MORE TO EXPLORE: International Development

A New Planning Framework for Mexico City

Client
World Resources Institute Mexico and Mejor Ciudad
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Jordan Cosby, Natalia Garcia, Mariano Mórán
WRI Mexico is a country arm of World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization that works closely with leaders to sustain natural resources and human well-being. In collaboration with Mejor Ciudad, a Mexican NGO, WRI Mexico engaged a Capstone team to develop an urban planning framework for the new planning agency that will guide planning in Mexico City under the country’s new Constitution. The team devised a set of core principles for establishing norms and criteria to promote autonomous, transparent, effective, integrated, and sustainable development planning. The team substantiated and contextualized the principles with the results from interviews they conducted with civil society actors, architects, private developers, academics, and government agencies. The team prepared a final report detailing principles for the new legislature to support the creation of new planning framework, tools, and knowledge products. WRI Mexico will present the finalized principles to the new legislature and share the findings with community-based organizations to broaden awareness and promote public participation in local government decision-making processes.
Capstone Year

Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Evolving Approach in Accra

Client
World Bank Independent Evaluation Group
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Thomas Kalogeropoulos, Fatima Kamran, Fatima Khan, Luiz Felipe Queiroz
The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is an arm of the World Bank that evaluates the organization’s project portfolio. The IEG is currently evaluating the World Bank’s Urban Resilience Operations, focusing on how the World Bank is helping its clients strengthen their coping, recovering, adapting, and transforming resilience mechanisms in the face of shocks and chronic stresses. IEG enlisted a Capstone team to assist in the preparation of inputs for the larger IEG evaluation. The team conducted a review of the 2016 Greater Ghana City Strength Report and the World Bank Accra Portfolio to serve as foundation to the research case study. The team visited Accra, Ghana, where they conducted interviews with government stakeholders and World Bank staff. The team’s research culminated in a case study on the World Bank’s evolving approach in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, which will inform IEG’s official evaluation.
Capstone Year

The Interplay Between Low-Income Housing and Air Pollution in Urban india

Client
World Bank
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Sasha Massey, Whitley Richards, Melissa Serrano, Jingyi Wu
The World Bank, an international financial institution, aims to end extreme poverty and foster income growth by providing financial assistance and support to various countries. The World Bank’s New Delhi office engaged a Capstone team to investigate the relationship between air pollution and affordable housing construction in India. Air pollution in India’s urban areas has reached emergency levels with thick fog reducing visibility and posing adverse health effects. The team focused on analyzing the construction methodologies used for low-income housing and the correlation between the construction of affordable housing and air pollution. The team evaluated existing research to uncover relevant stakeholders, standard affordable housing approaches, best practices from other countries, and steps that can minimize future air pollution caused by construction. The team provided World Bank with a report detailing an innovative and eco-friendly brick development methodology and policy recommendations to promote affordable housing approaches that will minimize carbon dioxide emissions.
Capstone Year

Enhancing Holistic Road Safety in Tanzania

Client
World Bank - Africa Region Urban and Risk Management
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Rachel Gichinga, Elizabeth James, Lisanne Pueschel
The World Bank is a global financial institution that issues loans to countries for development programs. The Tanzania Strategic Cities Project (TSCP) of the World Bank aims to improve the access and quality of basic urban services by financing investments in the urban infrastructure of the country’s secondary cities. The World Bank engaged a Capstone team to complement implementation support of the TSCP by assessing holistic road safety and public space networks in selected project cities. The team’s fieldwork in Arusha and Dodoma included interviewing stakeholders—including government staff, nonprofits, and community members—and visiting local parks, roads, and schools. The team also researched the primary and secondary dimensions of road safety, best practices, and case studies related to pedestrian-friendly urban design elements. Their research culminated in a final report recommending strategies and practices that enhance road safety and stakeholder engagement.
Capstone Year

Expanding Off-Grid Solar Lights in Haiti

Client
Watts of Love
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Xingtong Cao, Shelley Hoy, Jiwon Kim, Itamar Wigoder
Watts of Love (WOL) is an international nonprofit that distributes mobile solar lights to people without access to grid electricity in low-income countries. WOL enlisted a Capstone team to conduct competitive market research and support strategic efforts in scaling the organization’s operations. The team traveled to Haiti with WOL’s founder and president, board members, and other volunteers. During the trip, the team observed firsthand the solar lights distribution process and gained supplementary training. Additionally, the team independently interviewed past solar light recipients to evaluate the durability and perceived impact of their lights. Based on the results of their fieldwork, market research, and interviews with experts, the team created a final report encapsulating the market research results and recommendations for WOL.
Capstone Year

Incentivizing Renewable Energy Systems in Swaziland

Client
United Nations Development Programme
Faculty
Giuliano Bosi
Team
Xinchong Cao, Robert Chislett, Sheng Cui
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with Swaziland to launch Partnerships for Affordable Renewable Energy in Swaziland (PARES), aiming to support Swaziland’s transformational shift towards a sustainable development path by encouraging renewable energy (RE) applications throughout the country. UNDP engaged a Capstone team to support PARES in developing frameworks across all sectors that incentivize capacity-building and capital investment for establishing a competitive RE market. The team executed cross-country studies analyzing practices in Liberia, Tunisia, and Armenia to identify best practices. The team also conducted interviews with stakeholders to identify the socio-economic conditions surrounding the development of sustainable energy policy reform. The team provided policy recommendations including the development of the Swaziland Impact Bond (SIB), which involves the synthesis of a special purpose vehicle financing strategy along with derisking instruments within a social impact bond framework. The SIB incentivizes public and private sector collaboration and support of the sustainable development of Swaziland’s RE industry.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Researching Sustainable Energy Solutions to Rural Electrification

Client
United Nations Development Programme
Faculty
Giuliano Bosi
Team
Hillary Dale, Alex Ducett, Andrew Maguire, Lois Taylor- Kamara
As a global knowledge network, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) advocates for sustainable human development and connects countries to experiences and resources to build better lives. In Swaziland, the UNDP provides policy support for the government on poverty alleviation, equitable social services provision, and good governance. UNDP and the Swaziland Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy engaged a Capstone team to determine the policy and financing challenges and opportunities for decentralized, renewable energy approaches to rural electrification. After conducting comparative research on renewable energy use, the team traveled to Swaziland and conducted stakeholder mapping and individual interviews with rural energy users. The team’s research culminated in a final report that includes recommendations on navigating the regulatory environment, identifying financing mechanisms, and addressing gaps in knowledge and awareness of renewable energy technologies. These findings will directly inform the UNDP’s newly launched Partnerships for Affordable Renewable Energy in Swaziland (PARES) program with Swaziland’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Capstone Year

Enhancing a Results Framework and Developing a Theory of Change

Client
United Nations Department of Political Affairs
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Saif Awadh, Yanran Lyu, Jessica Sederquist, Ivy Shen
The United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) plays an integral role in the United Nations’ efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflict around the world. UNDPA monitors and assesses global political developments to detect potential crises before they erupt and prevent their exacerbation. UNDPA provides support to the UN Secretary-General and his envoys, as well as to UN political missions deployed around the world to help defuse crises or promote lasting solutions to conflict. UNDPA enlisted a Capstone team to explore how its programmatic oversight can improve through the development of a revised Results Framework. This framework includes indicators of achievement and targets that more accurately articulate the breadth of its global activities. The team conducted a capacity-building workshop, planning group interviews, and literature reviews on qualitative methods and conflict prevention. Using their research findings, the team provided recommendations for a revised Results Framework and developed theories of change that illustrate how revisions will impact UNDPA’s operations.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Combating Gentrification and Financing Affordable Housing in Tanzania

Client
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Ying Huang, Shayan Malik, Meredith McNair
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency, aimed at promoting investment in the public and private sectors through banks and local governments, to scale up innovative financing mechanisms for the world’s poorest people. UNCDF enlisted a Capstone team to conduct extensive research on gentrification and the lack of affordable housing in Mwanza, Tanzania. The team traveled to Mwanza where they collected quantitative data and interviewed several stakeholders, including representatives from the central and local governments, NGOs, and low-income residents. The team researched affordable housing finance models and anti-displacement strategies from around the world. The research culminated in a report that analyzed the problem of gentrification in Mwanza and the stakeholders involved, and recommended international affordable housing strategies that could be applied effectively in Mwanza.
Capstone Year

Evaluating the Feasibility of Diaspora Bonds in Financing Senegal’s Development

Client
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Youngbin Kim, Zenani Orengo, Siddharth Shah
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) provides technical assistance to the world’s 47 least developed countries to promote financial inclusivity and improve local development finance. As identified in Agenda 2030, developing countries require innovative financing for sustainable development. UNCDF enlisted a Capstone team to investigate the feasibility of implementing the financial instrument diaspora bonds in Senegal. The team focused on assessing the feasibility of diaspora bonds in the Senegalese city Saint-Louis through the examination of investments by the Senegalese diaspora currently around the world. The team completed a literature review, a comprehensive analysis of the economic opportunities for Saint-Louis, and extensive interviews with various stakeholders in Senegal and members of the diaspora. The team’s final report provides an in-depth analysis of potential opportunities and challenges of funding local development projects in Saint-Louis through diaspora bonds.
Capstone Year

Evaluating and Expanding Primary Education Opportunities in Nicaragua

Client
Project Alianza
Faculty
Kathleen Apltauer
Team
Mery Arcila, Julia Einhorn, Carlos Sosa Lombardo
Project Alianza (Alianza) is a development project that forms community alliances to build schools and provide educational opportunities for children on private coffee plantations. In Nicaragua, almost a half million school-aged children are not enrolled in school due to poverty and lack of access to schools in the remote, rural areas where they live. An estimated 320,000 children are illegally involved in child labor. Alianza gathers crucial resources to create safe, quality primary schools and to encourage students to stay in school rather than work in the coffee fields with their families. Alianza enlisted a Capstone team to develop strategic recommendations for program evaluation and expansion. The team visited Nicaragua and conducted on-site interviews and observations to understand the organization and its needs better. Through the analysis of their fieldwork, the team crafted an organizational logic model, evaluation toolkit, and long-term strategic recommendations for Alianza to evaluate and expand their operations.
Capstone Year

Evaluating Gender-Based Violence Programs in Nigeria and the Central African Republic

Client
Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World)
Faculty
Kathleen Apltauer
Team
Hannah Byford, Kimberly Paiz, Judith Reissmann, Jean Chris Romulus
Médecins du Monde (MdM) is an international movement of France- based activists who are campaigning to promote social change by providing access to healthcare and social services in crisis and conflict settings. MdM enlisted a Capstone team to evaluate their gender-based violence (GBV) intervention program in the Central African Republic (CAR) and research attitudes and opinions on GBV care integration in Nigeria. The team’s evaluation detailed the history of patient care routines over the past three years in CAR and described the healthcare provision processes along with key strengths and weaknesses of the program. The team also created data tools that MdM can leverage in future evaluations. To assess barriers to GBV care integration in Nigeria, the team interviewed staff members using cellphone-recorded voice messages and delivered a report of their findings that will inform MdM integration in Nigeria.
Capstone Year