Population Council

Answering Bold Questions:
The Power of Evidence

At the Population Council, we know that asking bold questions is critical to improving lives. But asking is only the beginning. Just as important is how you answer those questions. For 65 years, the Population Council has been steadfastly committed to asking bold questions, gathering high-quality evidence, and delivering evidence-based solutions to improve lives around the world. Our commitment to rigor isn’t just an asset – it’s the way forward.

Ideas and Action

How can research save lives?

If we are serious about effectively preparing the world’s largest generation of young people, we must invest in programs that have a proven impact. Thoai Ngo leads the GIRL Center, a new research hub that generates and translates evidence into actionable insights on what works, for which adolescents, and under what circumstances.

How can research guide programs?

Evidence tracks past progress, but can also inform our way forward. Jacinta Muteshi-Strachan leads the female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) research and capacity strengthening program, which builds on two decades of Council research and insights to actively inform national, regional, and global programs and policies working to end harmful cultural practices.

Why Research Will Prevail in a Post-Fact World

As resources become more finite and political ideology remains divisive, the need to invest in high-quality research becomes even more important. At the Maternal Health Task Force blog, Ann Blanc, vice president of social and behavioral science research at the Population Council, makes the case for rigor as a way to challenge assumptions and find solutions to improve lives.​

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How can research empower communities?

Abriendo Oportunidades provides vulnerable Mayan girls in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico with skills and support to improve their lives. Since 2004, the program has reached thousands of girls in hundreds of communities and built a network of young indigenous mentors. Alejandra Colom, Guatemala Country Director, shares how the mentors are now leading their own research.

Why does rigor matter?

The power of rigorous evidence is to determine with confidence what interventions work, as well as which don’t work, and inform policy, programming, and effective investments in health and development. Under Dr. Michael Mbizvo's leadership, the Zambia office is generating high-quality evidence in critical program areas, including key populations at risk for HIV, girls’ empowerment, and integrated services delivery models.