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Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) have entered into a new partnership to consolidate data and knowledge-sharing infrastructure on outcomes-based approaches, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Outcomes-oriented funding models, such as impact bonds, have emerged as a potentially promising tool to improve social outcomes, enhance operational and spend efficiency and improve accountability. In recent years, and particularly in the context of “building back better” from the pandemic, discussions around the need for programmes to demonstrate tangible measurable outcomes have been brought to the fore. But the benefits of outcomes-based contracting are still poorly understood in comparison to alternatives (such as grants), and a lack of availability or open access to data continues to limit the adoption and scaling of outcomes-based approaches.

The Government Outcomes Lab hosts a global learning hub for outcomes-based approaches, including the largest, publicly available, dataset on impact bond projects. However, there is still much work to be done in ensuring high quality data and learning from outcomes-oriented projects in all areas around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are shared systematically, openly and transparently.

The partnership between the Government Outcomes Lab and CIFF will support the formation of a network of Data Stewards around the world, who will help foster collaboration in their respective regions by promoting data standards and facilitating the collection and harmonisation of data on social outcomes projects.

In particular, the partnership will support the collaboration with research institutions in low- and middle-income countries to define and co-create standards to describe social outcome projects, engaging local practitioners and generate lessons learned on outcomes-based projects. We believe that building the capacity of key actors to share and use data on outcomes-based contracting will in turn, improve the use of data for project design, delivery, and research.

We hope this new platform will nurture a global community of practice and provide a vibrant space for cross-fertilisation of ideas and South-South knowledge exchange between those designing and delivering outcomes-focused programmes. Moreover, through demonstrating the power of data transparency, we hope this initiative can be used to promote a culture of data sharing around the world and play a part in global efforts towards stronger programme design and better social outcomes for service users.

“We are delighted to start a new partnership with CIFF and start moving forward with the idea of a global network of data stewards. We are convinced that data stewardship is the right approach to collect, store and learn from data. Having data stewards in strategic places will enable us to build a global community where practitioners and policy makers will learn from each other and increase their capacity to use data to improve social outcomes projects.”

Dr Mara Airoldi, Academic Director of Government Outcomes Lab

“This is a strategically important partnership for CIFF and we are looking forward to working closely with the Government Outcomes Lab. Outcomes-based financing is at the heart of CIFF’s approach to philanthropy and we see great potential in tools like Development and Social Impact Bonds to accelerate progress on girl’s education, skills and women’s health. Our 2.5-year partnership with the Government Outcomes Lab will strengthen global understanding of these and other outcomes-based approaches and support local adaptation to deliver results.

Miles Kemplay, Executive Director, Children's Investment Fund Foundation

About Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)

CIFF is an independent philanthropic organisation that works with a range of partners seeking to transform the lives of children and adolescents. It plays a catalytic role as both funder and influencer to deliver urgent and lasting change at scale. Areas of work include maternal and child health, adolescent sexual health, nutrition, education, and deworming, tackling child slavery and exploitation, increasing opportunities for girls and young women, and supporting smart ways to slow down and stop climate change. 

CIFF places significant emphasis on transparency, quality data and evidence. For many of its grants, it works with partners to measure and evaluate progress to achieve large scale and sustainable impact.