The Globalization of Evidence-Informed Decision Making in a More Interdependent World

The Globalization of Evidence-Informed Decision Making in a More Interdependent World

Mar 16, 2022
In this episode of On the Evidence, Mathematica’s Adam Coyne speaks with EDI Global’s Chris Boyd and Respichius Deogratias Mitti about the changing role of data and evidence in a more interconnected world.

In this episode of On the Evidence, Mathematica’s Adam Coyne speaks with EDI Global’s Chris Boyd and Respichius Deogratias Mitti about the changing role of data and evidence in a more interconnected world.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change demonstrate, in an increasingly interdependent world, communities across the globe face shared challenges and need shared solutions. In the latest episode of On the Evidence, Adam Coyne, Chris Boyd, and Respichius Deogratias Mitti discuss the changing role of data and evidence in supporting decisions to improve well-being in a more interconnected world.

  • Coyne oversaw international research at Mathematica for most of the past two years and currently serves as the company’s chief growth officer.
  • Boyd is the managing director of EDI Global, a data collection and research organization focused on East Africa that became a subsidiary of Mathematica in 2018.
  • Mitti is a country director for EDI Global who lives and works in Tanzania.

In the episode, they discuss the importance of hiring and training local residents from a community to conduct data collection, having a physical presence in the local region, and having a strong understanding of the community’s culture and political economy. They also explore the potential challenges and opportunities for developing evidence-based solutions in one country, region, or community, and then adapting them to address similar problems somewhere else.

Listen to the interview below.

A version of the full episode with closed captioning is also available on Mathematica’s YouTube channel here.

View transcript


The world is coalescing around about global challenges like finding a COVID-19 vaccine. We did that as a species within one year of the pandemic, which is incredible. And climate change will be something that we globalize around because it will require the best brains. But then in the socioeconomic research, a lot of what we do, local matters, acceptance matters, understanding the political economy is very important.


I’m J.B. Wogan from Mathematica and welcome back to On the Evidence, a show that examines what we know about today’s most urgent challenges and how we can make progress in addressing them. Most of the time, my guests and I discuss evidence in a domestic context. After all, more than 50 years ago, Mathematica conducted the first large-scale social policy experiment in the United States. And we’ve continued to help policymakers and other decisionmakers understand the best path forward on a range of health and social programs here in the United States. But at a time when communities across the globe are increasingly connected and interdependent, there are new opportunities to leverage learning about innovative, evidence-based solutions in one country, region, or community that could make a positive difference somewhere else.

On this episode, I speak with Adam Coyne, Chris Boyd, and Respichius Deogratias Mitti about the changing role of data and evidence in a more interconnected world. Adam is the chief growth officer at Mathematica and he oversaw our international research unit for most of the past two years. Chris is the managing director of EDI Global, a data collection and research organization focused in East Africa that became a subsidiary of Mathematica in 2018. Mitti is a country director for EDI Global who lives and works in Tanzania.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.


So, Adam, for listeners who have greater awareness of Mathematica's domestic policy work in the United States, could you just give a thumbnail sketch of what we already do outside of the U.S. and why we do it?


Sure, J.B., but I'm going to start with the "why" and then maybe answer the "what." Mathematica has been doing international work for about 15 years now because the need for research and evidence and our mission of improving public well-being doesn't stop at a domestic border. We are committed to helping some of the most vulnerable populations wherever they are – whether it's Tennessee to Timbuktu.

In terms of what we do, Mathematica's international unit works closely with a range of development partners to uncover and advance solutions to improve the lives of millions of people across the globe. We offer our partners a full range of measurement, evaluation, and listening services; and we try to provide insights to inform strategies and programs. We measure progress and effectiveness, and we generate and disseminate evidence in learning to hopefully advance the field.

I also might add the "where" here. We work in more than 50 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, spanning a wide range of sectors including education and workforce development, energy and climate, food and agriculture, health and nutrition, social protection, transportation, early childhood development, and water and sanitation among others.

I think it's also important to add that we don't do it alone. We work with a wide variety of partners including leaders in philanthropy – like Gates, Rockefeller, Packard, the MacArthur Foundations, the Millennial Challenge Corporation, the World Bank, the Global Climate Fund, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to name a few.


That's more than a few and an impressive list. Chris, I want to turn to you now. I know EDI Global became a subsidiary of Mathematica just recently in 2018, but the company has a long history. In fact, it's celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. So I wanted to ask if you could give listeners a sense of how the company started and what your work has historically entailed.


Certainly, J.B., and thanks for the question. EDI was formed in Bukoba in Tanzania in 2002; so we're now 20 years old this year and celebrating our 20th anniversary. At that time, it stood for Economic Development Initiatives. That's where the acronym "EDI" comes from. It was founded in 2002 by a British entrepreneur and a Belgian academic, but it has retained its roots within Bukoba in Tanzania. In fact, that's where my colleague Mitti is based, who you'll hear from today; and that's where our biggest office within EDI Global is.

The start-up was really driven by the vision of having a positive impact on people's lives through the provision of high-quality data collection and research services. To be fair, this is still our vision today. This still is what guides us -- is that focus on high-quality data collection and research.

Also I would say the original founders of EDI also found that there was a gap in the market for the provision of high-quality data collection and research services, particularly in Tanzania. They saw that that was a gap that the business could fill. In that sense, that's what we've doing over the past 20 years across East Africa.

In terms of the historical focus of the business, the second part of your question, the traditional core of the EDI Global business has been large sample quantitative data collection, work which requires us as EDI Global to support clients in aspects such as questionnaire development, developing a representative sample and then, importantly, executing the data collection in the field using trained enumerators that we would take through a sort of well-designed training program that EDI prides itself on.

I would also say that EDI was one of the first firms to go fully electronic in its data collection, and it switched to this model in 2007. Technology has always been central to the EDI business, and now we collect all data using tablets, using service CTO software mainly, we perform all our data cleaning and analysis using mainly Stata software.

So although the business has evolved over the last 20 years and we're looking to the future now about going into a full research and analytics company as well as building on our data collection skills, the core of the business is still in data collection and the large sample quantitative data collection. But, I mean, that's me giving you an overview. My colleague Mitti has actually been with the business 20 years and maybe can say a little bit more about the history that would be useful.



Yeah, I'd love to hear, Mitti, what you would like echo or add to what Chris has just said.


Yeah, in summary actually he has covered a lot and almost everything, but with details, he mentioned about the founders of EDI being British and Belgian, all together bringing together the academic side and the business side all together that started the company. Because of these two complements, EDI became wealthier in the way we were managing research projects in terms of data collection.

But at the same time, being a registered company in Tanzania, and the business that was aiming into seeing its growth. The business side, actually one of the founders, was also beneficial to the company. For the clients that we have worked with, they have all enjoyed the quality of the product that we produce because of these two complements which were coming from the founders.

We have seen these 20 years with EDI growing from just running one project that we started with to the point of running up to 17 studies a year; and this is where we are, just adding to what Chris just said.


Mitti, I want to stay with you for a second now. In my intro, I describe EDI Global as a data collection and research organization. I wanted to ask what kind of data, what kind of research, and what's notable about how your team collects data, and who does the data collection? If I could just nudge you in a little bit of at least one direction here, I'd love for you to talk a little bit about the importance of you and Chris actually being based out of East Africa and the importance that place and location plays in the work that you do.


Thank you, J.B. From your question as you start asking about the data collection and what kind of data will be the first part of my answer, and then chronologically I'll go through the other points.

The type of data that we collect at EDI are actually divided into two. We have the collection of quantitative data and the collection of qualitative data. There could be different definitions of these two types of the data; but in my way, I would say the quantitative data collection is actually the collection of data through questions and answers. The questions are actually pre-coded responses that we get from our respondents, but these questions are also including sometimes the short, open-ended responses that are collected as strings.

Then, when we go into the qualitative data, this is the type of data that is collected through discussions and observations. We also record this data as narrative responses. So these two together is the type of data that we collect.

In terms of research, the research is actually a complete cycle. So together with our clients, we support them from the designing of the study. Then we come into putting together the questionnaire, being quantitative or qualitative. But then we're going to the data collection, where actually our expertise is, starting from mobilizing the team that goes out for data collection, adapting the tools that we have already designed, and the training the team that we recruited. Then sending the team, together with these tools, to the field where they collect the data.

Then back – the data gets cleaned but also analyzed, reports being written. Finally, depending on the design itself, we sometimes disseminate the outcomes, the results of the study, to different stakeholders. This is the part of the research.

Coming to your next question that asked what's notable about our team, our team who collects the data -- actually what is notable to what we do I will just say one thing, data quality. Data quality is what we boast on, and how we achieve this is starting from the use of CAPI (Computer Assisted Person Interviews), the way we treat, our staff, the training that we give to our staff, the supervision that we provide in the field.

We also have direct observation of how the data gets collected in the field. We have the back check on all of the responses that comes back. But the way we process the data and the staff commitment – our staff are committed to what they are doing – these all together is what brings us the quality of the data that we boast on.


Mitti, can I ask one question? Who provides the training? Where do they live? And who receives the training, and where do they live?


Okay, this is – actually, your, almost to your second part. Oh, your last part of the question. The trainers are what we refer to as the Coordination Team. This is involving our project coordinators, our data processers; but we also have the team leaders – all together are the ones who trains our staff who goes out and collects the data.

The ones who goes out to collect the data, we use two terms in-house here. These are "interviewers" and/or "enumerators." These terms are used interchangeably. Normally, most of our projects we train where our headquarters is in Bukoba or in a Uganda Kampala. This is where the trainings take place. The trainers are permanent staff, where the trainees are project staff. But these trainees of ours, the interviewers, are all bachelor degree holders.

They are trained by us, as I mentioned before, on interviewing skills, use of CAPI, and project specific protocols. These are the main trainings that we give, but also we give training on how they manage the logistics in the field. These staff have worked with EDI on several projects. We have some of the trainees that have actually been with EDI from its start in the first project in 2003 who are still working with us today.

As of now when I talk, all of the staff that we're having on the pool they are three years and above; and these are 200 and more.


So let me ask one more follow-up question, sorry. Here in the U.S. right now, there are conversations taking place about cultural competency, lived experience. We've had several projects about contact tracing during the pandemic, and this comes up where there's a belief that coming from the community or have similar experiences to the community and what you do in contact tracing makes you more effective in connecting with the person you're trying to reach.

I was just curious; with your interviewers or enumerators, are there certain things you're looking for in terms of lived experience, cultural competency, language proficiencies, that is sort of a competitive advantage or it makes EDI's work distinct?


Yeah, as we introduced to you before, EDI was started in Tanzania, particularly in Bukoba. Most of our pool and the staff I'm talking about here, they are from Tanzania. We are lucky in Tanzania – actually, there is the use of just one language, Swahili. It's known from kids, elders, and the younger generation all together speak fluently this Swahili.

So when we have studies that we are to implement, we've always translated them into Swahili. And once they are in Swahili, everybody we recruit is from Tanzania and speaks this Swahili frequently/fluently. So this is the power that we have that when we recruit, our team comes from all over the country, from every corner of the country. Our team is composed of representative to every part of Tanzania. When they come together, actually, they represent the nation and not just one part of the country.

We are doing the same in Uganda, where we are also working We know that our mathematical language is in Uganda. So for that, when the sample brings us to a particular area, then we'll do it from that particular area to ensure that there is a cultural understanding but also the language proficiency. This is most of the case in Tanzania.


Okay, perfect, and hopefully that will lead in a little bit to the next question I wanted to ask, which I'm going to direct to the group. I don't know who wants to take this, but I'm curious about the acquisition of EDI Global and the two companies teaming up, becoming one.

So when Mathematica acquired EDI Global, what did it add to both organizations? What does it mean for Mathematica and EDI Global and what they can do going forward? If you can take us back maybe before the acquisition, what was the unmet need that this meets? What was the unmet need for decision-makers in East Africa where EDI Global works but maybe potentially elsewhere even outside of that region?


I think that the merger really allows both organizations to better deliver on our shared mission of advancing data-driven decision-making and improving public well-being. Both Mathematica and EDI share a very strong commitment to bringing high-quality, objective evidence to bear on the world's toughest social challenges. Together, we're deepening relationships with our partners and clients. We're combining our capabilities to leverage strategic opportunities for growth.

Mathematica brought a lot of size and resources to EDI; but what EDI helps us bring is that delivery of localized solutions. I really think – not to be cliché – but that this is one of those scenarios where 1 + 1 = more than 2 because together we're creating a better on-the-ground presence in Africa. We're enhancing our ability to deliver a full range of research and data collection services at both the country and regional levels.

And I really think as quality keeps coming up again, our shared commitment to really high-quality and rigorous work is helping us both contribute to the evidence base, to incorporate those local perspectives and insights that you were asking about, and ideally improving people's well-being in more and more ways.


Chris, what would you add to that?


Good answer, Adam. What I would say is that this idea of synergy has been coming up in the thing Adam referenced there. You've got Mathematica, which brings the rigorous analytical and policy research angle, and a 50-year track record of doing that. And then EDI Global has a strong understanding of the East African context and building on that for the African context and an understanding of how to get things done on the ground, as Mitti had said. In his answer, he referenced that.

The way I think about it is if you think of data as traveling through a pipeline from the household or business where it has been collected to the desk of a decision-maker where it has then been analyzed and packaged into a form that answers the questions that need to be answered and makes recommendations on how the decision-maker should move forward.

Then, the Mathematica and EDI Global partnership now has the potential to take this data all the way along that pipeline from start to finish, in-house, and that's quite a powerful combination because it allows us to manage the quality of that process from start to finish, which is something that both businesses have actually built their reputations on. As you're picking up, quality is really important to us. So that's all I really have to add on to what Adam said.


Let me ask a question that we may decide we don't need in the podcast. But it occurred to me that the historical work has been in East Africa, but EDI Global in its name seems to hint at larger ambitions. Do you see EDI Global working outside of Africa or outside of that region in Africa?


Yes, absolutely, I mean I think that that is part of the -- let's say, the short- to medium-term strategy is growth in Africa. It's definitely growth in Africa, and we can do that because we're coming from a place of competitive advantage. But then we can take these skills and expertise and services beyond that to provide solutions to our partners, whether it be in Asia or other parts of the world that require that – so definitely.

I think what I have learned about EDI Global since I've came in is the ‘EDI way’ of doing things and what I'm increasingly learning about Mathematica, the Mathematica way of doing things, is the stamp that you can put on any project. It's about those processes, the systems, the attention to detail, the quality, and the management of those.

Yeah, I think EDI Global definitely has growth aspirations within Africa, but beyond that then global absolutely, J.B.


Okay, and, I think you referenced the name of the company initially was just EDI. So even the addition of the word "Global" at the end is a signal of where you see the company going, yes?


Yes, absolutely.


I'd echo exactly what Chris said, and I think it really builds on your earlier question of what the two organizations sort of bring to the table here in coming together. I think it is that shared strength in terms of size and resources, shared expertise, and depth of tools – but also, to build on what Chris was saying, learning in terms of shared approach.

Mathematica has done projects in more than 50 countries. EDI has really started mastering a format to harness that power of locality but do it in multiple countries. So as Mitti was sharing and Chris as well, EDI was a Tanzania company. It was founded in Bukoba. They are still sort of very rooted in Tanzania, but they expanded to neighboring Uganda and have learned to recreate the model there, which they're now going to be bringing to Kenya.

While that model will certainly hopefully scale and grow throughout Africa, to Chris's point, there's no reason it needs to stop at the African continent. EDI is and can be a truly worldwide global company.


Well, Adam, you mentioned localization. I wanted to ask. There are kind of two parallel trends here I'm seeing, globalization but also kind of going local or really investing in local resources, local talent. I was wondering; how does the story of Mathematica and EDI joining forces fit into these larger trends around globalization or around cultural competency and research, having a local flavor, a local understanding of the places and communities thar are being researched or, in some cases, are participating in helping with the research. Maybe I'm going too far here, but are we one slice of a larger story that's unfolding right now?


I think absolutely. Although I do want to point out that while this trend around globalization and cultural competency and research has accelerated and certainly gained more attention in the past couple of years, it's not new nor is our sort of collaborative and flexible approach. So if you actually sort of think about the founding of EDI, it was founded by Europeans who recognized that if you really want to make a difference here, you need to be local. They opened an office in Bukoba and were fortunate enough to be able to engage Mitti.

While I personally haven't had a chance to visit the Bukoba Office yet, but for my colleagues who have – and I know particularly Paul Decker, our Mathematica CEO – I'm going to put Mitti on the spot for a moment and embarrass him. But Paul basically describes Mitti as the mayor because you can't walk down the street without everyone wanting to say hello and shake his hand and talk to him.

I think that point is really indicative and important to the issues around cultural competency because it's hard to go into a community if you're not of that community and have the trust of the community. I think joining forces with EDI has given Mathematica a permanent presence in a different way than we ever had before. We've always worked with local partners on the ground. But we want to ensure that our work is responsive to the learning needs, it's aligned with evolving priorities and changes and what's happening; but we need to make sure that we're developing culturally-sensitive approaches that really reflect that deep understanding of the local context.

So in that regard, that is an important story; and we're excited to be writing, I guess, our next chapter of that story together with EDI.


Chris, is there anything you would add? One thing that I don't know if we've mentioned in this conversation that I was privy to reading a draft of a blog post you're working on, and it comes up in that blog post that while listeners will probably know that you were not born in East Africa by your accent, that you live in Nairobi and your family does too. That seems an important piece here in terms of your commitment to the local region. Do you want to talk at all about that?


Yeah, that's right. So we're here now coming up on five years this year. So we've been here, and it's a great place to be. But I think that being able to understand – okay, so I'm here as the overall leader of the EDI business, but I rely heavily on Mitti and his team to guide me on issues they know much more about than me. So I think being in the region here helps me to connect better with the team in Bukoba, and to get to Uganda.

So I can get to Bukoba in half a day. I can get to Uganda and in a few hours. I can get to Kampala, and that makes doing business here just much easier than being based in the UK, where I'm from originally, or the States. But also, just being here allows you to understand the way the world works here.

I'm a student of Swahili. Mitti is helping me. I've got a long way to go, but trying to learn the language and understand the way that things work here is essential for doing research. I think going back to the earlier point about global versus local, the world is coalescing around about global challenges like finding a COVID-19 vaccine. We did that as a species within one year of the pandemic, which is incredible. And climate change will be something that we globalize around because it will require the best brains.

But then in the socioeconomic research, a lot of what we do, local matters, acceptance matters, understanding the political economy is very important, being able to speak the language. In order to be able to get to the truth and not have people just tell you what they think you want to hear because you're an outsider coming in with a clipboard asking them questions. Mitti can probably say a bit more about this; but, yeah, I think in our business having a local presence, being in the region, being connected to the region is absolutely vital.



Yeah, actually I think it's important because even from the start of EDI, it was indeed registered locally; but the vision was to ensure that we serve the global requirements. Now when we work with our clients, including the way we met with Mathematica, they are looking for someone who understand the local context -- where exactly the data, the information, is going to be collected. Now our presence here, my team that I work with, they understand the entire area; and now we can focus on the region of East Africa. We are able to support the global requirement in terms of academics and their understanding in terms of what's happening in the region.

So together with those who have the global skills and us who have the local skills, together we make the goal.


So this is a nice segue to the last thing I wanted to ask about. I wanted to talk about what a globalized, evidence-driven world might look like and what role EDI Global and Mathematica would play in it. Last year, Mathematica unveiled its vision for 2035 in which – and I'm quoting here – "We are shaping an equitable and just world in which evidence drives decisions for global impact."

The two aspects of that vision statement that I think are relevant to this conversation – one is that ambition to shape an equitable and just world – an emphasis on "world" – and the second is the ambition to have global impact, with an emphasis on the "global" aspect.

So, Chris, I think one example of that would be what you mentioned about a global vaccine for COVID-19. What other ways might that look like in practice? Some of the questions that are floating in my head:

Are we going to see research conducted for a collection of countries around a common problem like climate change or COVID-19?

Are we going to see more research from one national or regional context then translated and applied in other geographic contexts?

If each of you could weigh in on what globalization of evidence-driven work is going to look like going forward.

Chris, if you would go.


Yeah, so I think to sort of reference my previous answer, I think we'll definitely need both; and we will definitely need both because those bigger problems require an across-humanity approach. But then there are various specific contextual factors that need to be studied within the local context. Development is rife with examples of a successful project delivered in one locale translated to another, and it doesn't work. It doesn't generate the same results because there are aspects that haven't been accounted for in the theory of change – you know, how you get from A to B to C to D, right up to the results that you want – that were missed.

In that particular context, one that springs to mind is a development intervention about infant feeding that tried to move from one country to another – I think to India. And they implemented the project by providing support to the mothers, and it wasn't working. And one important factor that they'd missed was that within that culture, the husband's mother is responsible for the nutrition and the feeding of the children. So they were targeting their information at the wrong people and therefore were not getting the same results as they got in another country.

So I think in the sort of social sciences that because we're dealing with people and the complexity of people, there are certain things that you can get a common thread across; but there are other things that are actually quite context-specific.

I was just in Uganda last week with Mitti and the team, and we were finding out how important language was, how important language ability was and the language skills of the interviewers, of the enumerators, in a local area. If they go there and they speak the wrong language, even amongst themselves, and the respondents hear it, they will close up because they do not see them as friendly to their cause or as friendly people to them. So these things, I think, really need an appreciation within the social sciences.

The final point I would make on this is just about how research is a collaborative effort. One of the biggest – so you know the UK left the EU two years ago now, three years ago. One of the biggest fallouts from that was the breakdown and collaboration between scientists in the UK and scientists in the EU who could work from common grant funds. This was one of the biggest fall-outs in the UK and in the UK press, was all this amazing collaboration on global problems, on challenges, was now being disrupted. That globalization was being broken up by that decision.

So there's no straightforward answer, and I think both are important.


That's fascinating.

Adam, what would you add?


Sure, I thought that was an excellent example, Chris.

J.B., I love that you used COVID and climate because I think those are two very accessible and understandable examples where it is crystal clear that country borders don't matter and that it's going to take a coordinated and shared effort to have truly global impact.

Fortunately for us, many of our clients already understand this. Chris brought up a project example, and I might bring up another one that I talked about on a prior podcast actually. It's a project we recently completed for the World Bank that looked at clean energy job transition, so it's a good climate example.

The World Bank is basically invested in a range of clean energy investments that targeted people's access -- whether we could create clean energy sources, efficiencies, policy reforms. But Mathematica was tasked with assessing the jobs that result from those investments. So the question was really what kind of job creation happens when we make clean energy investments in a country?

And using qualitative survey, secondary data, Mathematica developed case studies that profiled seven projects in six countries. The countries were Rwanda, Peru, Nigeria, Kosovo, Pakistan, and India. Just to give you a sense of sort of figuring out that application in very different countries, very different environments and situations, to find those common threads and that common ground, to ultimately help the World Bank consider the impact that clean energy transition is going to have on job creation – not just in one country or one region, but globally which I think is pretty important.

Maybe stepping away from a specific project, if I really think about Mathematica's international work over the past decade or so, there have definitely been natural – here again, regional clusters of work. For example, we've done a lot of work in Central and South America on the impact of U.S. Aids Early Grade Reading Program -- so this was that LAC Reads project – as well as evaluations of the Millennial Challenge Corporation's overall investments in energy, in land, in agriculture, and education programs across francophone Africa. So it was sort of trying to assess the total impact they're having in a region.

Certainly I think what's exciting about what we're doing with EDI is really again that East Africa presence that we're now building on the ground in a permanent kind of way to answer all sorts of pressing questions and dealing with pressing issues that we're going to be facing in the future.


As you were talking, I was thinking about the potential not only for lessons in research for the U.S. to be translated and tested abroad but that there could also be the other direction I'm thinking of. Actually in our experience we just wrapped up a project where we were helping Washington State with contact tracing. One of our leads there was from international Unit and had past experience with contact tracing in other countries, and she was able to bring those experiences and technical expertise to bear for a domestic need during the pandemic.

I also am thinking about the conversations occurring right now about guaranteed basic income, universal basic income, where there have been some really interesting and encouraging experiments in other countries. Now we have tons of pilots that are being funded by the American Rescue Plan that are testing the idea of a guaranteed income or guaranteed basic income in the U.S., in U.S. cities. So it will be interesting to see how the research is bidirectional in its influence.


That's a good point, and I love when people bring up guaranteed basic income because that actually is how Mathematica was founded. We literally were created for the negative income tax experiment, which was the very first multi-state study looking at basic income, which is fun.


Mitti, I don't want to neglect you here. What do you think? What's your take? What's the future of evidence in a global world?


I think it's going to be interesting. It is interesting, and it is going to be helpful having to merge the local context into the global context.

This morning I was telling my colleagues about the fact that now Kenya has been approved to produce the COVID-19 medicine. It's going to be produced in cooperation between the company in Kenya and another one in India. So you see already possibly there has been some of the understanding of the capacity that is available in Kenya that could be in cooperation with the Indian one. They could have produced something that is trustable that could go into the people and help bring to down actually the costs of this medication for this special sickness around this area and, of course, around the globe.

I'm taking that example, but I think many were becoming where by the understanding of the local context. Then the global initiatives will be able to reach the targets easily.


Okay, last question, just want to make sure – is there anything I should have asked about but didn't, anything you wanted to cover that we haven't yet?


I love the point you were actually making about the fact that when you think about globalization and when you think about localization or cultural competency, I think it's really important to emphasize the two-way aspect that you were talking about. I think the learning channels are truly bidirectional, to your point.

And what's so important I think in coming together to solve a problem is bringing shared expertise but also bringing a shared sense of humbleness and open mindedness to really understand the partners you're working with, the unique situations that everyone is facing. As Chris talked about the problems, we're all human; and humans by our very nature are messy. So working together with that sense of humbleness and open mindedness, I think, is really, really important.


Okay, I think that's a great note to end on. Thank you, Adam, for getting up early – Mitti and Chris for staying late to do this podcast today.


Great, thank you, it's been enjoyable.


It was a lot of fun.


Thanks again to my guests, Adam Coyne, Chris Boyd, and Respichius Deogratias Mitti. In the show notes, I’ll include links for information about EDI Global and Mathematica’s international research work. As always, thank you for listening to another episode of On the Evidence, the Mathematica podcast. There are a few ways you can keep up to date with future episodes. You can subscribe wherever you find podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and YouTube. You can also follow us on Twitter. I’m at JBWogan and Mathematica is at MathematicaNow.

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Show notes

Learn more about Chris Boyd, the managing director of EDI Global, in a recent Q&A for Mathematica’s blog.

Learn more about Mathematica’s international research in more than 50 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Learn more about Mathematica’s groundbreaking work on studying negative income tax experiments in the United States, which informs current pilot projects testing the impacts of monthly guaranteed income payments.

About the Author

J.B. Wogan

J.B. Wogan

Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
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