, and economic prospects, while shielding them as much as possible from the harms.

Six research centres from Chile, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, and Sri Lanka will participate in this initiative. The project will support a grant to Derechos Digitales, an independent non-profit digital rights organization based in Chile that primarily focuses its advocacy work on freedom of expression, privacy, and access to knowledge in Latin America. The grant will allow Derechos Digitales to carry out a cyber policy research agenda, in collaboration with Mexico-based Centro Latam Digital, to inform digital policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Project ID
109110
Project Status
Active
Duration
24 months
IDRC Officer
Fernando Perini
Total Funding
CA$ 562,800.00
Location
South America
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Chile
Project Leader
Institution
Organización no Gubernamental de Desarrollo, Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos en el Entorno Digital

Enhancing economic opportunities for the extreme poor: a gender transformative graduation approach

Despite Latin America's progress in reducing poverty, a quarter of its population still lives in poverty. The pace of reducing extreme poverty has slowed in recent years and inequalities, which are even more acute among rural households, persist. The poorest are still left behind and women are overrepresented among them.

In recent years, a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction known as “graduation” has been tested in a number of low and middle-income countries. The graduation approach aims to enhance the assets that allow households to become self-sufficient as well as to build capacity to cope with shocks without falling back into extreme poverty.
The first generation of graduation pilot programs were effective in reducing poverty, but they had limited capacity to be scaled up. With IDRC and Ford Foundation funding, Fundación Capital, an inclusive financing and asset-building organization focused on eliminating poverty, has made important adaptations to the foundational model so that it can be scaled up and implemented by governments. These adaptations have been assessed and studies show positive impacts. To date, more than 145,000 people are benefiting from these programs in the region.

Although 80% of direct participants of the graduation programs are women and evidence shows they are enhancing resilience and better livelihoods, these programs might fall short in promoting gender equality. This includes the need to address restrictive social norms, unequal control of resources, and unintended consequences such as potential increases in intimate partner violence.
This project will support the implementation of scalable approaches by identifying, testing, and evaluating relevant tools and practices to integrate a gender lens in “graduation” programs. It will seek to address systemic barriers, including social norms, roles, and practices that are at the core of gender inequalities.

This project will be implemented by Fundación Capital and the Lima, Peru-based Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, a think tank that advocates for poverty reduction and inclusion of vulnerable, marginalized groups. By 2020, the project is expected to reach more than 1 million people in the region. It will also inform the global graduation community of practice, with the potential to reach more than 25 countries where graduation programs are being implemented.

Project ID
108981
Project Status
Active
Duration
28 months
IDRC Officer
Carolina Robino
Total Funding
CA$ 1,074,000.00
Location
Honduras
Mexico
Paraguay
Peru
South America
Programs
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Panama
Project Leader
Institution
Fundación Capital - FundaK
Institution Country
Peru
Project Leader
Institution
Instituto de Estudios Peruanos

Gendered Design in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math)

This project will contribute to more inclusive technological designs in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) by building capacity in gendered innovations. Gendered innovations are new or improved products and processes designed using sex and gender analysis and that generate substantial benefits for society and advance gender equality.

Responding to gaps in gendered research and design, the project seeks to expand and enhance the community of experts and innovators in gendered innovation, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs); develop gendered case studies and design projects that are driven by LMIC interests and researchers; and make gendered challenges in the design of technologies more visible to researchers, designers, and innovators, particularly in LMICs.

Carleton University, in close collaboration with multidisciplinary experts in Canada and LMICs, will manage and coordinate the primary activities: calls for case studies as well as prototype and process designs; the delivery of complementary training and mentoring; and knowledge synthesis. The calls will be open to a number of countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia and up to 30 small grants will support both face-to-face and virtual capacity-building activities. Outputs will include up to 20 case studies and 10 design prototypes, up to 60 graduate students trained, publications, and a public science portal of virtual/online exhibits.

The project will strengthen the community of scholars and innovators engaged in gendered innovation, leading to a new network, particularly in LMICs. The project is structured to foster mutual learning and long-lasting partnerships among institutions of higher learning in LMICs and Canada.

Project ID
108889
Project Status
Active
Duration
36 months
IDRC Officer
Claire Thompson
Total Funding
CA$ 1,100,000.00
Location
South America
South Asia
South of Sahara
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Foundations for Innovation
Institution Country
Canada
Project Leader
Institution
Carleton University

CDKN Knowledge accelerator for climate compatible development: Operating costs for capacity building

This operational project will support the implementation of the Knowledge Accelerator for Climate Compatible Development project (#108754) by covering the operational costs including salaries and benefits, travel, and office costs. The Knowledge Accelerator project is funded through a partnership between the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) in the Netherlands and the IDRC created in 2018 to a 3 year, joint CA$ 12,120,000 initiative that will be implemented by South South North (SSN), a South African based not-for-profit organization. The Knowledge Accelerator project will consolidate and further grow the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), to broker practical and tailored knowledge on climate and development for its use and application in decision making in the Global South. It aims to create an enabling environment for implementation and scaling of climate and development actions. The country-level work will focus on 9 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. This desired overall long-term impact of the Knowledge Accelerator programme is for key actors in developing countries, and those working at global and regional levels, to make more robust and informed decisions that enhance climate resilient low carbon development at scale in ways that benefit poor and vulnerable women and men.

The objective of this operational project is to support and assure the delivery of the Knowledge Accelerator programme (#108754) and the organizational development of CDKN. The project covers the operational costs of a full time senior program officer and the travel and office costs associated with that programme’s delivery. The staff member, based in Ottawa, will be responsible for project oversight, capacity support to partners and monitoring.

Project ID
108871
Project Status
Active
Duration
35 months
IDRC Officer
Bruce Currie-Alder
Total Funding
CA$ 605,485.00
Location
North of Sahara
South of Sahara
South America
South Asia
Programs
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Climate and Development Knowledge Network

OD4D Phase II

In an era of rapid change and increasing mistrust in institutions, open data and the surrounding communities that use it, are working to shift norms and culture to create dialogue and collaboration between governments, civil society and the private sector. Open data – that is freely accessible, standardized, and easily readable data –– can help to increase transparency and accountability for governments, build new business opportunities and support technologies such as artificial intelligence, and also improve services for citizens and increase participation and evidence in addressing key development challenges. The Open Data for Development network of hubs and global initiatives help ensure the release of meaningful data, support the creation of effective policies around data use, and support local innovations that use data in ways that lead to better development in spaces like health, cities, agriculture and education. As the community and the work they are leading has matured, there are new opportunities and entry points to use the open data in meaningful ways to advance development outcomes and the Sustainable Development Goals. New opportunities to advance gender equality using open data are also emerging, such as mapping out how women and girls use government services in order to design more responsive services, and exploring how releasing better data on femicides can be a catalyst for developing new interventions to combat violence against women.

Building on the successful first phase of OD4D (2015-2017), a new phase of the program will leverage this leading global network to address sector specific demands and benefit the most marginalized in the Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. OD4D’s regional hubs will continue to provide technical support for governments, will support the development of relevant open data interventions, and support research into balanced policies, data standards and best practices. Building on a contribution of Global Affairs Canada to the program, the new phase of work will prioritize gender equality in support to Canada`s leadership in the Open Government Partnership, and support scaling of activities in least developed regions.

Project ID
108868
Project Status
Completed
End Date
Duration
22 months
IDRC Officer
Katie Clancy
Total Funding
CA$ 1,266,727.00
Location
North of Sahara
South of Sahara
Central Asia
South Asia
Far East Asia
Burkina Faso
Cambodia
Costa Rica
Ghana
Indonesia
Ivory Coast
Jordan
Kenya
Laos
Mexico
Middle East
Myanmar
North of Sahara
Philippines
Senegal
South of Sahara
South America
South of Sahara
Thailand
Tunisia
West Indies
Programs
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Open Data for Development
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Canada
Institution
Recipient(s) to be Determined -- Holding Tank
Institution Country
Uruguay
Project Leader
Institution
Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos
Institution Country
Kenya
Project Leader
Institution
Local Development Research Institute
Institution Country
Jamaica
Project Leader
Institution
The University of the West Indies
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Institution
The World Wide Web Foundation
Institution Country
Kenya
Project Leader
Institution
Local Development Research Institute
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Institution
East-West Management Institute, Inc.
Institution Country
Uruguay
Project Leader
Institution
Datos, Acceso a la Información y Transparencia

Improving Digital Education in Latin America

As Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) aims to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (“inclusive and equitable quality education”), it faces several significant challenges: low student performance, poor teacher training, and high dropout rates. Students in the region spend 2.5 years less in school than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average. Moreover, poor performance in standardized tests suggests that even students who finish their mandatory years of schooling struggle with the basic skills required to successfully enter the labour market.

Governments in the region have explored the use of educational technologies to address some of these challenges. Latin American ministries of education spent over $2 billion USD on digital devices to improve education since 2008. However, these investments have typically led to limited improvements in learning performance. There are many reasons for this, including devices that never get used, lack of integration into teacher’s pedagogical practices, limited accountability, and inconsistent monitoring and evaluation. For example, the LAC region spends about $80 billion USD a year on primary education, but since 1985 there are only 13 rigorous evaluations of programs to improve learning in math and language (*). The understanding of what works, when and how, is limited, compounded by the fast pace of technological change and limited regional expertise in understanding the impact of technology in education.

This initiative, coordinated by Centro Ceibal para el Estudio de las Tecnologías Digitales en la Educación (Centro Ceibal), a digital education research center located in Uruguay but with an international reach, aims to generate relevant policy knowledge to facilitate more inclusive, equitable and quality education through digital tools. More specifically, it will build a network of researchers and policy makers to produce knowledge and recommendations to inform policy and interventions in digital education. It will do so by testing, adapting and scaling promising digital innovations. It will also promote a culture of evidence-based policy making among government officials by strengthening research institutions and capabilities within government agencies. IDRC will invest CAD$ 1.3 million during the 3 years of the project, while Fundación Ceibal and ANII, the National Research and Innovation Agency of Uruguay (Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación) will be contributing 1.5 million USD during the same period to support solution-oriented knowledge on some of the issues identified by the project.

______________________________________________________________________________________
(*) To be included the evaluations had to comply with the following criteria: (I) were implemented in a primary school; (ii) they aimed to improve the learning of mathematics or language; (iii) the results were published after 1985; (iv) the treatment group was compared to the status quo; (v) the effects were measured at least 12 weeks after the start of the intervention; (vi) the effects were estimated using experimental evaluations, discontinuous regression, instrumental variables or differences in differences; (vii) the tests measured learning in content taught in both the treatment and control groups; (viii) the effects were measured using a continuous measure of learning; (ix) the sample included at least 200 students and 10 groups, such as schools, if the randomization was carried out at the group level; (x) the standard errors were computed by adjusting by clusters whether the randomization was carried out by groups (for example, schools); (xi) enough information was reported to calculate the effect sizes.

Project ID
108848
Project Status
Active
Duration
36 months
IDRC Officer
Ben Petrazzini
Total Funding
CA$ 1,355,600.00
Location
South America
Programs
Education and Science
Education and Science
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Uruguay
Project Leader
Institution
Centro Ceibal para el Estudio de las Tecnologías Digitales en la Educación
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