WHAT WE DO

Laterite provides technical advice to clients on the design & implementation of research projects, development interventions and economic policies. Our approach is structured, data intensive, and embedded in the local political and institutional context.

Our services include:

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    Diagnosis & building a theory of change

    Good policies and projects are based on a sound understanding of the problem, which is almost always more complex than expected. Laterite helps policy-makers design and implement research projects aimed at understanding a problem from many different angles, be it throught the lense of economic incentives, individual or collective behaviour, perceptions, social networks, poverty status, or demographics. We build on existing resources and employ both qualitative and quantitative methods to generate and test hypotheses and design an evidence based theory of change. Laterite’s approach is strucutred, collaborative and grounded in the local context.

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    Advice on research methods & evaluation design

     Laterite provides policy-makers with technical advice on the design and implementation of research projects, in particular evaluation strategies. Our research team can advise on: research questions, research instruments, sampling strategies, weighting, the creation of counter-factuals, evaluation design, identification strategies (including RCT, CRCT, RDD, matching, instrumental variables, synthetic controls, proximity controls), alternative learning methods, econometric methods, pairing or the identification of similar groups/clusters, data cleaning and processing, and field logistics. We strive to provide our clients with as many feasible options as possible and do our best to explain analytic and financial implications. Ultimately, Laterite supports organizations to design relevant, technically sound and operationally feasible research projects, grounded in the local context.

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    Evidence-based policy & project design

    At Laterite we support our clients to design policies and projects that are based on evidence, operational feasibility and the sensitivity to the local context. The design process is guided by Laterite’s design-thinking approach, that helps our teams generate ideas, hypotheses and testable assumptions in a structured and collaborative way. With short term projects we build on exisiting resources, our local knowledge, and our ability to mobilize research teams quickly, to build an evidence base and test assumptions. In the case of longer term assignments, we help clients develop and test potential solutions experimentally, using the most rigorous evaluation techniques. We strongly believe in the value of testing different potential solutions, before scaling up.

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    Market research

     Laterite provides market intelligence advisory services targeted at local medium and large enterprises, foreign investors or organizations interested in learning about sectors of the economy. Our approach is structured and integrates both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques. At the macro-level, our teams study the size of markets, market segmentation  (from a company, customer and product perspective), competition, market trends and tell the story of leading companies. At the product level, we work to help our clients develop and test new products, understand customer preferences and behaviour and study price sensitivity.

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    Improving the targeting of interventions & policies

    One of the key questions policy makers and development professionals deal with is how to best allocate resources in order to maximize impact and outreach. This involves trade-offs and sometimes difficult decisions, in terms of which locations to target, which households, age groups, gender, etc. Using exisitng resources and datasets, Laterite helps policy makers use evidence to make informed decisions and model different scenarios. Laterite also helps clients design indices to improve the targeting of individuals or clusters.

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    Estimating potential outreach & understanding logistical implications

    Projects or policies almost always set outreach targets, for example “reaching out to 50,000 vulnerable adolescent girls aged 11 country-wide”, but what are the implications of that? How many different locations would the program need to operate in to achieve that target, what is the most effective strategy to identify eligible candidates, what are the most appropriate selection criteria to use? Laterite helps policy-makers use evidence and existing datasets to anwer these questions, fine-tune their outreach targets, estimate potential outreach under different scenarions/criteria, and better understand the logistical implications of outreach targets.

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    Capacity building on research & evaluation methods

     Laterite provides technical training through individual coaching or group formats. The training we provide focuses on helping policy-makers and development professionals understand what to look out for when designing or reviewing research projects, be it at the design, data collection or analysis phase. Our goal is not to explain statistical formulas or statistical software tools, but to provide our clients with some key ideas and concepts, that will help them ask the right questions, understand some of the trade-offs and ensure that the research they commission is of better quality.

WHAT WE PROVIDE

The latest analytic techniques

Laterite combines stategic advisory methods with the latest available research and data analysis techniques. We believe that data analysis and experimental techniques can hugely contribute to the quality of strategic advice and the development of new programs and policies.

A collaborative approach

We work with humility and in close collaboration with our clients and partners. By involving clients and partners in a structured thinking process, backed by evidence and qualitative insights, we create an environment in which the best ideas can surface.

Evidence-based advice

Our approach to advisory work is data intensive. We believe too many policy decisions are made based on assumptions or anecdotal insights rather than evidence. We work with clients to integrate concrete evidence into their decision-making.

Locally tailored solutions

As a company we believe that the fly-in-fly-out model has limitations. Being based in-country allows us to ground all our work in a deep understanding of the local context.

Advice grounded in reality

What appears good on paper is not always practical to execute in reality. For example, what are the practical requirements to target 50,000 vulnerable adolescent girls through an intervention? We integrate the logistical knowledge we gain from our research to advise clients on project implementation.

The ability to mobilize quickly

If the evidence base for a decision is missing or incomplete, Laterite has the capacity to quickly mobilize large data and research teams to bridge the gap.