The New York Times


The New York Times

The New York Times


The New York Times


It’s good to see that the issue of malnourishment amongst the indigenous in Guatemala is receiving attention both inside and outside the country. I wrote a policy paper in 2009 on the causes of the malnourishment and options for reducing it, and it’s interesting going back to it almost five years later after watching this video.

The Science of Designing Food for the World's Poor

Why Indian Children are Shorter than African Children


I found this paper by Jayachandran and Pande to be pretty fascinating. Indian children might be shorter overall because of parental preference in India for the first born children.



I love Venn diagrams, and this one from USAID is a pretty good one.


I love Venn diagrams, and this one from USAID is a pretty good one.

I’ve had the chance to work a bit with ICM in the Philippines. I’ve always been impressed with their work and approach to development, but I’m even more impressed after watching this video update.


It’s a six-month update about their response after Typhoon Haiyan. They talk about why they needed to respond to this disaster, whereas in the past they kept focused on their long-term development programs.


The level of transparency is amazing. But what’s even better is how they talk about how 2,400 children die every month in the Philippines as a result of severe poverty. It’s an ongoing crisis, and that’s why a commitment to long-term development is worthy of our focus.

Measuring Impact for Convoy of Hope

It was 30 minutes before lunch-time, and the four-year-olds sitting in the classroom’s front row couldn’t keep their heads up. I knew it wasn’t a matter of getting a good night’s sleep. Considering the poor community the two boys live in, it’s likely the food they get at school is their only substantial meal of the day — and they’ve only just begun to receive it this week with the start of a new school year. Their hunger and undernourishment make it difficult to stay alert, which means learning in a classroom is nearly impossible.

I noticed them while helping Convoy of Hope’s Tanzanian staff take baseline health measurements for the new school year, so thankfully I know this isn’t the end of the story for those two boys. A nutritious meal every day will give them more energy, and by the end of the year we should see physical signs of them coming out of undernourishment.

That’s actually why I was there — to help Convoy of Hope measure its impact on the 145,000 children in the nutrition program in 11 countries. To do that, I’ve been working hand-in-hand the past couple months with field staff as we roll out a new global Monitoring & Evaluation system (along with a new online database). In the countries where there are more than 2,000 children, we are measuring a sample of the population, so I’ve worked with our staff to make sure the sample is random and representative.

This spring, I’ve traveled to Tanzania, Kenya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Philippines helping conduct baseline health measurements on over 1,800 children — just a small percentage of the data field staff will collect this year. We’ll compare this data with endline measurements at the end of the year in a “pre-post” test.

As I’m getting the complete baseline data in from each country, the fun statistical analysis is just starting. While I love stats and think they can tell a great story, I’ve thankfully also had the chance to hear some of the kids’ stories and know more about where they live. And for me, this means it’s now more than just numbers on a spreadsheet.

I’ve followed Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight blog since 2008 when he began making predictions on that year’s political races. 

In 2010 and 2012, I was again a frequent reader, so of course I read Silver’s book in 2013, which came on the heels of his new-found popularity.

Today, Silver & Co. have taken a big step and re-launched the FiveThirtyEight website. There are now twenty full-time writers (it used to be just two) covering a broader set of topics through the lens of “data journalism”. Their hope is to make journalism more rigorous and evidence-based; a worthy goal.

I’ve followed Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight blog since 2008 when he began making predictions on that year’s political races.

In 2010 and 2012, I was again a frequent reader, so of course I read Silver’s book in 2013, which came on the heels of his new-found popularity.

Today, Silver & Co. have taken a big step and re-launched the FiveThirtyEight website. There are now twenty full-time writers (it used to be just two) covering a broader set of topics through the lens of “data journalism”. Their hope is to make journalism more rigorous and evidence-based; a worthy goal.

2013, In Numbers

2013 was fun. Here is my year in numbers.