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Understanding the digital lives

Understanding the digital lives of the vulnerable to advance policy and product design

What role do digital products play in poor people’s lives? If we want a digital environment that enables low-income people, especially women, to access finance, education, and health, then we need to understand the gendered and social differences in the digital lives of the poor.

That is the goal of the Digital Portfolios of the Poor project. It builds on the methodology used in Dr. Daryl Collins’ best-seller Portfolios of the Poor, where researchers studied how the poor managed their money. Now, we want to understand how the poor manage their digital lives, and the digital products they have access to.

This understanding is fundamental to design better digital products to improve the lives of the poor, better policies to protect the vulnerable and better education efforts around data privacy and risks, especially to women.

The Project
The Research Team
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Understanding
the digital lives

of  vulnerable people
The Project
The Research Team

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Funder

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Decodis

Organizer

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The Henry J. Leir Institute

Collaborator

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The Fletcher School

Collaborator

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Tufts University

Collaborator

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Graam Vaani

Field partner in India

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Learning Lions

Field partner in Kenya

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Jane Doe Foundation

Field partner in Nigeria

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John Doe Institute

Field partner in Pakistan

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The Fletcher School Team

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Anulika Mefor

Research Assistant - Nigeria

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Daniel Kibet

Research Assistant - Kenya

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Lakshmee Vinayak Sharma

Research Assistant - India

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Robin Tharakan

Research Assistant - Cybersecurity/Privacy

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Sakshi Chandra

Research Assistant - Communications

Research

Qualitative insights, at scale

This project will develop insights by collecting primary qualitative data at scale using a new method developed and piloted by Daryl Collins, CEO and Founder of Decodis. This new and innovative approach leverages tech-led methods including Interactive Voice Recording (IVR), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sociolinguistics.

The project engages with local partners in each of the four countries – India, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan to collaborate on the collection of the data. To learn more about the methodology that is being employed for this project, please visit the Decodis website.

Principal Investigators

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Dr. Daryl Collins

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CEO and Founder, Decodis

Author of the acclaimed Portfolios of the Poor and a pioneer working at the intersection of finance and human vulnerability. In the past two decades, Dr. Collins has built a broad portfolio of work with foundations, bilateral donors, governments, NGOs and private service providers. Her work is grounded in a deep understanding of the lives of vulnerable communities across the globe, leveraging the experience of executing Financial Diaries studies in over 10 countries. Dr. Collins spent the last decade as Managing Director and CEO of niche consulting BFA. She holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from New York University.

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Dr. Katrina Burgess

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Director, Henry J. Leir Institute (Tufts University)

Dr. Burgess is Associate Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Henry J. Leir Institute for Migration and Human Security at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is the author of Courting Migrants: How States Make Diasporas and Diasporas Make States, and Parties and Unions the New Global Economy along with numerous pieces on labor politics, remittances, migration, and diasporas. She has been a consultant for USAID and served as Assistant Director of the U.S.-Mexico Project at the Overseas Development Council in Washington, DC and Associate Director of the California-Mexico Project at USC in Los Angeles. Dr. Burgess received a BA in political science from Swarthmore College, an MA in international relations from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in politics from Princeton University.

Decodis Team

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Dhaval Kothari

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Sr. Project Manager

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Bamzi Banchiri

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Project Manager

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Pravarakya Reddy Battula

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Sr. Data Scientist

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Derry Moore

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Sr. Linguist

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Pravarakya Reddy Battula

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Sr. Data Scientist

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Derry Moore

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Sr. Linguist

The Fletcher School Team

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Anuli Mefor

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Research Assistant

Focused on Nigeria

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Daniel Ng'abei Kibet

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Research Assistant

Focused on Kenya

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Lakshmee Vinayak Sharma

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Research Assistant

Focused on India

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Robin Tharakan

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Research Assistant

for Cybersecurity and Privacy

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Sakshi Chandra

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Research Assistant

for Communications

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