Report on the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Scaling Up Community of Practice

The Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Scaling Up CoP met on 24 February 2020. Key actions agreed and decisions taken were as follows:

  • The ExCom will update the mission statement of the CoP.
  • The ExCom and Working Groups will establish a consolidated annual calendar including dates for all in-person and virtual meetings of the CoP and its various Working Groups.
  • The ExCom reviewed the preliminary design of the CoP’s new Website and provided guidance for its further development. It was agreed that the website would include space for promotion of events and job opportunities.
  • The ExCom agreed that a new Working Group will be set up under the CoP to address scaling of initiatives related to Climate Change and the Environment.
  • A sub-committee of the ExCom will review how cross-cutting insights and lessons from the work of the Working Groups can best be developed and disseminated.
  • The ExCom reviewed the financial statement of the CoP provided by MSI and discussed issues related to long term sustainability.
  • The ExCom discussed the experience with the CoP newsletters and agreed that in future, special, blog-length feature articles will be published separately on the new CoP Website, rather than in the Newsletter.

Working Groups of the Scaling Up Community of Practice

The following comments summarize activities of the CoP’s eight working groups. These are listed below with the names and e-mail addresses of the chairperson(s). For more information on the agenda of each working group and on how to join and contribute to a working group, please contact the respective chairperson(s) or reach out directly to Larry ( or Johannes (

Working Group topicWorking Group coordinatorsWorking Group coordinators
Scaling Up In EducationJenny Perlman Robinson (Brookings)

Nitika Tolani (MSI)
Jenny Perlman Robinson, Senior Fellow at the Center for Universal Education with Brookings, will join Nitika Tolani as Co-Chair of the Education Working Group. Building off the exciting ideas CoP members discussed at their face to face meeting in October 2029, the co-chairs are creating an activity plan built around an annual theme that encourages learning and engagement within and outside the education sector. The Group will consider activities such as quarterly webinars and commissioning blogs or reaction pieces to follow these webinars to help participants unpack implementation challenges related to scaling. The Group will also seek innovative ways to elevate the voices of students, government officials and others not typically involved in CoP activities to enrich our discussions. CoP members with any additional ideas or requests for Education WG activities can contact Nitika Tolani, Co-Chair of the Education WG and Technical Director at MSI.
Scaling Up in Fragile StatesLarry Cooley (MSI)

Jonathan Papoulidis (WorldVision)
The Working Group’s scope of work involves: (a) applying scaling up approaches to bridge humanitarian and development interventions; (b) elaborating on the obstacles to scaling in fragile states and how they have been overcome, or when scaling should not have been attempted; (c) promoting adaptive, resilient and politically-smart methods for scaling; and (d) examining ways to strengthen country institutions and mobilize private sector finance for sustainable scaling in a range of fragile contexts.

WG members are encouraged to use the group as a sounding board for their research, policy formulation and programs---or for those in their network. On March 27th, Larry Cooley and Jonathan Papoulidis will present on a new paper they are developing on “adaptive scaling” in fragile states in the hopes of stimulating conversation from the WG on this topic and inviting inputs into the paper. If you would like to present/facilitate a discussion, please email Jonathan or Larry.
Scaling Up In Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD)Frank Place (IFPRI)

Lennart Woltering (CIMMYT)

Mark Huisinga (USAID)
The ARD Working Group reorganized: Mark Huisinga, Frank Place and Lennart Woltering will chair the working group from now on.

The virtual meeting of 20th of February on “Scaling What?” received a lot of positive feedback and readers are welcome to check out the recording and PowerPoint slides here ( It included two presentations and a lively Q&A facilitated by:
• Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) described the scaling of orange-fleshed sweet potato in Africa over 25 years. The Q&A session revolved around leadership and M&E as well as the role of the private and the public sector in the past and in the future. More information is in her recent article in the Special Issue on the Science of Scaling in Agricultural Systems:
• Rob McLean of International Development Research Centre (IDRC) reported on his recent book “Scaling Impact- Innovation for the Public Good” ( The Q&A session revolved around the role of subsidies and who is actually benefiting.

Future working group virtual meetings will be held tentatively on 20 May (topic: Focus Africa), 20 August (topic: Scaling and measuring change), and 20 November (topic: The role of research in scaling).
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for Scaling UpLarry Cooley (MSI)

John Floretta (J-PAL)
John Floretta joined Larry Cooley as Co-Chair of the M&E Working Group. The M&E Working Group did not have a meeting during this period but plans to have one in the coming few weeks (watch for an email and a Doodle poll). CoP members who have relevant material they would like to share or on which they would like feedback from other members of the Working Group are invited to send that material to Larry Cooley, M&E Working Group Chair, at
Health (aka Community of Practice
on Systematic Approaches to Scale-up of Family Planning/ Reproductive
Health Best Practices)
Laura J. Ghiron (U.Mich.)
Evidence to Action (E2A) Project/ExpandNet-led Community of Practice on Systematic Approaches to Scale-up held its October quarterly Resource Team meeting focused on country and government ownership. The guest speaker, Dr. Sada Danmusa, Executive Director of the NGO MidSpace in Nigeria, has a new blogpost available that lays out key ideas he addressed in his remarks, such as “how can we help governments successfully own and scale up family planning best practices?” The blog includes a link to the full video of his 42-minute presentation. The CoP is planning its next quarterly meeting the morning March 24th in Washington DC with a focus on funding scale up. Guest speakers are currently being identified. Members of the larger Development CoP are welcome to join the meeting remotely or in person, by sending an RSVP to Laura Ghiron. The CoP quarterly meeting will precede a meeting focused on scaling up adolescent and youth reproductive health and family planning programming that is being jointly organized by E2A/ExpandNet, the World Health Organization, FP2020, and the Global Financing Facility. This meeting is featured in the ExpandNet member news item in this newsletter.
Social Enterprise InnovationIsabel Guerrero (IMAGO)

Elain Tinsley (World Bank)
Since the last newsletter, the Working Group on scaling Social Enterprise Innovation has held two webinars. On 6 December 2019, Colin Christensen presented on One Acre Fund’s Path to Scaling – Lessons on Government Relations, which highlighted the scaling experiences of One Acre Fund, a social enterprise providing bundled agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers in Africa. It explored how, since 2006. OAF has grown to serve nearly 1 million farmers in 6 countries. At a webinar on 6 February 2020, Chris Walker, Social Innovations Director at Mercy Corps, presented on Impact Investing and Its Role in Scaling Social Enterprises. He addressed these questions: What exactly is impact investing? And how can it support social enterprises to scale their impact? He walked participants through “Impact Investing 101” with a focus on how this emerging sector is supporting the scale-up of social enterprises with both capital and in-kind support. Chris also touched on the role that intermediaries like investors can play in scaling efforts. The Working Group’s next planned webinar will be in early April. The group extends many thanks to Greta Sloan for her past support as she moves to a new organization. Any queries on the SEI working group these now can be made to
Youth EmploymentElizabeth Vance (International Youth Foundation, IYF)

Alice Gugelev (Global Development Incubator)
The working group is refining the framework of a white paper on scaling youth employment strategies.
Nutrition Working GroupChytanya Kompala (Eleanor Crook Foundation)

Dylan Walters (Nutrition International)
The Nutrition Scaling Working Group (NSWG) members established a Terms of Reference. The group’s mission is “to create a community of passionate individuals to exchange knowledge, generate ideas, and collaborate to solve problems related to the sustainable and impactful scaling of nutrition interventions.” The group now has 115 members. January 2020 saw the second virtual meeting of the NSWG, with well-received and -discussed presentations on the nine critical elements for impact at scale and on the story of scaling up Vitamin A supplementation. In addition, the Eleanor Crook Foundation supported a Devex Series on Scaling Nutrition with contributions from NSWG members on challenges to the scale-up in nutrition programming. Over the next few months, the group will be working on a literature scan on scaling resources within the nutrition sector. Going forward, it hopes to explore topics such as costing in nutrition scaling, the potential influence of the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) on the scale-up for nutrition, and how civil society can help with the N4G nutrition commitments. Its next NSWG teleconference will be in April 2020.

Member News

Baltazar y Nicolas Foundation (Early child development)

The Baltazar y Nicolas Foundation of Peru aims to sup[1]port the scaling up of early child development programs in the country. It has carried out impact evaluations of post-natal home visits and has offered extended parental leave to new mothers and fathers among its staff in cooperation with other organizations. These and related activities are part of the Foundation’s effort to assist with the implementation of a new governmental resolution on early child development in Peru. For more information see

Contact: Rommy Ríos (

CARE (Adolescent girls’ development)

In 2010 CARE developed a model to positively impact the lives of ever-married adolescent girls and their communities in Amhara, Ethiopia. The model is called TESFA, which means ‘hope’ in Amharic. The TESFA approach organizes ever-married girls into solidarity-groups through which a 12-month sexual and reproductive health and financial literacy curriculum is delivered, primarily via peers, in addition to savings and loan activities. The TESFA model also organizes community ‘gatekeepers’ into Social Action and Analysis (SAA) groups. SAA groups help to create an enabling environment for married adolescent girls to achieve both economic and health outcomes. Both immediate and ex post (four years after program closure) evaluations of TESFA have demonstrated that this model improves the economic, personal, and social lives of married adolescent girls, as well as has significant SRH outcomes. Notably, the ex-post evaluation found that all surveyed girl groups and community groups continue to meet, and in the intervention sites as much as 60% of the girl groups have self-replicated to include more girls. With these findings and further insights from end users, CARE launched TESFA+ in 2018 to design and test a more impactful and scalable version of the model. Current scale up efforts include testing an “organized diffusion” approach by which TESFA girls will be trained and encouraged to share their TESFA knowledge with others in their social network to facilitate diffusion of information and greater social norms change. The CARE team is currently developing monitoring tools and a knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) survey to assess the effectiveness of organized diffusion on scaling norms change interventions.

Center for Universal Education at Brookings (CUE) (Education)

“Millions Learning” Update: The Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings completed its first year of Real-time Scaling Labs. In 2019, CUE launched 5 labs with partners in Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, the Philippines, and Tanzania, focusing on issues ranging from early childhood development to life skills education. This included seven national lab convenings, which established a common scaling language and framework in each country, identified urgent problems and a shared scaling vision to address them, and collaboratively explored challenges and opportunities in achieving this vision. In July, 28 partners from 12 countries attended the Real-time Scaling Lab Global Convening in Switzerland to facilitate cross-lab learnings on key scaling themes and the scaling lab process, such as balancing rigorous research with real-world application and support. CUE has been working to share learning in an ongoing way through numerous blogs, articles, and published research and will continue to do so in the year ahead, as the labs continue to refine and pursue scaling plans and draw learnings about the scaling process in education. Millions Learning’s most recent blog, Scaling quality education calls for scaling effective teacher professional development, discusses how the outsized impact of teachers on student learning makes it clear that successfully improving learning outcomes at scale will require reckoning with how to scale teacher professional development (TPD) in an effective, efficient, and equitable way.

Contact: Molly Curtiss (

CIMMYT (Agriculture)

“Scaling agricultural mechanization services in smallholder farming systems: Case studies from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.” Scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) assessed how three large projects have scaled service provision models for agricultural mechanization in Bangladesh, Mexico and Zimbabwe. The Scaling Scan ( was applied by project staff, as well as public and private sector actors, to assess what is “really” needed to go to scale beyond the project environments. Although the interventions examined in the case studies successfully reach high numbers of end users, the assessment exposes issues and challenges around the sustainable and transformative impact of the project interventions. The study shows the important role of the external context (different countries) in achieving lasting impact. While provision of market and spatial information helps local businesses target their interventions, the studies found that local stakeholders are still dependent on the projects in terms of transitioning from project to market finance, facilitating collaboration along the value chain, and provision of leadership and advocacy to address issues at governance level. The paper is the second contribution of CIMMYT to the Special Issue on Scaling of the Agricultural Systems journal and can

be found here: S0308521X18314914

Scaling Conference: “The art and science of scaling impact for smallholder agriculture”, hosted by CIMMYT- IDRC- GIZ in Mexico, 26 and 27 March 2020

From 23 to 25 March 2020, the GIZ Task Force on Scaling and IDRC Canada will be holding their internal scaling workshops at CIMMYT HQ in Texcoco, Mexico. Taking advantage of their presence on campus, CIMMYT is organizing a scaling conference on the

26-27 March, when representatives from CGIAR, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), GIZ, IDRC Canada and other members of the donor, implementation and research communities will meet to:

  • Exchange lessons on scaling positive impacts of innovations and programs around the world;
  • Discuss ways of mainstreaming scaling in donor, research and development organizations;
  • Reach a common understanding of the status of the art and science of scaling;
  • Strengthen the network of experts in scaling, agriculture and rural development.

The event will be using ZOOM (see link here: https://, Meeting ID: 848 570 888) to allow anyone who is interested to contribute on-line. The recording will be made available on the CIMMYT website.  Anyone interested in attending the conference in person or requiring additional information about the event, please check out https://www.cimmyt. org/events/the-art-and-science-of-scaling-impact-forsmallholder-agriculture/ and contact Lennart Woltering (  Note that there is limited space (first come first served) and there is no financial support for travel and accommodation.

Contact: Lennart Woltering (

Co-Impact (Health, education and economic opportunity)

Co-Impact’s Third Round of Systems Change Grants: Open Call for Proposals: Co-Impact is now inviting concept notes for its third round of grants. They are looking for systems change initiatives with the potential to achieve lasting outcomes in health, education, and/ or economic opportunity in low- and middle-income countries in the Global South. Eligible initiatives will be led by organizations rooted in the countries in which they seek to make a difference, proactively addressing gender equity and inclusion, and on a path to improve the lives of one million people or more. Additionally, because Co-Impact believes that its portfolio and the prospects of program success are enhanced by strong representation of women, it will also ensure that at least 50% of the initiatives it selects are led by women. Co-Impact is inviting applications now through March 31st, 2020. More information: Contact:

Co-Impact Design Grants (ECD/Livelihoods): Co-Impact is pleased to announce its second round of design grants, awarded to six outstanding initiatives with the potential to transform national and regional systems, thereby enabling powerful, proven ideas to be adopted at scale. The six lead organizations, all rooted in the Global South, will receive US $500,000 over a period of 6-8 months. The purpose of the design grant is to afford social change leaders the time and space to build out their vision for systems change, including the opportunity to reflect, strategize, develop key partnerships, build coalitions, consolidate an evidence base, and create an overall budget and fundraising plan for the initiative. While the design grant is a pre-requisite to a Co-Impact systems change grant, it is also structured to be valuable in its own right. Given the complexity and scale of systems change work, Co-Impact sees the design period as a key step in this process and looks forward to working closely with its new partners over the coming months. More information: org/design-grants/.

Contact: Helen Liu (

Educate! (Education)

New evidence demonstrates that Educate!’s model – a secondary school youth skills program in Uganda currently operating at scale (in 800+ schools, 25% of all Ugandan secondary schools, in 2019) – had a significant and lasting impact on youth skills, education outcomes, and gender-related outcomes. A randomized controlled trial conducted in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action and researchers from UC Berkeley and the World Bank evaluated outcomes four years after the treatment cohort completed the Educate! program. This evaluation speaks to the level and type of impact that is possible for a highly scalable solution. With scant research in this area – particularly for youth, and particularly in Africa – this study contributes to a much-needed body of evidence. For more information, check out IPA’s webcast with lead researchers Paul Gertler (UC Berkeley) and Laura Chioda (World Bank) ( event/ipa-webcast-skills-we-really-need-impacts-educate-experience-skills-based-education-program), a blog by CEGA (, and a BBC broadcast (

Contact: Rachael Miller Buck (

Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF) (Nutrition)

ECF recently sponsored a series of articles on scaling nutrition interventions, published by Devex. In the global nutrition sector the focus on interconnectedness is omnipresent — but has this approach really worked in practice, at scale? With insights from scaling efforts across the international development industry, and a focus on the nuances of the nutrition sector, this series brings together some of the key voices in the field for a productive dialogue on how to best foster smart nutrition investments at scale. What does it take to achieve scale, and why has it been so hard to achieve in the nutrition sector? Follow the conversation to find out:

Contact: Chytanya Kompala (

Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN)/Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) (Nutrition)

In the lead up to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement’s Global Gathering in November 2019, ENN developed five brief papers in relation to scaling up nutrition interventions, distilling key emerging themes from the last 5 years of articles published in its key publications, Field Exchange and Nutrition Exchange. The briefs examined over 150 relevant field-level articles exploring emerging themes related to: (i) building an enabling environment; (ii) utilizing SUN mechanisms to catalyze scale up; (iii) scaling up nutrition sensitive interventions; (iv) scaling up nutrition specific interventions; and (v) working in fragile and conflict affected States. Links to the articles can be found here: https://

Contact: Natalie Sessions, ENN (

ExpandNet (Reproductive health)

ExpandNet scaling initiatives. Members of the ExpandNet network have been collaborating to support scale up with a number of Gates Foundation-supported grantees working to improve family planning access and quality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria. A paper was recently published highlighting ExpandNet collaboration with the Evidence to Action Project and Pathfinder International entitled “Government Ownership and Adaptation in Scale-Up: Experiences from Community-Based Family Planning Programme in the DRC,” published in the African Journal of Reproductive Health (Vol 23(4):2019).

ExpandNet team members recently began supporting the University of California Berkeley-led Discover Project to analyze scale-up considerations for their developmental psychology-based approach to working with kids ages 10-11 in ways that help ensure positive health and life trajectories. In addition, ExpandNet members have initiated collaboration with the Adolescents 360 project that uses a human-centered design lens to meaningfully address the contraceptive needs of girls ages 15-19 in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. Lastly, in the past quarter, ExpandNet has begun to work with members of the Walton Family Foundation’s Oceans Team that seeks to help end overfishing, improve ocean health and preserve coastal livelihoods. This sustainable fisheries work has a special focus on the Blue Swimming Crab Coalition that can serve as a potential model for replication elsewhere in Indonesia and possibly other nations where fishing is a major source of livelihood. This work is exciting for ExpandNet because it represents another technical area beyond global health and education sectors where the ExpandNet/WHO framework and approach are successfully being applied to strategically plan and manage scale-up processes.

Event: Scaling up Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health (AYRH) Interventions: On March 26, the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project and Pathfinder International, in partnership with the World Health Organization, Family Planning 2020, and the Global Financing Facility, will host an interactive workshop in Washington, DC. The goal is to increase the knowledge and capacity of AYRH technical advisors, policymakers, and program designers to provide support in systematically planning, implementing, and monitoring the scale-up of AYRH interventions in low and middle-income countries. These questions will be addressed, among others: What’s unique about scaling up adolescent and youth reproductive health (AYRH) interventions? How can we support AYRH experts to expand their knowledge on systematic approaches to scale-up? The event will feature learning sessions and “labs” for participants to apply their new understanding of the ExpandNet/WHO approach to scale-up. Together, participants will consider barriers—including deep societal ambivalence about youth and sexuality—and how these issues affect the entire scale-up process, as well as community, program, and policy environments. From choices about stakeholder inclusion to backlash from communities, health providers, and policymakers, workshop participants will explore key dynamics by closely examining both project-specific and national-level scale-up experiences. Following the workshop, participants are invited to join a reception, hosted by WHO, to launch the special supplement in the Journal of Adolescent Health on the topic of “Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: What Has Been Achieved in the 25 Years Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and What Remains to Be Done?” ( REGISTER NOW: This workshop is in-person only, and space is limited. For more details, or to register now, please visit this link: (https://www.eventbrite. com/e/scaling-up-adolescent-and-youth-reproductive-health-interventions-tickets-96097910437)

Contact: Laura Ghiron (

FHI 360 (Health)

In 2014, FHI 360 established a global program acceleration initiative as part of the LINKAGES project that uses existing partnerships to speed up the rate of implementation, scale up geographical coverage and reach within and across countries, and improve standards for implementation of a comprehensive package of services at scale.  This initiative provides phased technical assistance, building on the principles of community participation and real-time use of data, to inform programs in the field. Since 2014, LINKAGES has worked with host country governments, local community-based organizations, key population community leaders, and health care providers in 34 countries to deliver services that reduce HIV transmission among key population members and their partners and extend the lives of those already living with HIV. To date, LINKAGES has reached more than two million key population members, supported over 1.3 million HIV tests, newly diagnosed almost 65,000 individuals with HIV, and linked or initiated more than 60,000 PLHIV on treatment.

IDRC (General)

Robert McLean and John Gargani presented their new IDRC book Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good in a seminar at the Center for Global Development. They discussed the new and practical approach to scaling the positive impacts of research and innovation outlined in the book, based on a review of over 200 IDRC studies and 5 in-depth case explorations. The authors note that the world is changing rapidly, and seemingly intractable problems like environmental degradation or accelerating inequality press us to do better for each other and our environment as a global community. Challenges like these appear to demand a significant scale of action, and the authors argued that a more creative and critical approach to scaling is both possible and essential. To book and the presentation are intended to present actionable principles that can help organizations and innovators design, manage, and evaluate scaling strategies. For a video recording of the event, see event/scaling-impact-innovation-public-good.

Contact: Robert McLean, IDRC (

IMAGO (Social enterprises)

The Capacity to Aspire to Change the World, by Isabel Guerrero. January 29, 2020.

https://www. medium=email&utm_campaign=Jan%202020%20 Newsletter&utm_term=link_4&utm_content=Capacity%20to%20Aspire

Isabel Guerrero works with organizations that want to scale up their impact. Her organization, IMAGO Global Grassroots, helped groups prepare to apply for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change and noticed how the opportunity to reflect on and plan for scale inspired them.  She also noted that this inspiration lingered even after they learned they weren’t finalists. Why? She says it gave them the capacity to aspire to change the world.

Contact: Isabel Guerrero (

J-PAL (General)

J-PAL Innovation in Government Initiative, by Samantha Carter, Samantha Friedlander, Siena Harlin, and Claire Walsh, J-PAL, 2 May 2019.


J-PAL announced the Innovation in Government Initiative (IGI). IGI’s mission is to work with governments to adapt, pilot, and scale evidence-informed innovations with the potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty in developing countries. For more than a decade, J-PAL has built long-term partnerships with governments around the world to increase the use of evidence from randomized evaluations in policy, and to adapt and scale programs informed by evidence. J-PAL works with government partners on policy priorities they have identified, helping them determine whether and how evidence is relevant to their context or not, supporting pilots of programs leveraging relevant evidence, and building systems for data-enabled program delivery and monitoring. They believe this middle phase is vital to bridging the gap between the generation of promising evidence and the scale-up of effective programs. IGI is designed to support this important work to help catalyze the transition from research to scale.

“The Generalizability Puzzle”: J-PAL recently released a video on how research findings can be generalized across contexts. How can studying one program make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions worldwide? The answer lies in generalizability, or applying lessons from one context to another. As the J-PAL network has recently passed the threshold of 1,000 completed or on-going randomized evaluations, the ability to draw lessons from the wealth of available evidence becomes a critical scaling question for experimental research. In this video, Mary Ann Bates, Executive Director of J-PAL North America, explains how insights from randomized evaluations, when combined with a deep understanding of local contexts, can provide useful guidance for more effective policies and programs.  Further information on the generalizability framework can be found in the Stanford Social Innovation Review article.

Contact: Adil Ababou (

“Informing shifts in policy: Reflections on a long-run impact evaluation of a community block grant program in Indonesia” By Aulia Anggita Larasati and Christal Setyobudi. 15 January 2020.

Creating good policies is a complex and dynamic process. A program can be evaluated, found to improve people’s lives, and be scaled up. However, in the longer run, these programs interact with other policies, contexts change, and policymakers are in constant need of new information and evidence to adjust their programs and address new challenges. This article reflects on a block-grant scheme designed to help Indonesian villages improve the quality of and access to health and education services, and its experiences scaling via government and policy. The article concludes with recommendations on collaborating with key government stakeholders on scaling programs.

Contact: Aulia Anggita Larasati (

Management Systems International (MSI) (Education)

As part of a midterm evaluation, MSI led a scalability assessment workshop in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was designed around the Scalability Checklist and included all stakeholders from the funder (USAID) to the implementing partners and the Government of Senegal. The evaluation covered a USAID-funded reading project and assessed the sustainability and scalability of the project to be taken nation-wide, led by the Ministry of Education. The workshop took place over a morning and the information used from the workshop was incorporated into the findings from the evaluation.

Contact: Lisa Slifer-Mbacke (

Rice University Organization & Workforce Laboratory (OWL) (Education)

OWL recently received a $5.2M NSF grant, with which it intends to implement learning interventions at large scale, but also to preserve the infrastructure so that the scaling solution is transportable (and hopefully generalizable in its effectiveness).

Contact: Fred Oswald (

RTI International (Education)

With funding from the Gates foundation, RTI International is partnering with the Center for Global Development on the Learning at Scale study.  This research is examining eight large-scale education programs that have demonstrated impact on basic skills at scale in low- and middle-income countries.  Included in the study are programs in Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, and Tanzania.  Data collection has begun and is scheduled to be completed over the next 4-5 months. Teams of senior research experts and trained enumerators in each country are collecting data on classroom practices and on key features of education system policy and technical and management capacity.  Analysis of the data from all eight programs will (1) identify the instructional strategies that were essential to the programs achieving improved learning outcomes and (2) reveal the features of the education systems that enabled impact to be realized at an appreciable scale.  It is anticipated that the eight case studies will enhance our understanding of how education systems can achieve improved learning outcomes at scale.

Contact: Joe DeStefano (

The Challenge Initiative (TCI) (Health)

The Challenge Initiative (TCI) recently published a new white paper that thoroughly explains its underlying sustainable scale-up principles as well as its plans for sustaining and monitoring its impact beyond a city’s engagement with TCI. Pathways to Scale and Sustainability: How to Sustainably Scale up Global Health Programs and Measure Progress is the culmination of a collective effort to clearly outline TCI’s approach to scale. This paper outlines key components of the TCI model and demonstrates how TCI cities are bringing this model to life in urban family planning programs in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), Francophone West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Senegal), Nigeria and India and shares the successes and lessons learned to date over the past two years of implementation. While particularly relevant for urban family planning programs, TCI believes its model is applicable to any global health and development area where evidence-based interventions have been codified and can be “right-sized” to fit the local context. This white paper is also designed to advance the thinking related to sustainability and how it is measured. In addition to more traditional indicators – such as increased funding, policy change and capacity strengthening – TCI is also considering how its “business unusual” approach positively impacts the overall health system.

Contact: Lisa Mwaikambo (

World Agroforestry (ICRAF) (Forestry)

Large scale impact requires evidence-based innovations to be widely adopted across multiple contexts. The “research in development approach” used by ICRAF and partners generates this information, by testing and validating options using a farmer-centered approach to understand what works best where and for whom. This is essentially integrating research design into implementation while providing real-time feedback from and with farmers. The research in development approach is a transition from traditional research methods, which often work on a small number of sites with limited farmer engagement, to an approach based on high levels of farmer participation generating robust evidence across a high number of sites and multiple contexts. Based on experience of farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Niger who implemented on-farm planned comparisons to test and innovate land management practices that restore agricultural productivity and ecosystem health, this ICRAF brochure describes advances toward achieving transformative outcomes by placing farmers at the center of land restoration efforts and agricultural research: http://www.worldagroforestry. org/output/full-brochure-2020-using-planned-comparisons-east-africa-and-sahel

Contact: Leigh Ann Winowiecki (ICRAF) (L.A.WINOWIECKI@CGIAR.ORG)

Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE)

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) can credibly estimate causal relationships and guide us towards designing policies that improve people’s wellbeing. However, complexities arise when RCTs are scaled. Spillovers are one such example. A small-scale RCT might show large benefits to households receiving a productive asset such as a cow. These benefits could potentially diminish at scale because the relative abundance of cows could lower the price of milk. Positive spillovers exist as well. Other complexities of scale include political reactions and macroeconomic effects. The Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) was founded to support research that bridges the gap between RCT evidence and at-scale policy effects. Y-RISE has assembled several networks of researchers with expertise in micro and macroeconomics, econometrics, and political economy to conduct comprehensive research on the effects of promising development interventions when scaled. We are in the process of developing several research initiatives that will take the form of centrally coordinated trials of a single intervention across multiple geographies. By conducting a project at scale in multiple locations, we hope to crowd in researchers with varying expertise who can help us answer unique questions regarding the complexities of scaling and examine whether these results are generalizable across geographies. For instance, we are exploring different solutions to seasonal deprivation in different locations, including providing migration subsidies in South Asia ( For this project, we aim to inform policymakers about a range of direct and indirect unanticipated issues that may arise with large-scale migration beyond the direct effects of subsidies on recipient behavior. These include (1) spillover effects on those who do not receive subsidies, (2) unintended consequences on health, relationships and domestic violence (, and (3) more ambitious questions about the aggregate productivity consequences of mobility. It is our hope that Y-RISE’s research initiatives will generate nuanced and holistic evidence that will guide effective policy design and improve human wellbeing.

Contact: Rifaiyat Mahbub (

Other Publications, Videos and Events


Why we swing for the fences. By Bill and Melinda Gates. February 2020.

Bill and Melinda Gates reflect on 20 Years of the B&MG Foundation: “Twenty years after starting our foundation, we’re just as optimistic about the power of innovation to drive progress… We know that philanthropy can never—and should never—take the place of governments or the private sector. We do believe it has a unique role to play in driving progress, though. At its best, philanthropy takes risks that governments can’t and corporations won’t. Governments need to focus most of their resources on scaling proven solutions. Businesses have fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders. But foundations like ours have the freedom to test out ideas that might not otherwise get tried, some of which may lead to breakthroughs… The goal isn’t just incremental progress. It’s to put the full force of our efforts and resources behind the big bets that, if successful, will save and improve lives.”

Freakonomics Podcast: Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet) (Ep. 405). By Stephen J. Dubner, February 12, 2020.

This Freakonomics podcast asks: Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Video: Why ‘scaling by subtraction’ makes sense for development. By Larry Cooley. Devex. 15 February 2020.

In this 5-minute video, Larry Cooley describes the most common pathways to scale and concludes that the key to successful scaling normally lies in ensuring that interventions find a permanent home on one or both of “the two platforms that are built to deliver goods and services sustainably at scale: governments and markets.” He argues that this typically requires reducing complexity, developing a deep understanding of the context, and working through each of the changes required to integrate into these larger, preexisting structures; and he suggests resources and guidelines for putting these principles into action.

Why the World Bank is partnering with the Consumer Technology Association.

By Catherine Cheney, Devex. 10 January 2020. why-the-world-bank-is-partnering-with-the-consumer-technology-association-96314?access_key=TXyL2pIwPuE_LcowlxQMILvpja6CLP-b&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newswire&utm_campaign=yourheadlines&utm_content=text&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RkaU1EVTVOV1F3WWpCaSIsInQiOiJKVVBiNDlGMzBpUmlEY1RpdENQVTYrSFVaMDNRNmkyU2xFQlIwTjRXRXdZQW1OQ1ZTU09SMWR1Y1VVdEE5XC90ODl3SWlhM2RTNmdhZlFvc1EzQ1wvQngwMis4eGVYR3RaOEl5NTdUSWppcVwvenp4QVdMQjltdXUzQytaOElqOTBIeSJ9

In January 2020 the World Bank Group launched the Global Tech Challenge at CES, the annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association that is bringing 180,000 attendees together in Las Vegas, Nevada. The challenge calls for innovations leveraging technology to improve health, narrow the gender divide, and strengthen resilience from disasters and climate change. By partnering with the Consumer Technology Association, the World Bank Group aims to mobilize the tech companies to work on key development challenges and to help them scale their impact in the markets that need it most.

Taking intervention costs seriously: a new, old toolbox for inference about costs. By Caitlin Tulloch. Journal of Development Effectiveness. 5 November 2019.

https:// 684342

This paper examines a new set of average cost data from a large international NGO, finding that costs for the same intervention can vary as much as twenty times when scale or context is changed. Despite this challenge to the generalizability of cost estimates, a high proportion of the variation can be explained by observable program and contextual characteristics. Binary questions about whether cost estimates are externally valid do not provide a useful framework for wider inference; instead, researchers can gain analytical traction if they study what factors cause the costs of specific interventions to change, and by how much.

4 Ideas for Making Your Impact Massive: Friendly Advice for a New Generation of Funders,

Philanthropists, and Changemakers. By Jeff Rosenthal and Eric Kessler. Arabella Advisers. No date.

The authors provide friendly advice for a new generation of funders, philanthropists and changemakers based on their experience at Arabella Advisers. The desire to give is one of humankind’s most powerful forces for good. But good intentions are just the beginning. Here’s some advice to help a new generation of high-impact funders get started.

Blitzscaling: The Lightening-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies. By Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. Currency. 2018.

This book asks the question: What is the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies? Silicon Valley is home to a disproportionate number of companies that have grown from garage startups into global giants. But what is the secret to these startups’ extraordinary success? The authors argue that, contrary to the popular narrative, it’s not their superhuman founders or savvy venture capitalists. Rather, it’s that they have learned how to blitzscale. Blitzscaling is a specific set of practices for igniting and managing dizzying growth; an accelerated path to the stage in a startup’s life-cycle where the most value is created. It prioritizes speed over efficiency in an environment of uncertainty, and allows a company to go from “startup” to “scaleup” at a furious pace that captures the market. Drawing on their experiences scaling startups into billion-dollar businesses, Hoffman and Yeh offer a framework for blitzscaling that can be replicated in any region or industry. Readers will learn how to design business models that support lightning-fast growth, navigate necessary shifts in strategy at each level of scale, and weather the management challenges that arise as their company grows.

Upscale: What it takes to scale a startup. By the people who’ve done it. By James Silver. Technation. 2018.

Startups are born to fail. Around three quarters of venture capital backed new companies never return cash to investors. Upscale is about the other 25%. “Upscale” focuses on the moment founders floor the accelerator and their company goes from a bunch of friends in a co-working space to hundreds of employees often scattered around the world. Speaking to some of the UK’s leading technology entrepreneurs and investors – including Brent Hoberman (, Founders Factory), Wendy Tan White (BGF, Moonfruit), Neil Rimer (Index Ventures), Suranga Chandratillake (Balderton Capital), Saul Klein (LocalGlobe), and Sarah Wood (Unruly) – who between them have built or backed companies worth billions, journalist James Silver offers hard-headed advice from those who’ve succeeded – and the mistakes to look out for along the way.

The Generalizability Puzzle. By May Ann Bates and Rachel Glenester. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Summer 2017. the_generalizability_puzzle

The paper argues that, too often, those who care about local context and those who do impact evaluations are seen as opposed, but this perception is false. Those who conduct impact evaluations and help governments integrate the lessons into policy care passionately about understanding the local context. The key to the generalizability puzzle is recognizing that we have to break any practical policy question into parts: Some parts of the problem will be answered with local institutional knowledge and descriptive data, and some will be answered with evidence from impact evaluations in other contexts. The generalizability framework set out in this paper provides a practical approach for combining evidence of different kinds to assess whether a given policy will likely work in a new context. If researchers and policy makers continue to view results of impact evaluations as a black box and fail to focus on mechanisms, the movement toward evidence-based policy making will fall far short of its potential for improving people’s lives.


Two events on the role of agricultural extension for scaling innovations. By CGIAR. March and April 2020. envisioning-the-future-of-extension/

Successful scaling of agricultural innovations will depend on a multi-faceted approach involving improved enabling environment, effective partnerships and improved capacity, inter alia.  The two events above focus on one component of scaling, but one that is particularly important for agricultural innovations — the ‘last mile’ challenges of ensuring that farmers have adequate information on the innovations.  The two events will explore different futures for extension, recognizing the importance of a pluralistic approach to extension and advisory services.

Understanding innovation: The development and scaling of orange-fleshed sweet potato in major African food systems. By Jan W. Low and Graham Thiele. Agricultural Systems, Volume 179, March 2020.

This article reports on the scaling up of Vitamin A-rich, orange-fleshed sweet potato (FSP), the lead biofortified crop in Africa. OFSP was a disruptive innovation as non-OFSP types were demanded before. Committed leadership for innovation for over 20 years was critical for scaling. A strong evidence base was requisite for obtaining donor support for scaling. Partner initiative for scaling united diverse organizations with a common vision.

Moving Up Innovations to Scale: Lessons from IFAD-Supported Development Interventions in the Philippines. By IFAD. 2014 IFAD-Supported%20Development%20Interventions%20 in%20the%20Philippines.pdf

This publication presents assessment and lessons for scaling successful or promising innovations in agriculture and rural development in the Philippines. This is based on a systematic use of a set of scaling-up framing questions developed by IFAD in cooperation with Brookings to document approaches made for selected interventions in agriculture and rural development.

Artificial Intelligence

Getting to scale with artificial intelligence. McKinsey. Podcast, November 2019. business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/ getting-to-scale-with-artificial-intelligence?cid=other-eml-nsl-mip-mck&hlkid=609c31b01ddb45e3b52219cc094bf528&hctky=3196546&hdpid=bf3ea65f-cecc4a66-b4ad-0a4a6f811d5a

Companies adopting AI across the organization are investing as much in people and processes as in technology. By now, it’s common knowledge that AI holds immense promise across a wide range of applications—everything from diagnosing disease to personalizing websites. But how far are most companies along the road to adoption at scale? When you look at the organizations furthest ahead, how did they get there and what are they doing differently?

Climate Change

Aligning development co-operation and climate action. OECD 2019 aligning-development-co-operation-and-climate-action-5099ad91-en.htm?utm_source=Adestra&utm_ medium=email&utm_content=Read%20 More&utm_campaign=OECD%20Development%20-%20 News%20December%202019&utm_term=demo

Redirecting aid towards climate goals makes development sense:

  • Fragmented approaches in development co-operation limit the scale of effective climate action. Providers should drive effective, scaled-up climate action through common standards in finance, data and infrastructure.
  • Large volumes of finance are available globally, but systemic barriers impede investment in low-emissions, climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries. Providers should focus on effective partnering to promote finance for investments in low-emissions, climate-resilient infrastructure at scale.

If they pick and choose the easiest and most visible interventions, development co-operation providers will fail to deliver on their mandates. It is vital that they acknowledge and assume their role of supporting developing countries to adopt more sustainable growth models. The transition to low emissions, climate-resilient development pathways is the only way forward, and it is within reach. The financial resources and technology, for the most part, are already available. What is needed is concerted and relentlessly ambitious support from development co-operation providers, through both individual action and partnerships.

Development and Impact Finance

The New Missing Middle in Development Finance. CSIS Briefs, by Daniel F. Runde, Erol Yayboke, and Sundar R. Ramanujam, November 13, 2019 analysis/new-missing-middle-development-finance

The global micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) landscape faces a significant finance gap in the mid-late growth stage of innovation. This stage is critical as it is often the time when viable ideas turn into profit-making businesses. This financing gap is seemingly impenetrable for some of the current development finance actors who are unwilling to accept the marginally lower financial returns inherent to this critical stage of innovation.

This brief looks at how blended finance tools can be used to structure an appropriate investment vehicle that can catalyze private capital and bridge the gap between the high-risk and low-risk stages of innovation.

New fund seeks to scale impact investing through collective action. By Adva Saldinger, 5 December 2019, Devex. news/new-fund-seeks-to-scale-impact-investingthrough-collective-action-96156?access_key=TXyL2pIwPuE_LcowlxQMILvpja6CLP-b&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newswire&utm_campaign=yourheadlines&utm_content=text&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWTJReE1tSTBNbUl6TWpnMiIsInQiOiJNaDNJQ2lOeldrekJ6T053SVV4ZDRzSVBTdElIRHhmU3dzT0k5RWVxS3BDYzA2UCtEcENRWm9WbHpMOHNyUUw4N0ZmblFnTEsybVVZbmNrZVVDRjF0M3hjQWxjUXNvUGxhc3Z1aitTVlpDOCtjNGVyS1poZE81c3QzUVlObGZ3diJ9

The Tipping Point Fund launched recently by a group of foundations seeks to provide collective support for the type of field-building work that will allow impact investing to grow “with integrity.” As impact investing expands, it needs clarity around metrics and new policies, especially as concerns mount over new entrants into the field claiming the label but not achieving impact, according to the fund’s creators. The Tipping Point Fund, which launched with $12.5 million in funding from a group of nine organizations, will have two central focuses to start: public engagement and public policy to help grow the industry; and data, metrics, and measurement to provide clarity as it develops.


Paying for education outcomes at scale in India. By Emily Gustafsson-Wright and Izzy Boggild-Jones. Brookings. November 2019 research/paying-for-education-outcomes-at-scale-in-india/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_ content=81709236

This study seeks to place two education development impact bonds in the context of the Indian education landscape, and to investigate the overall potential and limitations of outcome-based financing for education in India. While impact bonds are by no means the solution to all the challenges the education system faces, judicious use of the tool has the potential to focus financing on impact, promote effective interventions and service providers, and reinforce the use of data and evidence in decision making. This report explores three key factors for the growth of impact bonds in the education sector: ready and able education service providers; technology for data collection, analysis, and action; and willingness of government to engage.

Scaling Educational Innovations. Edited by Chee-Kit Looi and Laik Woon. Springer, Singapore. 2015 book/10.1007/978-981-287-537-2#about

This volume stimulates critical discussions of the different variants of implementation, translation, and scaling research approaches. It presents an integrated collection of different implementation and scaling studies that analyze the different facets of co-design, learning design, curriculum development, technology development, professional development, and program implementation. It also provides critical reflections on their impact and efficacies on transforming practices, informing policymaking, and theory derivation and improvement. The chapters in this volume provide readers a deeper understanding of the scaling of educational innovations in diverse socio-cultural contexts.

Effects of Scaling Up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students. By David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart, Krzysztof Karbownik. NBER Working Paper No. 26758. February 2020.

Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and a student fixed effect design, this study explores how the massive scale-up of a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes. Expansion of the program produced modestly larger benefits for students attending public schools that had a larger initial degree of private school options, measured prior to the introduction of the voucher program. These benefits include higher standardized test scores and lower absenteeism and suspension rates. Effects are particularly pronounced for lower-income students, but results are positive for more affluent students as well.


Assessing sustainable development impacts of scaling-up climate action in the electricity sector. By Tessa Schiefer, Frauke Roeser, Harry Fearnehough. New Climate Institute. December 2019.

https://newclimate. org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/A2A_Lessons_learnt. pdf

Based on experiences in several countries, this paper formulates six key lessons learnt for the assessment of sustainable development impacts and their integration into climate policy making. The lessons focus on technical as well as political aspects and include recommendations for future work in this area to support ambition raising and sustainable development through robust evidence.

Contact: Tessa Schiefer (, Frauke Röser (, and Harry Fearnehough (h.fearnehough@


Core strategies, social processes, and contextual influences of early phases of implementation and statewide scale-up of group prenatal care in South Carolina, by Kristin M. Van De Griend, Deborah L. Billings, Edward A. Frongillo, DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias, Amy H. Crockett, Sarah Covington-Kolb, in Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 79, April 2020.

This mixed-methods process evaluation examined a state-wide, interagency collaborative in South Carolina that expanded Centering Pregnancy group prenatal care from two to five additional healthcare practices from 2012 to 2015. The evaluation focused on delineating core processes, strategies, and external contextual elements of group prenatal care implementation and scale-up. Success of this scale-up was enhanced by the effective use and creation of windows of opportunity, which allowed stakeholders to pursue actions consistent with their own values, at both state and organizational levels. Most importantly, strong political advocacy and state-level financial commitment for group prenatal care made it possible for clinics throughout South Carolina to begin providing Centering Pregnancy to their patients. Improved understanding of the processes involved in scaling-up pilot interventions may enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of future expansion efforts.

Fighting for global health with ‘one-two punch’ of innovation and access. By Jamie Bay Nishi. Devex. 13 February 2020.

For many advocates trying to build political momentum for the SDGs, there will be a temptation to argue that the road to 2030 is straightforward — that we have the tools we need to achieve our health-related goals, we simply must ensure everyone, everywhere has access to them. But the reality is, we don’t. Moreover, claiming we do can have the unintended effect of limiting support for the full array of actions and investments urgently needed. To reach the SDGs, we must do two things at once: Reach everyone with the solutions we have, while increasing research investments to find the solutions we don’t. The fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria offer instructive examples.

Really ending river blindness: Mark Sullivan and John Reeder. By Robin Davies. Development Policy Center. 31 January 2020. really-ending-river-blindness-mark-sullivanand-john-reeder/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=1c9fa956e7-Devpolicy+News+Dec+15+2017_ COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f 84-1c9fa956e7-227683534

This article documents the work of Mark Sullivan and John Reeder in making a superior new treatment for river blindness accessible, reporting on new progress in the decades-long fight to end a debilitating disease. River blindness, or onchocerciasis, is endemic in 31 countries. Overwhelmingly a disease of sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that approximately 20 million people are currently infected, including over a million with vision loss, with nearly 200 million people at risk of infection. Both Mark and John saw the potential of the new treatment (moxidectin) to treat river blindness, and its potential to treat other neglected tropical diseases, including scabies, a major health issue in remote Indigenous communities in northern Australia. This is their story of collaboration, securing public and donor funding for drug development, and getting moxidectin FDA-approved.

A framework for scaling up health interventions: lessons from large-scale improvement initiatives in Africa. By Pierre M. Baker, Amy Reid and Marie W. Schall. Implementation Science 2016: 11:12.


Drawing from the previously reported frameworks for scaling up health interventions and our experience in the USA and abroad, this paper describes a framework for taking health interventions to full scale, and uses two large-scale improvement initiatives in Africa to illustrate the framework in action, i.e., two national-scale improvement initiatives that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement had undertaken in Ghana and South Africa.

Dare to Matter: Your Path to Making a Difference Now. By Jordan Kassalow and Jennifer Krause. Citadel. 2019.

We all want to make the world a better place, but with busy, demanding lives, most of us struggle with the where, when, and how. Dr. Jordan Kassalow, founder of VisionSpring, the groundbreaking venture that has restored eyesight and hope to millions of people across the globe, shares his personal story of integrating real-world responsibilities with his desire to make a difference, and suggests how others can  find practical ways forward, custom-made for their unique talents and circumstances.

The complete interview with Gavi CEO Seth Berkley. By Raj Kumar, Devex. 24 January 2020.


Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is celebrating its 20th anniversary as it looks ahead to a replenishment later this year and contemplates a new strategy. Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar interviewed Gavi CEO Seth Berkley about what has made the alliance successful so far and what the future may look like. “Gavi’s been very successful. It’s started to launch new vaccines,” Berkley said. “What we would like to do is focus in on leaving no one behind … Of course what we want is to for every child, in every family, to be vaccinated.”


Community paralegals and the pursuit of justice. Edited by Vivek Maru and Varun Gauri (Cambridge University Press 2019) Community_Paralegals_and_the_Pursuit_of_Justice. pdf?event-type=FTLA

The United Nations estimates that 4 billion people worldwide live outside the protection of the law. These people can be driven from their land, intimidated by violence, and excluded from society. This Open Access book is about community paralegals – some- times called barefoot lawyers – who demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. These paralegals date back to 1950s South Africa and are active today in many countries, but their role has largely been ignored by researchers. Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice is the first book on the subject. Focusing on paralegal movements in six countries, Vivek Maru, Varun Gauri, and their coauthors have collected rich, vivid stories of paralegals helping people to take on injustice, from domestic violence to unlawful mining to denial of wages. From these stories emerges evidence of what works and how. The insights in this book will be of immense value in the global fight for universal justice.

Nutrition and food security

What does it take to create a nutrition program with lasting impact? Interview with Richard Kohl. By Malia Politzer, Devex, 21 January 2019.

https://www. source=newsletter&utm_medium=newswire&utm_campaign=yourheadlines&utm_content=text&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTXpBNE1EQmhaak15WmprdyIsInQiOiJlTzA3RWtUTXZESnkwYkRoQnExWVNHMUlDMlZtQ0ZcL1YzV04wRHBZSFNxUVpwRGtsTUoxMGNJNE5TQkZZR2d1aG52Rm41bHFUa0Q0d0xZNXFNcjA2UWc1UzBBVFN0d21RNlFQeCt5djVFUXp5cWVIa1wvaW01TFdaN094bnAwRFRBIn0%3D

Effectively addressing malnutrition in all its forms will require interventions that maximize both impact and scale. Unfortunately, scaling high-impact nutrition interventions is more easily said than done — which is why stakeholders serious about reducing malnutrition need to think strategically and carefully about ease of implementation and delivery systems well before the implementation phase, according to Richard Kohl, president and lead strategy consultant at Strategy and Scale.

Social enterprises

“They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know:” Coaching Enterprises to Scale. By Tara Schoenborn. CASE at Duke. February 24, 2020.

https://centers.fuqua.duke. edu/case/2020/02/24/they-dont-know-what-they-dontknow-coaching-social-enterprises-to-scale/

Launched with the goal of identifying ways to support social enterprises as they work to achieve impact at scale, CASE’s Scaling Readiness Assessment analyzed eight organizations’ strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and then used coaching as a powerful tool to help address their biggest challenges. Stay tuned for the ground-breaking release of the CASE Scaling Diagnostic Readiness tool that will help enterprises identify challenges as they scale and for other outcomes the GRA project signing up for CASE’s monthly newsletter.  To access additional CASE tools and resources on scaling, visit Scaling Pathways, which offers practical advice from experienced social enterprises about how to navigate technical and adaptive challenges like those highlighted in the GRA Project.


ExpoNOW: the first World Expo of Innovations for the Planet organized by ChangeNOW

From Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, the first World Expo of Innovations for the Planet took place in Paris, a unique gathering of 20,000 participants presenting and assessing solutions for the planet, including investors, corporates, talent, cities, and media dedicated to accelerating connections in the positive-impact sector!  This Expo was organized by ChangeNOW, and involves Innovative solutions that have a positive impact, rethink standards, have a viable business model, and have potential for growth. One of the goals of ChangeNOW is to enable projects to grow and scale, in order to extend their impact. Therefore ChangeNOW selects solutions that have the potential to grow and be replicated in different places.


Village Reach and Spring Impact event on scaling at Skoll World Forum, 31 March 2020

Join Village Reach and Spring Impact for an interactive session on “Reframing Government Adoption: The Journey to Sustained Impact at Scale” during Skoll World Forum week in Oxford, UK.  The workshop will be Tuesday, March 31st from 9:30am to 2:00pm., before the official opening of the forum. Please confirm your participation as space is limited:

Systematic Scaling Review: Call for input on a Campbell systematic review “Strategies for scaling up the implementation of interventions in social welfare”.

This review is being led by Luke Wolfenden, Bianca Albers, Aron Shlonsky and Meghan Finch. The authors are seeking unpublished relevant studies or reports evaluating interventions to scale up effective social welfare interventions. Please note that the authors have already completed a systematic search of academic databases and therefore this request does not extend to published literature. Please email with any relevant information.

$10 Million Challenge Launched to Help Crowdsource Solutions to Social Challenges

On January 23, 2020, The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation announced as a platform for partnerships that will continue to build the field of data science for social impact. This is the next chapter of a $50 million commitment Mastercard and the Rockefeller Foundation made last year to launch a transformational model for philanthropy. As part of this announcement, launched a new $10 million impact challenge to crowdsource scalable and sustainable data science solutions for non-profit, civic and government organizations. The new data. org seeks to build the capacity of non-profit organizations with training resources, access to data sets and open-sourced tools that help these organizations harness the power of data insights and analytics to enhance their efforts. This will be done in a way that brings more people and organizations together to effect positive social change, all while adhering to principles of responsible data use.

MacArthur Foundation’s Lever for Change – a New Website HTML&u=44259739&mid=6418881&jb=5

Lever for Change has launched its new, improved website at Read about the Foundation’s partners, competitions, and Bold Solutions Network. Building off the success of 100&Change, the MacArthur Foundation’s breakthrough $100 million competition, Lever for Change helps philanthropists source vetted, high-impact philanthropic opportunities and connects nonprofits and problem solvers to significant amounts of philanthropic capital. Lever for Change helps philanthropists find and fund vetted, high impact philanthropic competitions either through the design and management of customized competitions or by identifying opportunities from the Bold Solutions Network, a searchable database which contains top vetted proposals from all our competitions.

Special Features

Scaling Readiness: A scientific approach to scaling innovations. By Marc Schut and Murat Sartas. February 2019

Scaling Readiness presents a scientific approach to support impactful scaling of innovations. Scaling innovations is one of the biggest challenges facing research and development organizations. For the past 3 years, a group of scientists representing Wageningen University and the CGIAR global research for development partnership worked on the design and testing of Scaling Readiness. During this period, Scaling Readiness components contributed to scaling activities of more than 20 projects in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Although developed to support scaling of agricultural innovations, Scaling Readiness principles can be applied to enhance the scaling of innovation in other sectors, including education, health, sanitation and energy.

Scaling Readiness unpacks innovations and scores their readiness for scaling. This enables the identification of scaling bottlenecks and making decisions on what kinds of investments, activities and partnerships are required to overcome the bottlenecks. An example of the Scaling Readiness assessment is an innovation package to combat cassava diseases in Tanzania (see graph). The package consists of different innovations that are assessed for their innovation readiness (y-axis) and innovation use (x-axis). Low readiness and use of a functional government seed system is the main bottleneck to scaling in this example.

Through its standardized data collection and analysis approach, Scaling Readiness can be used to monitor a portfolio of innovation and scaling investments at program or organizational level. It also supports prioritization, and decisions on advancement of those innovations that can achieve societal outcomes at scale in the most resource efficient way.

The recently launched Scaling Readiness Web Portal ( provides more information on the concepts, practices and use of Scaling Readiness. It also offers visitors an opportunity to ‘Let’s Try’ Scaling Readiness. Please visit the Scaling Readiness Web Portal ( or download directly the Scaling Readiness Guidelines for more information. We are looking forward to your feedback.

Contact: Dr. Marc Schut ( or (

Pennies to Power: Taking village savings and loan associations (VSLA) to scale. By CARE. February 2019

A VSLA is a self-managed group of 20-30 members that meets two to four times a month, providing members with a safe place to save their money, access loans and get emergency insurance. VSLAs provide access to savings and credit for low-income women, accelerating their economic success and ability to navigate life’s inevitable shocks. But that is just the start. The social networks created by these groups empower women to join forces, raise their voices and achieve their goals.

For more than 25 years, VSLAs have served as a vehicle for women’s economic empowerment. These VSLAs have:

  • Created pathways for nearly 1 million members in a dozen countries to open their first bank account.
  • Enabled more than 300,000 young people, many of them adolescent girls or young women, to establish solid financial management skills and income early in life.
  • Served as a platform for social justice and political empowerment.
  • Informed national policies and billion-dollar programs. Today, more than 60 government initiatives across Sub-Saharan Africa promote VSLAs or groups like them.

As of December 2019, CARE has directly supported more than 7.6 million members across 51 countries to join VSLAs, while influencing others to replicate the model, for a total reach exceeding 15 million members globally. We aim to reach 50 million additional women and girls in 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia that have the highest rates of gender inequality and economic disparity.

To get there, CARE will invest in four areas of change:

  1. Increase the rate of VSLA formation. We are committed to increasing the rate of VSLA promotion by 25 percent within each of our programming areas.
  2. Empower public- and private-sector scaling partners to form new VSLAs. CARE will work with existing and future government and private sector partners to help scale our work and by linking the growth of VSLAs to the sustainability and supply chain investments of major corporations.
  3. Digitize VSLAs to lower costs and extend reach. CARE is pursuing a Digital Transformation Initiative, developing a first-of-its-kind solution that anyone can use to promote the formation of high-quality, sustainable VSLAs.
  4. Build a strong VSLA network. Today, nearly 500,000 women are connected not only through their individual groups, but also through VSLA-toVSLA federations, as in Niger and Mali.

Read the full scaling strategy here:

Contact: Emily Janoch (

Investing Early: Innovation Edge’s roadmap for transforming ideas into impact. Innovation Edge. February 2019

At Innovation Edge (IE) we invest early. We invest in ideas that aim to transform the early life experiences of children and we frequently invest very early in the lifecycle of an innovation. Investing early does not mean we don’t think about the long term. We only invest in ideas with the potential to scale sustainably with consistent social impact. Upfront considerations around scale, sustainability and impact are made when we screen incoming applications and as we continue to assess the viability of an investment as it progresses through our pipeline.

Through our five years of successes and failures, we developed our Venture Progression Map (VPM). The VPM is a tool for taking ventures from ideation to scale. A key element of our approach is how we have disaggregated the lifecycle of a venture. We have seven progression stages: Ideation; Feasibility/Research and Development; Proof of Concept (POC), consisting of Development and Piloting; Refining and Testing; Making the Case; Transitioning to Scale; and Scaling.

As ventures move from ideation to scale, we ask questions around ten progression categories: (1) Increments of evidence; (2) Demand; (3) Value proposition; (4) Scale quantified; (5) Governance, legal and compliance; (6) People (including aspects of leadership); (7) Sustainable resourcing; (8) Internal systems, tools and processes; (9) Ecosystem readiness; (10) Marketing and communications. These categories are not always mutually exclusive; they often intersect; but distinguishing between them is helpful as they identify key aspects for consideration as we move towards scale.

The journey is displayed as linear, but in reality, that is not always the case. Through learnings and insights we may need to go back to a ‘completed’ stage or rethink our conclusions about a category. You can access the full VPM here.

Here are some insights from our work thus far:

  1. Think about users and customers, not beneficiaries. This encourages thinking about demand, value proposition and the market.
  2. You can reach a destination via different routes. Sometimes the planned route is not the one you take in the end, but having a planned route is an essential starting point for the journey. By the end of our feasibility stage, we would expect a theory of change (TOC) and a theory of scale (T2S) to guide what assumptions are tested.
  3. Vertical alignment is important. A sustainable, scalable and impactful venture requires all the categories to be aligned. Further down the line that alignment is not always possible if it is not managed incrementally e.g. don’t get too far down the road with an idea that works, but that doesn’t have the team in place to manage it at scale or the demand from customers or users.
  4. POC is not one step. Our VPM breaks the POC process into 3 stages. This helps us to manage our expectations of an investee more realistically.
  5. Don’t try to count impact too early. While we would love to tally the numbers reached across our portfolio and frame that number as ‘impact’, we know that this is not meaningful. We are also cautious about conflating breadth and depth of impact.

As with the brain science of early childhood, we know the importance of laying the right foundations. We’ve learnt that success at scale for a venture requires these building blocks and that a solid foundation is only possible if all the blocks are in place. As very early stage investors, we also know that taking risks is part of our mandate and part of our value add to the ecosystem, so our VPM should not be used as a set of non-negotiables, but a tool for reflection.

Contact: Lyndsey Petro (

Ending Malnutrition in Africa: The experience and lessons of Sanku in Tanzania. By Sanku ( February 2019.

Sanku is working to end micronutrient malnutrition by partnering with small-scale millers to ensure that fortified maize flour is accessible to all, regardless of location or economic status. Because up to 95% of the Tanzanian population consumes maize flour from small mills, and our goal is to reach 100 million people across East Africa, our intervention had to be designed from the beginning to achieve scale. Our approach is scalable because our product (1) is not discernibly different from maize flour available on the market and (2) uses a technology that requires no behavior change and very little training to use. Our business model neutralizes the cost of fortification for our partners and consumers, while bringing in revenue to ensure Sanku’s sustainability. Our “dosifier” ( was designed to work with any mill and is equipped with technology that allows us to streamline and grow our operations.

As of February 2020, Sanku has scaled to 25 out of 26 regions and 75 out of 169 districts in Tanzania. Part of our scaling strategy is to introduce footholds in regions with willing partner millers, who influence other mills to join on with Sanku, allowing us to saturate a given area. As we now have a presence in a majority of regions, we are in a great position to dramatically increase our reach, which is currently approximately 2 million people per day.

Several scaling lessons we have learned so far include (1) having a high quality product that partners and customers value and trust is critical to our expansion; (2) automating our systems is essential to preserving quality while scaling; (3) remote monitoring technology allows us to boost our efficiency and ensure compliance while keeping costs low; and (4) every new program design element we introduce has to pass the test “will this work at scale” regardless of how small it starts.

A continuing challenge for us has been staffing for scale. We struggle to find staff with the right mix of values and skills rapidly enough to meet our expansion goals. Our staff are crucial to our internal growth and our expansion, so we are working on finding a solution to this need.

Contact: Anne Wanlund (

From Research to Scale: Deworm the World in Pakistan. By Evidence Action. February 2019

Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative employs a cost-effective, evidence-based, and sustainable approach to scaling school-based deworming programs that treat schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in school-age children. Deworm the World’s partnership model includes 7 critical areas of support to governments which enables rapid and sustainable scale-up through leveraging existing education and health infrastructure. The initiative supports government programs that treat over 260 million children annually, with strong collaboration resulting in successful implementation across 6 countries: India, Kenya, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and, most recently, Pakistan.

Pakistan is among the top-10 highest burden countries for STH globally, and the only high burden country that has not scaled up deworming of at-risk schoolage children. In 2016, Evidence Action partnered with Interactive Research & Development (IRD), Indus Health

Network, the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives, and the World Health Organization to conduct Pakistan’s first nationwide STH prevalence survey. Overall, survey results indicated the need for annual treatment for an estimated 17 million school-age children in 44 at-risk districts across northern Pakistan and the southern city of Karachi.

Following months of advocacy using the newly available evidence on STH infection levels, Evidence Action and implementing partners launched technical assistance to the Government of Pakistan in five territories and provinces – Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Sindh, Punjab, and Gilgit-Baltistan. This was followed by establishment of program governance structures, policy and planning meetings, and program design suited to the local context. In January 2019, the first mass deworming round launched in ICT, treating over 200,000 children. KP followed later that year treating 2.7 million children. In both locations, detailed planning resulted in relatively smooth implementation of mass deworming. However, Evidence Action identified program challenges that hindered reaching initial treatment targets, including little to no data on the total number and location of private schools, lack of government structures to reach high numbers of private schools, and high proportions of out-of-school children who are inherently harder to reach through school-based programs.

Despite challenges, Deworm the World’s partnership model and 7 areas of technical assistance allowed Evidence Action, IRD, and government partners to effectively capture lessons learned and provided the foundation for adaptive school-based deworming programs across Pakistan’s different geographies. Moving forward, Evidence Action will use this model to support the government in targeting treatment of at least 75% of all at-risk school-age children across all 44 identified at-risk districts in Pakistan by 2021.

Contact: Brett Sedgewick (

Lessons on Scaling Up Education Interventions: The LEARNigeria Story. By The Education Partnership (TEP). February 2020

As with most of sub-Saharan Africa, the education sector in Nigeria faces a number of challenges. With over 10.2 million out of school children, insufficient teachers, low learning outcomes, and complexities in basic education policies, Nigeria lags behind in achieving its development potential. The government alone is unable to meet the learning needs of all its citizens, and without the support of innovative education interventions, the vision of sustainable and inclusive learning opportunities is further removed from Nigerians.

In 2015, The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre implemented a pilot survey of Nigeria’s first citizen-led household assessment of learning, LEARNigeria. LEARNigeria evolved as a result of lingering concerns about the poor learning outcomes of Nigerian children, and the reality that education stakeholders were not being held adequately accountable. LEARNigeria asserts that through rigorous collection of empirical data on foundational literacy and numeracy skills of children aged 5-18 years, the country can generate evidence which can inform targeted interventions and early course correction.

Contrary to the idea that once a concept is proven, it can automatically be replicated, the LEARNigeria project was anchored on a systematic approach to scaling up. Drawing from the ExpandNet framework, ( this approach to scaling emphasizes the stock-taking of varied factors that shape successful outcomes.

The LEARNigeria pilot was carried out in two local government areas (LGAs) – Ikorodu (Lagos) and Ungogo (Kano) with 969 children surveyed. Following the successful pilot, the survey was replicated in 36 LGAs in six states (Lagos, Kano, Taraba, Plateau, Ebonyi, and Akwa Ibom) in 2017, reaching over 49,000 children aged 3-15 in over 21,000 households across the six geopolitical zones in the country.

Additionally, LEARNigeria expanded vertically by facilitating public-private partnerships with relevant stakeholders including: The Ministry of Education (Federal and State), State Education councils, Government Agencies, Academics, Teachers, and International experts.

The evolution of LEARNigeria into a multipronged program has provided the following insights:

  • Building consensus between key private and public sector stakeholders in project design will aid the implementation and scaling of the project
  • In planning for scale up, emphasis should also be placed on planning for extensive monitoring and evaluation
  • Engagement with local and state government authorities is as important as engagement with the federal government
  • Partnerships with community or state-level organizations are important for acceptance and ownership of the program at the community level. In sum, the growth of the LEARNigeria program shows that scaling up is best achieved and sustained when program design is inclusive and participatory, and when there is consensus on the vision for scale. In 2020, LEARNigeria will be scaled to reach an estimated 100,000 children across Nigeria. For more information on the LEARNigeria program, please visit

Contact: Layo Olumide (


A selection of significant contributions from 2010 and before

Fighting Hunger at the Grassroots: Paths to Scaling Up. By Peter Unwin. World Development, 23(6): 927939. 1995. article/abs/pii/0305750X9500028B

This article proposes some clear definitions and taxonomies of scaling up, i.e., the processes by which grassroots organizations expand their impact. It then goes on to apply this taxonomy of scaling up to 25 Third World organizations that were nominated for the Alan Shawn Feinstein Hunger Awards, a yearly set of three awards given by Brown University to organizations that have been especially meritorious in combating or preventing hunger. This case study describes a number of paths for scaling up that might have general relevance.

Costs of scaling up health interventions: A systematic review. By Benjamin Johns, Tessa Tan Torres, Health Policy and Planning 20(1):1-13, January 2005.

National governments and international agencies, including programs like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, have committed to scaling up health interventions and to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and they need information on costs of scaling up these interventions. However, there has been no systematic attempt across health interventions to determine the impact of scaling up on the costs of programs. This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on the costs of scaling up health interventions.

Scaling Up—From Vision to Large-scale Change: A Management Framework for Practitioners (3rd Edition). By Larry Cooley. MSI. March 2016.

IPC-Scaling Up\Scaling Up Publications\ScalingUp_3rdEdition.pdf

(Password: Newsletter16)

This field-tested framework and set of guidelines, originally published in 2003 and updated in 2012 and 2016, includes a scalability assessment checklist and practical advice on how to carry out ten key tasks needed for effective scaling and for sustaining development outcomes at scale. The framework and tools are intended to be of direct and immediate use to those planning, implementing, and funding innovative solutions to development problems and to those hoping to take the results of these investments to scale.

Scaling up health service delivery: from pilot innovations to policies and programmes. Edited by Ruth Simmons, Peter Fajans, and Laura Ghiron. ExpandNet and WHO. 2007.

This book considers the topic of scaling up from a particular vantage point. The focus is on ways to increase the impact of health service innovations that have been tested in pilot or experimental projects so as to benefit more people and to foster policy and program development on a lasting, sustainable basis. The book addresses a major failure in the global health and development field: namely, the failure to expand the many successful small-scale pilot or demonstration projects that have been organized around the world so as to benefit larger populations than those initially served. It presents a conceptual framework for thinking about scaling up as well as case-studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America where the potential for expansion was a concern from the very inception of pilot or experimental projects.

Report  for  SEED Initiative  Research  Programme:   Scale up and replication for social and environmental enterprises by Heather Creech, 2008

This paper presents a number of issues arising from a preliminary investigation into how start-up social and environmental enterprises can expand both their business and their impact, and how broader social and environmental benefits can be realized beyond the impacts of the individual enterprises.

Scaling Up: A Framework and Lessons for Development Effectiveness from Literature and Practice. By Arntraud Hartmann and Johannes Linn.

Working Paper 5. Wolfensohn Center for Development, Brookings. October 2008. wp-content/uploads/2016/06/10_scaling_up_aid_linn. pdf

Scaling up of development interventions is much debated today as a way to improve their impact and effectiveness. Based on a review of scaling up literature and practice, this paper develops a framework for the key dynamics that allow the scaling up process to happen. The authors explore the possible approaches and paths to scaling up, the drivers of expansion and of replication, the space that has to be created for interventions to grow, and the role of evaluation and of careful planning and implementation. They draw a number of lessons for the development analyst and practitioner. More than anything else, scaling up is about political and organizational leadership, about vision, values and mindset, and about incentives and accountability—all oriented to make scaling up a central element of individual, institutional, national and international development efforts. The paper concludes by highlighting some implications for aid and aid donors.

Joe McCannon ( provided these additional references:

M. Granovetter. Strength of weak ties. Am J Social. 1973; 78:1360-138. papers/granovetter73ties.pdf

M. Chowdhury and R. Cash. A Simple Solution: Teaching Millions to Treat Diarrhea at Home. 1996. oclc/36284743

N. Dixon. Common Knowledge: How Companies Thrive by Sharing What They Know. 2000. common-knowledge-how-companies-thrive-by-sharingwhat-they-know

A.L. Barabasi. Linked: The New Science of Networks. 2000.

D.M. Berwick. Disseminating innovations in health care. JAMA. 2003;289(15):1969-1975. https://www.ncbi.nlm.

In addition, these two bibliographies are available, respectively, from ExpandNet ( biblio/) and from Brookings ( wp-content/uploads/2016/07/10_scaling_up_aid_linn_ bibliography.pdf).


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