Anitha Sivasankaran

Anitha Sivasankaran

Principal Researcher

Anitha Sivasankaran has extensive experience conducting measurement, evaluation, and learning activities for international development initiatives focused on health, nutrition, financial inclusion, and gender-intentional and transformative approaches. She has worked on projects in South Asia and Africa and has extensive experience working with foundations and implementing partners to design fit-for-purpose evaluation approaches, develop well-aligned measures, apply cutting-edge econometric and other analytical techniques, and distill findings for stakeholders.

Sivasankaran is the project director for Mathematica’s work as the measurement and learning partner for The Rockefeller Foundation’s Precision Public Health Initiative, which supports an equitable response to and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and globally. She also oversees an evaluation of the impact and influence of The Power of Nutrition, a partnership of investors and implementers that raises new funds for nutrition and invests in evidence-based nutrition programs in countries with a high burden of undernutrition. She plays a key role on Mathematica’s work as the global learning partner for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Digitize, Direct, and Design (D3) Initiative, part of its Financial Services for the Poor team’s Women’s Economic Empowerment and Financial Inclusion strategy. In this role, she developed a measurement framework and indicators to measure outcomes along the initiative’s theory of change and leads a study of wage digitization during the COVID-19 pandemic for women working in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh.

Sivasankaran has also designed and conducted mixed‐methods impact and performance evaluations of a range of reproductive, maternal, and child health and nutrition initiatives in Africa and South Asia for various foundations to inform strategy, strengthen implementation, or guide scale-up. These include evaluations of the following programs:

  • The Challenge Initiative, a multi-country platform funded by the Gates Foundation to build local government capacity to support urban family planning programs
  • Two David and Lucile Packard Foundation-funded community-based monitoring approaches that empowered elected female representatives and community members, respectively, to improve the quality of maternal health and reproductive health services in Bihar, India
  • A large-scale multi-component reproductive health initiative funded by the Packard Foundation in Western Kenya
  • The multi-donor Sukh urban reproductive health initiative in Pakistan
  • Two Gates Foundation-funded health interventions that sought to improve the performance of frontline health workers in Bihar, India using a mobile application and team‐based incentives

In addition to her work with foundations, Sivasankaran also worked on a Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded evaluation of activities to assess the impacts of rehabilitation, training, and irrigation improvements in olive- and date-growing areas and the impacts of post-harvest infrastructure improvements in the agricultural sector in Morocco. She also helped conduct rigorous evaluations of pilot interventions to prevent school dropout in Cambodia, India, Tajikistan, and Timor-Leste, and was a certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse Standards 3.0.

Before joining Mathematica in 2014, Sivasankaran designed and implemented an evaluation of the impact of employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector for women in rural India on marriage, fertility, and empowerment outcomes. Sivasankaran holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

  • Designing and conducting experimental, quasi-experimental, and mixed-methods evaluations
  • Measurement, evaluation, and learning for foundations
  • International development
  • Reproductive, maternal, and child health and nutrition
Focus Area Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Global
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Social Protection

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