Leaders in Data for Development Join Dalberg

Dalberg Data Insights to help bridge the data gaps in global development

A lack of robust data is often a critical barrier to crafting evidence-based policy, directing resources effectively and designing programs to tackle important development challenges. The newly launched Dalberg Data Insights brings together two experienced organizations – Data-for-Good of Real Impact Analytics and the Dalberg Group – to help address this data gap and leverage data for social good.

Dalberg Data Insights combines the analytical power of the team behind Data-for-Good of Real Impact Analytics with the vast global development experience of Dalberg – a group of impact-driven businesses. By unlocking rich data sources from private companies such as mobile phone operators and creating specialized analytics, Dalberg Data Insights allows organizations to better target, implement, and evaluate their programs and initiatives. Dalberg Data Insights will expand the team’s work combining state-of-the-art analytics and an outstanding track record in collaborating with large donor organizations.


Prioritizing infrastructure investments by identifying which congested areas require expansion or additional traffic signaling

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A Simple, Painless Way Governments Can Help the Poor and the Environment

By Scott Strand and Felipe Amaya Salazar

Around 85 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) still cook with wood, charcoal and other solid fuels. These traditional cooking techniques have dire effects on users’ health, environment and productivity.

Traditional cookstoves are causing a quiet epidemic among the global poor. Household air pollution from cookstoves is the fourth-leading risk factor for disease globally, killing more people than malaria and tuberculosis. This epidemic falls heavily on women and children, traditionally those bound to household work and exposed to cookstove smoke day-in and day-out. Poor women also shoulder the literal burden of gathering wood fuel for cookstoves, devoting on average 1.3 hours a day to the task. Residential fuel burning is also a noted contributor to climate change, taking responsibility for 25 percent of global black carbon emissions, about 84 percent of which is from households in developing countries.

Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua have the highest solid fuel usage in the Latin American region with 93 percent, 64 percent and 54 percent of their respective populations still relying on them. Even though LAC has made progress – only 3 percent of people who use solid fuels to cook are in LAC – more needs to be done.

Why do people continue to use these harmful cooking methods? In short, because better cookstoves are priced out of reach.

Read the full article on Next Billion.

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Los Impuestos y Tarifas a Estufas Limpias Vulneran a los Más Pobres

Por Felipe Amaya Salazar

Existen alrededor de 85 millones de personas en América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) que todavía cocinan con madera, carbón y otros tipos de combustibles sólidos. Estos métodos tradicionales de cocina tienen efectos negativos en la salud de sus usuarios, el medio ambiente y la productividad.

Pero ¿por qué las personas continúan cocinando con estos métodos sabiendo que son dañinos? La respuesta corta es que las estufas limpias son muy caras para las personas más pobres.

Haití, Guatemala y Nicaragua tienen la proporción de usuarios más alta de combustibles sólidos en ALC, con el 93%, 64% y 54% de sus respectivas poblaciones todavía dependendiendo en ellas. A pesar que ALC ha logrado avances en reducir la cantidad de usuarios – sólo el 3% de la personas que usan combustibles sólidos para cocinar están en ALC – todavía hay campo para mejorar.

En la región, hay una alta correlación entre el uso de combustibles sólidos y los niveles de ingreso promedio, como lo ilustra la gráfica 1. Los combustibles sólidos, tales como la madera o el estiércol animal, son de fácil acceso ya que se encuentran en la naturaleza, haciéndolos baratos o hasta gratis. Para lograr que las estufas limpias remplacen a los combustibles sólidos, sus precios se deben calibrar para que sean asequibles a las personas con bajos ingresos. Avances en los mercados locales o innovaciones tecnológicas pueden ayudar a reducir sus precios; sin embargo, reducir impuestos y tarifas a estufas limpias es un primer paso más fácil y rápido, en esta dirección.

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A Group of Visionaries Turn a Dream into Reality

By Francine Ndong

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of the Women’s Investment Club Senegal over the past year, and look forward to expanding the initiative across Francophone West Africa.

Who would have thought that a simple lunch meeting between businesswomen would lead to the launch of the Women’s Investment Club and boost the francophone West African financial sector?

When they met in March 2015, the founding members of Senegal’s Women’s Investment Club did not anticipate the impact this pioneering initiative for women would later have. wic2

Initial discussions revolved around a crucial question: “What have we being doing to support women entrepreneurs in Africa?” For a long time, the same response prevailed, “We help people who call on us individually, whether it’s for funds, advice, expertise…”

In time, though, these leading businesswomen wanted to do more: “So how can we ensure that we combine our efforts to create more meaningful impact?”

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Reimagining the Global Health Convening: What’s Next?

Fundamental shifts are changing global health as we know it, requiring diverse and disruptive groups of people from across sectors to collaborate on solutions. How can a “reimagined” convening most effectively bring these groups together to drive financing and innovation in global health?

A new report titled “Reimagining the Global Health Convening: What’s Next?” inspired by Johnson & Johnson and authored by the Global Development Incubator and Dalberg Global Development Advisors, features the perspectives of over 30 leading thinkers across sectors – from a sustainable finance leader at J.P. Morgan to a social entrepreneur increasing access to medical oxygen in Kenya – on this question.

2016 in particular saw major changes in the global health convening space, as one critical convening – the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – wound down, and other new models of convening were tested, including the Financing & Innovation in Global Health (FIGH) forum, supported by Johnson & Johnson and other leading partners.

Together, the void left by CGI and our learnings from FIGH give the global health community the opportunity to step back and consider thoughtfully how to build a better convening. In reflecting on this opportunity, report interviewees shared a common sense of urgency around the need to set catalytic, transformative change in motion. Among other themes, they shared:

  • The best convenings avoid becoming echo chambers – a truly diverse group of perspectives in one place can go a long way
  • Neglected health challenges benefit enormously from the “stage and spotlight” convenings can offer, especially if events can facilitate connections to new resources
  • Openness around failures and lessons learned is critical to a productive convening – safe spaces should be interspersed with opportunities for visibility

It is the report authors’ hope that future convenings can incorporate these and other interview perspectives to more effectively activate participants for change. What do you think a reimagined global health convening should look like? Share your thoughts on Twitter using #FutureConvening.

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Indian Philanthropy: What is Holding Back Diaspora Philanthropists?

By Minahil Amin


The map used does not reflect a position by Dalberg on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any borders.

Dalberg was engaged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore opportunities to catalyze philanthropic giving to India by high net worth individuals in the Indian diaspora. Our research focused on four countries – the US, UK, UAE, and Singapore – home to more than a quarter of all Indian diaspora members. We interviewed more than 80 individual donors in these countries, philanthropy experts and NGOs to understand the opportunity and challenges in philanthropic giving to India among high net worth diaspora members.

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The Private Sector Could be a Powerful Force in the Global Fight Against Malnutrition

By Kathrine Madsen

In a number of African countries, annual costs from the consequences of child undernourishment, can amount to as much as 17% of national GDP. Insufficient energy intake, along with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, lead to conditions such as underweight, stunted growth, and anaemia, making severe malnutrition one of the largest culprits in terms of child deaths. Those children who do live often carry these conditions into adulthood, continuing to suffer from consequences that are then frequently passed onto the next generation. But the consequences are far-reaching: prevalent undernutrition puts extreme strain on public health systems and significantly reduces individuals’ cognitive and physical capacity to learn and work. Such conditions are associated with poorer educational outcomes and lower productivity and incomes relative to non-affected populations, making it increasingly difficult to break the vicious cycle. While major progress has been made in the fight against malnutrition, there is still a strong need to innovate and scale up successful programmes, especially to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of ending global malnutrition by 2030.

Bottom of the pyramid (BoP) populations are both the most vulnerable to malnutrition and the hardest to reach. Despite this, they represent an enormous market: estimated at $429 billion annually, the BoP is the dominant consumer market of the Africa region by both size and collective purchasing power. Over half of BoP household spending goes into food, however, large knowledge gaps, misinformation, and unclear or missing labelling often lead to consumption of less nutritious foods. Poor access to and availability of product quantities at an affordable price point further prevent BoP consumers from purchasing nutritious products, although they are both able and ready to pay more for the nutritious products they value.

Read the full article on Business Day.

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Betting Big on Ourselves, for a Better World

Guest post by Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria (Digital & New Media); and Head of the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement. The post was originally published by The Guardian. 

Every year since 2009 Bill and Melinda Gates have written a “Letter” to the world, outlining their thinking about the state of the world, and vision for the year ahead. The 2015 edition, themed to coincide with the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was titled: ‘Our Big Bet for the Future’. That “Big Bet” was that “[t]he lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.” The Gates’ broke down that Big Bet into 4 strands: Health, Education, Banking and Agriculture. I did interview Mr. Gates shortly after that Letter was published, gleaning insights that enabled me to place the Big Bet within an African and Nigerian context. It is therefore a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to encounter a similar ‘Betting’ venture – this time an assortment of seventeen ‘Big Bets’ on a better and happier world, put forward by a range of highly accomplished individuals from around the world. The ‘17 Big Bets’ Collection, published in 2016, is an initiative of the global consultancy, Dalberg, with the support of the United Nations (UN). Like the Gates’ Bets, the 17 Big Bets are inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, and should be assessed and received within this context.

The 17 essays that make up the collection touch on various themes; each one fulfilling the Dalberg definitions of a Big Bet – “the chances we take to breed transformative shifts; the creative ideas with which we push our thinking; the investments made in solutions to current and future challenges.”
I will go on to present my thoughts about the Big Bets collection as five underlying principles, which in my opinion sum up and highlight its most important and most essential messages:

One. No digital, no development: One big takeaway is that the future of 21st century Africa lies in harnessing the nearly-infinite potential of ‘Data’ and ‘Digital’, to achieve true and lasting development. And let me say that I’m immensely excited to see flowerings of this harnessing all around me every day. Just days ago I attended a ‘Demo Day’ organized by Ventures Platform, a technology hub in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, at which six young technology companies showcased their work. All of them bound by the same underlying proposition: using the power of digital technology to ‘disrupt’ one or more status quos. In her Big Bet, Ms. Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, and Deputy Secretary-General Designate for the United Nations, calls for “Integration” within countries (between the public and private sectors), between countries, and, very importantly BETWEEN WORLDS – the real world and the VIRTUAL world. The real strength of Digital Technologies lies in their ability and capacity to create this transformative seamlessness between the physical and the virtual. As her essay points out, by 2015, 95 percent of the world’s population lived within range of a mobile phone signal. The question that arises is a simple one: what are we doing with all of that potential?

Two. We have to prioritize children – and women: In Bet after Big Bet the spotlight focuses on Children and Girls/Women. The message, for me, is an unambiguous one: The world needs to learn to talk to women, and to children, to understand their issues and perspectives from their points of view. Never assume you know what the problems – and solutions – are. The best and most sustainable solutions to the challenges facing them are the ones to which they lead us. Take this much-needed piece of advice from Craig Silverstein & Mary Obelnicki, in their piece, Thought Girls’ Education Was Big 154 Before? It’s Bigger Now. Here’s How. Count, Consult And Connect: A Path to Transformation: If you want to design a programme that works for young school-age girls, start by forgetting all your fancy theories and learning, and consulting them and listening to them. Because, “women and girls are geniuses in meeting their own challenges.” Indeed, the greatest investment any country can make is in the lives and wellbeing – and, very importantly, the self-confidence – of its women and children. And it is to this critical work that many of the contributors to this collection have devoted their lives. (Kailash Satyarthi, for example, was awarded the 2014 Nobel peace Prize, for his lifelong advocacy and action against discrimination and violence targeted at children).

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New Report: Financing Sustainable City Cancer Treatment Infrastructure

By David Humphries, Simon Allan, Sam Lampert, and Erin Barringer

This blog draws on findings from a new report from Dalberg and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), ‘C/Can 2025: City Cancer Challenge – Financing Sustainable City Cancer Treatment Infrastructure’. The publication was released at Davos, the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, as part of the UICC’s City Cancer Challenge (C/Can 2025) initiative.

The threat of cancer has never been higher. Cancer now kills more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, and by 2025 most of its victims will be found outside of high-income countries.

The growing cancer crisis will hit cities first and hardest. Currently, 54% the world’s population live in cities, and that majority is set to grow to above 60% over the next ten years. People living and working in cities are at a higher risk of cancer due to several risk factors that are more common in urban populations – such as sedentary lifestyles, vehicle pollution and longer working days.

Cities need to invest in cancer treatment now. Prevention services for cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are already being scaled up globally. Infrastructure for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer services will need to follow suit in order to meet the global commitment to combat the human and economic cost of cancer deaths.

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Now is the Time to Reverse Urban Gender Inequalities

By Andrew Fleming

Today, 54% of the world’s population reside in cities, and collectively, these 4 billion people generate as much as 80% of global GDP. Cities are currently the most dynamic spaces of economic and social growth in the world. And women are integral to this growth: they boost the economy, and are at the forefront of industries creating social value, such as caregiving. However, cities are often sinkholes of poverty for women, where gender inequalities in economic access, infrastructure, and access to services limit women’s opportunities for advancement.

Women living in cities spend, on average, 4.5 hours each day taking part in unpaid work – more than double the time men do – leaving less time for paid jobs and education. Even when women are able to work, heightened informality excludes them from employee benefits such as healthcare, schooling, and legal protection.

Gender inequalities in cities go far beyond employment. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 72% of the daily burden of collecting water, if it isn’t available in the house, falls to women. And although many cities are increasing their investment in sanitation facilities, women are still disproportionately affected by poor or non-existent toilets. The WHO estimates that one in three women globally don’t have access to safe toilet facilities – a factor that heightens women’s vulnerability to sexual violence.

Economic and infrastructural inequalities further drive an urban gender health divide. In Sub-Saharan African cities, HIV prevalence among women is 1.5 times higher than it is for men due to the increased exposure of women who work in vulnerable industries, such as sex workers. Women’s health is also affected negatively by their domestic duties. Women spend disproportionally more time in front of indoor cookstoves which produce toxic fumes, and consequently, they have a higher rate of related diseases like pneumonia, lung cancer and strokes.

For cities to live up to their roles as catalysts for growth and development, we need to make them spaces of equal rights and opportunities for women. To create real progress, an explicitly gender-inclusive approach to urban development – focusing on the structural inequities women face – needs to be adopted.

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