Patrick Fine offers his thoughts on a recent report about the challenges INGOs face in a changing development environment.
This week, FHI 360’s experts on global education are joining other education researchers, practitioners, leaders and partners in Toronto, Canada, for the 2014 Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society. The conference, which will take place March 11–15, will explore the theme, “Revisioning Education for All.” FHI 360’s education team will present on six panels on topics such as the value of integrated approaches to education systems strengthening, technology, literacy and providing access to quality education with sensitivity to gender and fragility. Follow our live coverage throughout the conference! Check here for our blogs, videos and photographs.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
VIDEO: FHI 360’s John Gillies on post-2015 global education goals
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have focused the international development community on sustainable solutions for meeting human needs. As we approach the culmination of these efforts, how can the global education community establish new goals? What should these goals be? Watch here as John Gillies, FHI 360’s Director of Global Learning, offers his insights.
Preceding the opening of the CIES conference in Toronto, Patrick Fine, Chief Operating Officer of FHI 360, calls education “one of the great victories of development.” He offers his thoughts on future education trends and challenges.
A Q&A with Elizabeth Hume, Technical Director for Peacebuilding and Conflict Mitigation, and Anne O’Toole Salinas, Program Director for Peacebuilding and Conflict Mitigation, FHI 360
FHI 360 was recently awarded a five-year contract to support the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to advance conflict-sensitive development. The Programming Effectively Against Conflict and Extremism (PEACE) Indefinite Quality Contract (IQC) will enable FHI 360 to expand its work to support conflict mitigation and peacebuilding globally.
Q: Why is the PEACE IQC significant?
A: Through the PEACE IQC, USAID can draw upon experienced and trusted partners to respond to crisis and fragility and to develop a comprehensive program across sectors. Task orders issued under the PEACE IQC will ensure that USAID and its partners understand the causes of conflict, identify the best approaches for mitigating conflict, and gather learning and evidence to inform future programming against conflict and extremism.
Q: What is unique about the approach of FHI 360 and the PEACE Consortium?
A: FHI 360’s PEACE Consortium, comprised of 18 member organizations, is uniquely able to assist in conflict-affected contexts because we bring an integrated approach to addressing the varied root causes of social and political tensions. With almost two decades experience, we have learned there is never a single driver of conflict, and we have developed the tools to identify the sources and then design cross-sectorial interventions that address the real needs on the ground. We offer an integrated model that encompasses experts working across 122 countries, with the ability to mobilize high-quality teams in quick response to crises. (more…)
A Q&A with Rob Kunzig, USAID-Foras Project Technical Officer, FHI 360
Q: What is the Foras project?
A: The word foras means “opportunity” in Arabic, an apt name for this project, which seeks to dramatically accelerate individuals’ access to employment opportunities in Iraq. USAID-Foras has launched web-based and mobile technology platforms to overcome barriers to employment, linking jobseekers with employers. Our immediate goal is to increase the number of youth and adults placed in jobs, but ultimately we want to introduce a more efficient model for how employers hire their workforce.
Q: Why is this project needed in Iraq?
A: What USAID-Foras is doing in Iraq is essential to growth of the country’s economy and its stability. About 50 percent of the population in Iraq is 25 years or younger, and roughly half of that demographic is unemployed. Even more alarming, about 400,000 new jobseekers or eligible workers are added the economy yearly, but a vast majority of these individuals remain unemployed. This problem will only worsen without intervention.
Q: What technologies has Foras launched thus far and who has access to them?
A: In 2013, we launched an online jobs portal, which is used by jobseekers and employers looking to hire. We adapted our portal from a similar tool developed by Microsoft in partnership with Silatech, a Qatar-based nonprofit organization. The original portal allowed jobseekers to upload a personal profile and resume or curriculum vitae (CV) and to look for available positions. We improved on this portal by adding a feature that matches jobseekers based on their skills and experiences to jobs that have been listed on the site by employers. We also made it available in English and Arabic. (more…)
By Michael Bzdak, Executive Director of Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson
FHI 360 is partnering with Johnson & Johnson through the Bridge to Employment (BTE) program. Active in more than 65 communities globally, the program prepares the world’s youth for better futures and careers in the growing health sector. BTE inspires young people ages 14–18 from disadvantaged communities to stay in school, excel academically and elevate their career aspirations through exposure to career readiness and exploration activities, higher education preparation and a host of enrichment opportunities.
A version of this blog originally appeared on Johnson & Johnson’s blog. You can view the original post here.
Too many students, more than 1.2 million, drop out of school every year in the United States alone and increasing numbers of young people are unemployed globally. Sadly, of the 13 million children growing up in poverty today, only 1 in 10 will graduate from college. There is evidence that the private sector can to help with filling the academic and skill gaps that hinder our young people from succeeding in high school. Business volunteers in communities around the world inspire students to set career goals; they guide young people in building their confidence through mentorship and project-based learning. The business community and the education community need each other now more than ever but the collaboration between schools and businesses is not always happening at a necessary scale.
I had the pleasure of participating in a regional business-education conference in Fresno, California, recently and walked away with renewed optimism and a few important learnings. First, business-education partnerships are two-way and, when successful, engage all stakeholders including parents and students. Second, to be successful, we have learned that business-education partnerships must have clearly articulated goals and a means of measuring progress including outputs and outcomes. In the end, we need to define the value that these collaborations bring to all of the stakeholders at all stages of the partnership. (more…)
By Manny Rodriguez, FHI 360 Program Manager, Social Marketing and Communication
Every year, the United States observes National Condom Week from February 14th (Valentine’s Day) to February 21st. What started as a fun campus event at the University of California–Berkeley in the 1970s has become an opportunity for HIV prevention educators and advocates to engage audiences across the country in conversations about condoms and other tools to protect ourselves and our partners from HIV.
In recent years, we have reached major milestones in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and new research has generated hope for an AIDS-free generation. Antiretroviral therapy (the use of drugs to prevent HIV infection) and other prevention methods to control the spread of the virus are available and helping people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. Even more exciting is the existence of medications that HIV-negative individuals can take to help prevent infection, an approach known as pre-exposure prophylaxis. Similarly, people with HIV can also take antiretroviral drugs as part of a method known as treatment as prevention that helps lower their viral load in an effort to protect their sexual partners and helps reduce HIV transmission on a larger scale .
But, one of the most powerful tools in the fight against the epidemic, along with condoms, remains HIV testing. The real power resides in knowing your status. This is particularly important for Latino gay and bisexual men, one of the groups most heavily impacted by HIV. Though Latinos comprise only 16 percent of the population in the United States, they account for 21 percent of all new HIV infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (more…)
Barwani Msiska, a youth advocate from Malawi, discusses the critical role of policy change in the improvement of youth sexual and reproductive health.
Burcu Bozkurt, a youth advocate, explains why she is so passionate about the sexual and reproductive health of young people.
Isaiah Owolabi, a participant in the Interagency Youth Working Group online forum, Following through on the 2013 ICFP: Youth, SRHR and policy change, offers his views on youth sexual and reproductive health.
By Patrick C. Fine, Chief Operating Officer, FHI 360
We live in a very different world today than when most INGOs were established. Profound demographic, economic and technological changes have reshaped our world. And as the world settles into the second decade of the 21st century, the economic recession in the United States and Europe, the winding down of major relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, new sources of development funding from mega-foundations and private remittances, and new donor nations such as Brazil, China and India are forcing development actors to reassess business models and modes of operating that have changed little in 40 years.
Many NGOs understand the threat to the status quo and see the need to change but don’t know how to remain true to their mission while maintaining the vitality and financial health of their organization. As change comes barreling down the tracks like an on-coming train, many NGOs stand paralyzed like a deer caught in the headlights. This subject is receiving additional attention with the recent publication of a report by the nonprofit consulting firm, FSG. The report, titled Ahead of the Curve, Insights for the International NGO of the Future, was sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
FSG’s task was complicated by the diversity of the study group. Although the report studied INGOs with at least $30 million in annual revenue, the organizations ranged from single-sector program implementers, to groups more focused on advocacy, to giants like World Vision with tens of thousands of employees and over a billion dollars in annual revenue. While FSG does a good job of describing many of the disruptions brought on by progress and globalization, different organizations will experience them differently depending on their mission and size. It would have been helpful to have tried to tease out some of these differences instead of simply arriving at a set of conclusions where one size clearly does not fit all.
Compounding this problem are some of the examples FSG used to draw general conclusions that, for those who are familiar with them, are not easily generalizable. For example, the fact that Habitat for Humanity successfully used an advocacy model to expand its impact is not a good basis for concluding that the future for INGOs is to become advocacy organizations, as the report does. I was also frustrated that the report didn’t use plain language to explain its points and recommendations. I found the report laden with jargon and vague language, perhaps because it just is not clear what the future holds. FSG’s crystal ball is just as murky as everyone else’s. (more…)
By A staff member at FHI 360*
Violence against women and girls is a pervasive problem in Papua New Guinea and has a profound impact on all aspects of development. FHI 360 is addressing this serious issue through the Komuniti Lukautim Ol Meri Project, funded by Australian Aid. The project offers support to women and girls who are survivors of violence in two of the country’s provinces.
In the narrative below, a staff member at FHI 360’s Papua New Guinea office and a survivor of violence against women describes a time in which violence affected her personally and how she tried to stop it. “I was motivated to tell my story because most women keep silent on violence,” she said. “I felt that if I tell my story, it will help others to speak up.”
“I will not let you hit your wife!” I yelled. “I work for an organization that is empowering women to end violence in their lives.” Moments earlier, my older brother had joined his wife (my sister-in-law), daughter and me on the balcony of his house. As he ate, he complained that his wife was using the charger for his mobile phone. He grew so angry that he threw his plate of food on the floor and stood up to confront her. He tried to punch her, but I pushed him away.
This was not the first time I had experienced violence. My former partner and the father of my two children threatened to kill me when I was 24 years old. He physically abused me, treating me like I was his punching bag. He often struck my face so people would know he “owned” me. With all of the bruises, I always felt ashamed to walk in public. My past experience with my former partner made me more sensitive to what was happening in my family. (more…)
By Ania Chaluda, Research Associate, Global Education, FHI 360
A version of this blog originally appeared on the Global Partnership for Education blog. You can view the original here.
The last decades have seen an impressive growth in school participation in developing countries. As countries have made remarkable progress toward universal primary school completion, the focus in the development community has shifted to reaching the most disadvantaged children and improving the quality of education. It has been recognized that even though universal primary completion is a major milestone for many countries, the quality of an education system cannot be assessed only by its ability to enroll and retain students. Most importantly, school should teach valuable skills that will help children achieve their full potential in life.
FHI 360’s Education Policy and Data Center (EPDC) has released a research brief, “Long Path to Achieving Education for All: School Access, Retention, and Learning in 20 countries,” which uses learning pyramids as a visual tool to show cumulative achievement of education systems and demonstrate how many children enroll in school, whether they remain enrolled until they reach a certain grade, and what percentage of them learn how to read. The report finds that although access to education is close to universal in most countries, not all of the students who enter school reach upper primary grades. Grade repetition is a common experience for many primary students, creating inefficiencies in education systems. Finally, a large number of those who reach the upper primary grades never gain basic literacy skills, defined as the lowest benchmark of a standardized learning assessment.
Pyramids: starting from access, through retention, to learning
The pyramids provide a snapshot of a country’s progress in providing universal school entry (access), keeping students in school (survival), and finally, teaching them at least minimum reading skills (learning). To measure school access, EPDC uses the percentage of 14-year-olds who have ever entered school. Retention is described by school survival rates — the percentage of enrolled students expected to reach a given grade. The level of learning is determined by using data from standardized learning assessments, including SACMEQ, PIRLS, SERCE, and PASEC. (more…)