Attendees: Prashanth, Venky, Ashish
Prathap Kasina gave an excellent overview of the work being carried out by J-PAL. J-PAL stands for Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab. Basic idea is to have a rigorous evaluation of any program intended for the benefit of the masses. The underlying theory is to use randomised control experiments to evaluate a particular program. Two groups are randomly selected from the population to be evaluated - a control group and a test group. The test group is administered the program and the control group is not. At the end of the study the effect of the program is evaluated based on the results. The strength of the program lies in the rigorous evaluation and J-PAL boasts of high quality data collection and evaluation. Many important programs such as the deworm the world program by the Gates foundation http://www.dewormtheworld.org/ etc were initiated after J-PALs findings.
The entire process involves partnering with local NGOs, governmental agencies etc to carry out the evaluation. Prathap talked about the different challenges that one encounters during such an experiment and spoke about some of his experiences. He also spoke about the different employment opportunities at JPAL that are very much rewarding in all aspects!
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