We set up Busara to bring research on poverty alleviation closer to the people it seeks to serve. We were also filling a gap: behavioral science and international development were meeting each other for the first time. We soon learned that while research is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough if you really want to change the world. The gap between creating knowledge, and turning it into better practice, is real. It takes months to write the paper, years to publish the book, and decades to win the Nobel Prize that changes the way people think about development. But even such knowledge does not automatically shift practice: for things to change, programs have to be embedded in their contexts, and acknowledge constraints. The tools and methods of behavioral science can help with that by gathering insights that can more swiftly improve programs, policies, and the lives of people living in scarcity.
Since 2015, we have been an independent entity committed to applied research with partners seeking to use behavioral science to address specific problems.
Today, our 130+ staff are based in our HQ in Nairobi, or offices in East and West Africa, and India. Remaining firmly rooted in our commitment to stay close to the people and the contexts we serve, we only set up offices where we are doing our work. We’ve worked in 23 countries across the Global South, including in Latin America and the Pacific Islands.
The Busara Lab is now the largest behavioral science lab in the world with a panel of more than 133,000 participants across sites in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Having run more than 300 projects with 150 partners, we have offered decision-makers practical recommendations for instant action, while advancing behavioral science in the Global South.
Current Project Presence