The Social Observatory, a part of the World Bank’s Development Research Group, is an effort to improve the adaptive capacity of anti-poverty projects. Adaptive Capacity is the ability of projects to make everyday decisions, and modify project design, on the basis of high-quality descriptive, evaluative and process-oriented information. It involves the ability to see better, to learn better, and to adapt on the basis of that learning.
The Social Observatory helps projects develop adaptive capacity in the following ways:
Everyday Feedback: Developing decision support systems to provide project managers with an everyday understanding of the effectiveness of their design and management.
Long-Term Feedback: Evaluative qualitative and quantitative research to understand not just whether an intervention worked or failed, but why.
Process Feedback: Creating systems of Process Monitoring to uncover bottlenecks in the process of implementation.
Citizen Feedback: Creating data collection and visualization tools that allows communities to track and monitor their own progress.
Working with $2 billion portfolio of community driven development projects in India, the Social Observatory aims to improve ability to be nimble, to learn by doing, and to make mid-course corrections in management and design - in order to be effective.
The Social Observatory, a part of the World Bank’s Development Research Group, is an effort to improve the adaptive capacity of anti-poverty projects. We work with the $2 billion portfolio of community driven development projects in India to improve their ability to be nimble, to learn by doing, and to make mid-course corrections in management and design -- in order to be effective.
We are an inter-disciplinary team of researchers- comprised of economists, sociologists, behavioral scientists and management information system specialists –that are embedded within projects to engage in an ongoing dialogue between research and operations in order to catalyze an improvement in the quality of implementation.
The Social Observatory has been primarily funded thanks to the contributions of (1) UK Aid from the UK government; (2) the Australian Department's of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); and (3) the European Commission (EC) through the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), which is administered by the World Bank. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK, EC or Australian government's official policies or the policies of the World Bank and its Board of Executive Directors. We are grateful to SAFANSI and its donors for their support.
The Social Observatory team is also grateful for support from 3ie, the World Bank's Research Support Budget, and the South Asia Gender Empowerment (SAGE) fund.