Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a global research and policy nonprofit that is focused on cutting-edge research quality and innovation. IPA tests promising ideas across contexts and along the path to scale, shares findings with the right people at the right time, and equips partners to use data and evidence to improve lives. 

Their annual demonstrated impact includes:

  • Relaunching a program to reach 2,500 individuals with cash and therapy in the highest-risk neighborhoods in Monrovia after a 10-year follow-up study assessing program impact on reducing crime in Liberia.
  • Scaling up the program Becoming One, an evidence-informed faith-based couple counseling program that reduces intimate partner violence.
  • Continuing to innovate on research methods, generating new empirical evidence on a range of topics that have practical application such as: how to ensure women are adequately represented in random digit dial phone surveys, how to coach caregivers to support accurate measurement of child malnutrition, and how to use satellite imagery data to enhance survey-based measures of poverty.

Donations above $2 tax-deductible. See our global tax-deductibility options here.

Donate (Credit card)

Credit card donations attract a service fee

Other ways to donate

Avoid fees - see our other ways to donate

Key Strengths: Evidence 

Multidimensional Poverty Index Indicators: Not applicable 

Other Key Outcomes: Not applicable 

Recent Expense Budget: US $43,000,000

Year Founded: 2002

Founded in
On-the-ground staff in
solutions to poverty
Positively impacted
million people

Other ways to donate

We recommend that gifts up to $1,000 be made online by credit card. If you are giving more than $1,000, please consider one of these alternatives.

Cheque Bank Transfer Stocks or Shares Payroll / Workplace Giving Bequests

The Problem: Lack of evidence on how to reduce global poverty

In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty. Unfortunately, clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare — even when evidence does exist, it is not always used by decision-makers. This leads to programs that are either ineffective or not as effective as they could be, and often to wasted money and enduring poverty.

The Solution: Creating strong evidence and equipping decision-makers to use it

Governments, non-governmental organizations, and funders need reliable evidence on what works, what doesn’t work, and why. IPA works closely with decision-makers to answer their questions and to help them apply evidence to their programs. Through this model, IPA is able to not only create strong evidence but ensure it is used to improve the lives of people living in poverty.

How Innovations for Poverty Action works

Imagine if the trillions of dollars spent on aid in the past 50 years went to programs that had a tangible, cost-effective impact. IPA exists to make this vision a reality.

In partnership with top researchers in the field, IPA designs and implements randomized evaluations  to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies aimed at alleviating global poverty. IPA’s evaluations do not simply give programs a passing or failing grade, but rather seek to uncover why they work and what adjustments will make a program more effective or work better at scale. Studies range in time from months to years — even decades. Throughout the research process, IPA works side-by-side with decision-makers––a collaborative model IPA calls “co-creation.” 

To date, IPA has designed and evaluated more than 650 potential solutions to poverty problems, and has over 300 additional evaluations in progress.

IPA also recognizes that producing strong evidence is just one piece of the puzzle: that’s why, in addition to running evaluations, they share evidence with the right people at the right time, support partners  to strengthen the use of data and evidence in policies and programs, and support the scaling of successful initiatives. 

As an organization, IPA’s comparative advantage is its local presence in the countries where they have established offices. They work with local governments, NGOs, for-profits, and civil society to ensure that the right people are involved in crafting research questions, understanding the data they are collecting, and using it effectively. This allows IPA to develop strong relationships with decision-makers, a deep understanding of local contexts, and a long-term view for evidence-based policy. IPA has more than 1,000 research staff across 22 countries.

Hundreds of millions of poor people have benefitted from IPA’s work through the scale up––based on evidence–– of proven programs such as the NORM model, free bednets, deworming medication, and targeted instruction.
Man on a laptop while two women look over his shoulder

The results of their research have been used by governments and NGOs to develop or scale-up programs that are reaching hundreds of millions of people. Other impacts are relatively smaller, such as the scale-up of a procedural justice training to all police forces in Mexico City, and the creation of an organization that aims to reduce hunger by providing credit and storage to poor farmers in Nigeria.  

IPA’s research is behind the work of seven of The Life You Can Save’s recommended charities, including Evidence Action’s deworming and safe water programs, which were both incubated by IPA.


What makes Innovations for Poverty Action so effective

Designed for global scale

Before recommending the scale-up of a program or policy, IPA ascertains whether the intervention works in multiple locales, how it works, and why. Then they can advocate for it more broadly, while continuing to refine its cost-effectiveness. 

Information dissemination

IPA produces policy publications, including plain language web summaries of individual studies and briefs that synthesize evidence from multiple studies, allowing organizations across the world to benefit from their research. IPA also works with media outlets to share findings with the public.


Proven anti-poverty programs continue in the country long after IPA’s work there is complete. Plus, IPA partners learn why their interventions work, as well as how to use rigorous evaluation methodologies in the future. 

Wide-reaching impact

The results of their research, such as those on mask promotion & distribution, targeted instruction, chlorine dispensers, insecticide-treated bednets, and deworming have been used by governments and NGOs to develop or scale-up programs that are reaching hundreds of millions of people.  Their work has also influenced international development debates on crucial investments such as microcredit and cash transfers.

Innovations for Poverty Action’s accountability

IPA excels at transparency and publishes its financial and operational disclosures for public viewing. Financial information and annual reports are available here on IPA’s website.

Innovations for Poverty Action’s partners

IPA’s studies have been funded either directly or indirectly by a variety of foundations in the academic, development, and policy research communities, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Science Foundation, The World Bank, USAID, the Asian Development Bank, CGAP, DFID, 3IE, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Ford Foundation.

All photos and videos courtesy of Innovations for Poverty Action