Alisa is the Assistant Director at the MIT Governance Lab focusing on developing new strategic partnerships and translating evidence into practice. Prior to MIT, she was a research fellow at Yale University focusing on urban climate governance, environmental equity, and international policy. She is a World Social Science Fellow in sustainable urbanization and a member of the National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network on sustainable cities. Previously, Alisa worked for the global governance team at the World Resources Institute on environmental rights related to access to information, participation, and justice. She holds a Masters from Yale University and a Bachelor’s from The George Washington University.
Update April 2021
Exploratory Survey: Governance of the Informal Sector during Covid-19
New exploratory research seeks to understand the relationship between people and government during the pandemic, specifically in informal contexts — conceived broadly as communities and activities existing and operating outside formal government regulations or legal frameworks.
Update November 2020
EdX Case Study: From Data to Covid-19 Policy in Sierra Leone
A new online EdX course focusing on cities and Covid-19 features a case study on our research collaboration in Sierra Leone.
Results October 2020
Grassroot: Understanding the Big Picture
This learning case provides an honest reflection on the challenges and successes of MIT GOV/LAB's research collaboration with Grassroot in South Africa.
Update September 2020
[WZB Magazine] Taking Behavioral Science to the Field in Kenya
Training the next generation of scholars in behavioral science from a Global South perspective.
Update August 2020
[MIT News] The Promise of Using WhatsApp for Low-tech Distance Learning
Teaching community organizers via WhatsApp yields encouraging results in South Africa, according to MIT Governance Lab research.
Update May 2020
How to Teach Grassroots Organising and Leadership on WhatsApp
Our work with Grassroot, teaching community organisers on WhatsApp, was featured on the Mobilisation Lab site.
Results May 2020
Preliminary Results from Rapid Survey to Inform Covid-19 Response in Sierra Leone
Research brief with initial results from MIT GOV/LAB's collaboration with the Institute for Governance Reform and the Government of Sierra Leone to inform Covid-19 policy.
Results February 2020
A Novel Approach to Civic Pedagogy: Training Grassroots Organizers on WhatsApp
Research results from a collaborative project with Grassroot, a civic technology organization based in South Africa.
Update September 2019
Solving the World
A quick look at the teams selected for MIT Solve's Community-Driven Innovation Challenge —technology solutions from Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, and Mexico.
Update July 2019
What's Next for MIT GOV/LAB?
One outcome of our strategic review is a renewed commitment to conducting rigorous research that is co-created by practitioners and grounded in local problems.
Update July 2019
Getting to the Grassroot, Leadership Development through Storytelling on WhatsApp
A technology platform in South Africa enables community organizers to mobilize more people; next is supporting them to mobilize better.
Update April 2019
Designing Social Impact Metrics for Civic Technology
Bringing together partners from the US (POPVOX) and South Africa (Grassroot), we tested a new format to co-develop metrics and civic technology in an iterative design process.
Update November 2018
How to Create a Positive Feedback Loop between Citizens and Government? It’s Not Easy.
We took a look at Accountability Lab’s Citizen Helpdesks in Nepal to understand how the project is working on the ground.
Update August 2018
India Unheard: Community Journalists Turned Activists Take on Rural Issues
Uncut scenes from field work in Jharkhand and Bihar, India and supporting research with Video Volunteers and Professor Gabi Kruks-Wisner (MIT PhD ‘13) from the University of Virginia.
Update August 2018
Re-Imagining the Future of Human Rights with Dejusticia
Our partner Dejusticia brought together eighteen young human rights defenders from the Global South to learn new skills, build community, and take a break.
Update June 2018
Layered Authority: Beyond Binaries and 'Good Governance'
Report back from the Program on Governance and Local Development’s (GLD) Second Annual Conference at the University of Gothenburg, May 31-June 1, 2018.
Update May 2018
Coming Clean, Using Data Science to Address Wrongful Convictions
Bringing together legal strategies and data science, ACLU Massachusetts presented at our seminar series on one of the largest criminal justice scandals in Bay State history.
Update April 2018
‘Accountability without Democracy’ in the New York Times
Professor Lily Tsai’s seminal work on China was featured in connection with President Xi’s consolidation of power and the end of presidential term limits.
Update March 2018
Twaweza learns, and so do we
A few highlights from Twaweza’s Evidence and Ideas event where MIT GOV/LAB presented research on elections and access to information in East Africa.
Research February 2018
Transparent: Testing Access to Information and Government Responsiveness
MIT GOV/LAB is partnering with civil society to test access to information laws at the local level and better understand what motivates bureaucrat behavior on transparency.
Update January 2018
Naming and faming (not shaming) to hold public officials accountable
Accountability Lab and Integrity Idol featured in The Economist, with mention of MIT GOV/LAB’s preliminary research on the program.
Update January 2018
Cleaning House — Experimental Evidence on Improving Citizen Engagement in the Philippines
High-level findings from our Making All Voices Count research on civic leadership training for the 'poorest of the poor' in the Philippines.
Research December 2017
Data Science to Solve Social Problems
GOV/LAB's Data Science to Solve Social Problems seminar series brings together researchers and practitioners to discuss technical solutions to "real world" social problems.
Update October 2017
Asking Why: Politics and Voting in Kenya
We gathered more than 200 interviews across Kenya to inform an experiment running up to the 2017 national elections.
Update May 2017
Is Civic Tech Fulfilling its Promise?
Report back from #TICTeC 2017, where GOV/LAB presented on a suite of civic technology research projects in collaboration with the Omidyar Network.
Update March 2017
Taking the Mystery out of Access to Information in Kenya
MIT GOV/LAB and Twaweza sent "mystery shoppers" to 45 of 47 counties across Kenya to request public information from local government offices.
Research November 2016
Access Denied? Testing Freedom of Information Laws in East Africa
To investigate whether citizens can access public information and exercise their rights, MIT GOV/LAB is partnering with Twaweza to determine the success or failure rates of information requests at local district offices.