Measuring the Power of Information

IFPRI Research in Peru Analyzes Impact of ICTs on Students’ Behavioral Choices
April 26, 2010

What type of impact can simple messages have on the behavior of the intended beneficiaries of development assistance? In order to address this question, a research team lead by IFPRI’s Markets, Trade and Institutions Division (MTID) Director Maximo Torero developed a project intended to measure the effect of using information and communications technologies (ICTs) on how participants changed their behaviors to enact positive changes in their lives. The research team began testing this idea last year in the Llacanora District of Cajamarca, Peru, which saw the installation of 20 networked computers with internet access in the local school serving 150 students at the secondary level. According to Torero, “the advantage of working with (these schoolchildren) was that they had a higher level of education and therefore it’s easy to transfer information from kids to their parents. This project is one of the initiatives the research team is pursuing under a program called “Happy Faces”. The main goal of this program is to try to find policy solutions that will target and directly affect kids to improve their wellbeing.”

Maximo Torero discusses the Happy Faces project: