New Evidence

New kinds of evidence can play an outsized role in building more resilient lives as people around the world work to diminish poverty. And a host of low-tech and high-tech innovations are providing new kinds of evidence: New ways of monitoring from the top down or the bottom up to provide real-time alerts about everything from weather to the risks of disease. New ways of mapping and modeling social, economic, and environmental conditions empower people to change those conditions. New indexes reframe the goals and therefore the very nature of development efforts. All these tools connect people with information and with one another, creating feedback loops that individuals, communities , and even entire regions can use to catalyze change in the ecologies of poverty and wealth.

The Pivotal Challenge

Action Zones

From the global to the local, novel ways to monitor the environment provide new opportunities to respond to small problems before they become big challenges. Whether communities are trying to track maternal health or monitor the use of agricultural water from the Nile, new information catalyzes action.

Mobile phone early warning

Bangladesh broadcasts flood and cyclone warnings by mobile phone.

Real-time epidemic detection

Health workers collect data with mobile phones in Sri Lanka and India.

SMS garbage complaints

Delhi uses SMS + Facebook to clean up city streets

The Pivotal Challenge

Freedom of Information under Threat

As powerful as new evidence is in catalyzing change, its potential is minimized if it is systematically suppressed or controlled. From Latin America to Africa and Asia, freedom of information—whether from traditional press or new media channels—is under attack from those who stand to lose wealth or power. A key challenge over the next decade will be securing the right to these new forms of evidence.

Attacks on journalists

Press and Society Institute has emergency number for journalists

Censorship strategies

FACT reports blocking of 500 websites a day in Thailand

Restrictive information laws

OSISA blocked recent Angolan legislation to limit Internet freedoms

Discover More Signals