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Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that creates and shares evidence while equipping decision-makers to use evidence to reduce poverty. IPA leads the field of development in cutting-edge research quality, innovation, and impact, making it ever more important for them to have a high-performing infrastructure to ingest, store and utilize research to aid impoverished communities. Microsoft AI for Humanitarian Action & Microsoft Philanthropies partnered with Azure Data & AI Designated Solutions Partner, Valorem Reply, to help IPA build an analysis environment that can use standard data science software with storage and computational specifications adequate for estimating a pre-coded neural network model.

Challenges & Opportunities

  • Constrained on local machines and limited in the kinds of models that IPA can run.
  • Geospatial data & wealth maps include a long list of datasets.
  • Geospatial datasets need to be incorporated into machine learning models to increase the level of accuracy.


  • Build an Azure environment with a high performing and scalable compute virtual machine with Ubuntu Linux.
  • Add and load datasets to Data Factory and Azure Storage.
  • Copy existing ML models to Notebooks in ML Workspace.


  • A streamlined method of importing the training data and re-calibrating the Poverty Probability Index model.
  • Improved Analysis with AI/ML-transformed satellite imagery and unstructured data.
  • Scalable, highly available, and performant solution to support the future needs of IPA.
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