Robert Francis works on R4D’s education team as a senior program associate, studying mainly non-state schools in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa with an eye to accumulating and analyzing data that can provide guidance for investments in future initiatives for children who lack access to quality schools. His most recent project was a data analysis of the IDP Rising Schools Program, which supports low-fee private-school proprietors in Ghana whose main concern, his study found, was the low quality of infrastructure at their schools. Another discovery was that primarily middle-class Ghanaians attend these schools, which despite charging low fees recruit very few students from the lowest income quintiles, a factor that outside funders for similar programs should consider as they strive to make access more equitable.
At R4D, Mr. Francis also performed a costing study of a national home visiting program in Peru, part of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative, considering both expenses (salaries, materials, transport, training, etc.) and potential expansion costs. Learnings included the insight that important reforms can be implemented at little or no cost to the program, which could result in significant process improvements. Conversely, the most expensive reforms are not necessarily the most impactful.
Before joining R4D, Mr. Francis worked for AidData where he conducted a field study to determine factors that motivate transparent behavior in Indian NGOs. He was also an AidData summer fellow at the Economic Policy Research Centre in Kampala, Uganda, where he designed and taught courses on impact evaluation and GIS research applications.
Mr. Francis holds a BA in political science from Brigham Young University. He speaks English and Spanish.