Case #2166.0

Evaluating the Impact of Solar Lamps in Uganda

Publication Date: August 26, 2019
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IDinsight, an evaluation company founded by graduates of the Harvard Kennedy School, designs and conducts evaluations that best suit the needs of clients across the developing world, offering timely and rigorous evidence to help decision making.

In 2014, USAID approached IDinsight to conduct an evaluation of an affordable solar lantern developed by another social organization, d.light. IDinsight would have to assess whether d.light’s innovation was worth subsidizing and scaling in other parts of Africa and the world.

This case describes the decisions and challenges IDinsight faced when conducting the evaluation and presents the results of the evaluation for students to consider.

This case includes a 10:45 min. video where Neil Buddy Shah, CEO and Co-Founder of IDinsight, describes the company’s approach to evaluating anti-poverty programs in developing countries. Shah also explains what evaluation design was ultimately chosen, why, and what the results of the evaluation were. Segments from the video can be used as a way to reveal this information as part of the class discussion.

Learning Objective:
Students explore the common tradeoff evaluators face between internal and external validity; gain a deeper understanding of other evaluation design issues such as contamination, matching and multiple testing; and, learn how to use results from a rigorous evaluation to make program decisions.

Please note: the video portion of this case is included in the teaching plan and is intended for instructors to use in class.  Here is more information on how to access teaching plans.


Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Anjani Datla
Video Producer:
Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
Dan Levy
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Funding Source:
Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research