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Knowledge for Change Program

What We Do

Software developers at Andela, in Nairobi, Kenya on February 14, 2018

Filling the Large Knowledge Gap for Global Public Goods

The KCP produces and disseminates foundational research, data, and analytics. Despite the long-term efforts in enhancing development finance for poverty reduction and shared prosperity, there remains a large gap in research and data on issues related to developing countries, which, unfortunately, has not been the trendiest topic for academia. KCP projects help inject fresh thinking, challenge conventional wisdom, chart new courses in the policy and practice of international development, and focus on systemic challenges and complex situations. Foundational analyses, including original research and flagships such as the World Development Reports, help inform policy debates and influence development thinkingMuch of KCP’s outputs also constitute public goods. Since the benefits of such knowledge are widely accrued and shared, there is inherently a lack of incentive for any single institution to produce it. The KCP thus helps fill a critical gap in developing foundational, public good knowledge.



Establishing a Direct Link between Knowledge and Policy Responses

Knowledge, innovation, and learning shape financing and policy advice and are central to scaling up impact. The World Bank Group offers a variety of knowledge products under one roof, and the KCP aims at facilitating knowledge flows between foundational analysis and frontline policy advice. The KCP’s research, data, and analytical outputs inform and influence the design, implementation, and monitoring of the World Bank Group’s financing packages, technical assistance, and direct country engagements. And at the same time, research ideas are constantly surfaced through close interactions with colleagues in the Global Practices and Regions who bring out real-time challenges faced by policy makers and governments. The foundational analytical work and direct, country-facing engagements complement one another and are mutually reinforcing. 

KCP 2017 Report cover

Maintaining a Long-Term Vision toward Development

Research plays a crucial role in learning from past policies and thinking about the future with a long-term perspective. Especially in times of crises, it is imperative that countries do not lose sight of their long-term development objectives. Without the independent scrutiny of research, the conceptual and empirical foundations for policy making would be weak, best practices would be emulated without sufficient evidence, and new fads and fashions would get more attention and traction than they deserve. Researchers supported by the KCP also regard pushing back against tenuous ideas, data, and solutions – with rigorous evidence – as one of their core duties.


Experimenting to Develop Scalable Ideas

A unique feature of the KCP is its emphasis on experimentation and scalable activities. The KCP aims at providing ahead-of-the curve knowledge and analysis to anticipate future development challenges. Sometimes this means supporting projects that explore innovative ideas, including those that may be a bit avant-garde.


Leveraging Capacity Building and Partnerships to Maximize Impact

Building research and analytical capacity in relevant institutions through genuine, long-term partnerships can greatly help bridge the science and policy divide. The KCP combines retailing and wholesaling models of research to promote meaningful capacity building and local partnerships, which significantly lowers the barrier for access to development knowledge. The KCP works to strengthen institutional and human capacity on research, data, and analytics in developing countries, to democratize knowledge, empower citizens, and inspire policy changes.


Enhancing the Relevance, Quality, and Impact of Knowledge Products through Transparency and Competition

To ensure that projects of the highest quality and design receive financial support, the KCP follows a transparent method for reviewing and funding proposals through a competitive process. Several rounds of rigorous screening and reviewing processes are in place, including a blind peer review process supported by internal or external experts who have substantial expertise and experience in the specific topic area.