09 February 2012

Evaluating TOMS shoes, child sponsorship, cow donations, and fair trade coffee

And the prize for most diverse recent set of popular NGO development program intervention evaluations goes to (drum roll please) **~!Bruce Wydick!~**

James Choi quotes him writing in Christianity Today on Fair Trade Coffee:
Fair-trade coffee isn't a scam, but it is hard to find a development program that has attracted so much attention while having so little real impact. The most recent rigorous academic study, carried out by a group of researchers at the University of California, finds zero average impact on coffee grower incomes over 13 years of participation in a fair-trade coffee network.
 So I looked up his page and found this on child sponsorship:

Although international child sponsorship may be the most widespread form of personal contact between households in wealthy countries with the poor in developing countries, to date there are no published studies that have analyzed whether the beneficiaries of these programs have experienced changes in their life outcomes.  
We find large and statistically significant impacts of the [compassion international] child sponsorship program on most of our outcome variables.
And then there are rigorous impact evaluations to come on Heifer International and TOMS shoes - exciting stuff!

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