January 24, 2013
In previous annual letters, Gates focused on the power of innovation to reduce hunger, poverty, and disease. But any innovation -- whether it's a new vaccine or an improved seed -- can't have an impact unless it reaches the people who will benefit from it. That's why in this year's letter, Gates discusses how innovations in measurement are critical to finding new, effective ways to deliver these tools and services to the clinics, family farms, and classrooms that need them.The Foundation is supporting these efforts, but more needs to be done. Given how tight budgets are around the world, governments are rightfully demanding effectiveness in the programs they pay for. To address these demands, we need better measurement tools to determine which approaches work and which do not. In this letter, Gates highlights strong examples from the past year of how measurement is making a difference. In Colorado, Melinda and Bill learned how a school district is pioneering a new system to measure and promote teacher effectiveness. In Ethiopia, Gates witnessed how a poor country, pursuing goals set by the United Nations, delivered better health services to its people. In Nigeria, the digital revolution has allowed the foundation to improve the use of measurement in the campaign to eradicate polio. Thanks to cell phones, satellites, and cheap sensors, data can be gathered and organized with increasing speed and accuracy.