More From the Blog

  • Total Quality Leadership and Accountability: Reaching the last mile in HIV epidemic control

    At recent global health meetings that assessed progress made against the HIV epidemic, presentation after presentation confirmed that the world is inching closer to epidemic control. The excitement at these gatherings was palpable. It would be the first time in human history that such a public health milestone would be achieved without either a cure or a vaccine.

    As technical experts attending these meetings, we were struck by the critical importance of logistical and operational interventions, alongside biomedical ones, to reach the last mile. Yet, unlike the private sector, public health systems in low- and middle-income countries often remain underfunded and understaffed. This environment can make project management very challenging.

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  • Embracing One Health for humans, animals and the environment

    The One Health concept calls for a worldwide approach to expanding interdisciplinary collaboration and communication on all aspects of health for humans, animals and the environment. This approach has tremendous implications for human health because an estimated sixty-one percent of human infectious diseases originate from animals. At the same time, there is a growing sense of urgency to advance One Health collaborations before more ground is lost in the fight for a healthy planet.

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  • Eleven lessons from “A Deeper Look” at the dark side of development

    In the 2019 season of A Deeper Look podcast, we examined the darker side of development — the unintended consequences of development efforts, the paradoxes that we confront, the harm that the best intentions can sometimes cause and the lessons we can learn by discussing uncomfortable, even threatening, topics.

    Each one of my guests brought a unique perspective to this theme, yet it’s possible to distill a number of common concerns. More than one guest described the long-term nature of development as a journey, and many emphasized the importance of humility in this work. Although our theme for the year was dark, the perspectives, insights and commitment of my guests give me hope that we, as a community, are more willing to acknowledge our weaknesses and do better.

    If you haven’t had an opportunity to tune in, I encourage you to listen to all of the episodes in this season’s A Deeper Look on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts. Here are some takeaways.

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  • The darker side of development: Addressing poverty and inequality in the United States

    This year, we’ve been exploring the darker side of development, and we’ve examined examples of the paradoxes and unintended consequences of international development efforts. In the final episode this year, I sit down with David Dodson, President of MDC, to discuss parallels and shared lessons between U.S. and global development challenges and solutions, particularly with respect to addressing poverty and inequality.

    David and I explore the structural issues that lead to inequality, the importance of data-informed decisions in addressing poverty and the ebb and flow of progress within development. We discuss how promoting individual and group agency and localization is crucial to development efforts around the globe.

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  • The darker side of development: The paradox of success

    We have celebrated many successes in global development, thanks in part to advocacy efforts. The billions of dollars in resources and political will mobilized to tackle global development challenges have yielded historic results, such as reducing the number of cases of HIV, cutting malaria deaths in half and increasing life expectancy rapidly, even in the poorest countries. Does the promotion of the progress made lead to complacency that could ultimately reverse the gains we now celebrate?

    In this episode, I sit down with Tom Hart, North America Executive Director for the ONE Campaign. Tom shares ONE’s approach to advocacy. We discuss the paradoxes of sharing successes and talk about how the final stretch of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals may be the hardest part of the race. We also examine the role of advocacy in development, the continued need for bipartisan political support for development work and the coalition of strange bedfellows during a divisive time.

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  • Building impactful partnerships: What we M.U.S.T. do better

    This post was originally published on FHI Partners.

    According to Peter Drucker, the noted management theorist, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” When I reflect on my time working with private-sector organizations, government agencies and international nongovernmental organizations — all of which were focused on solving global human development challenges — I recall the common refrain that “we can’t do it alone.” Only by working together do we stand a chance to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity. But sentiment alone is not enough.

    The promise of partnerships has resulted in an active body of work focused on facilitating public-private partnerships and devising private-sector engagement strategies, with the Sustainable Development Goals at the center of this dialogue. Specifically, private-sector involvement is increasingly called upon to drive global socio-ecological change. The increasing overlap between development and commercial challenges provides fertile ground for robust collaboration. However, we need to move beyond the announcements, handshakes and high-level dialogue.

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  • The darker side of development: #AidToo, Harassment, Abuse and Assault

    The #AidToo movement, which stemmed from the #MeToo movement, has brought to light incidences of sexual harassment and abuse within development work.

    In this episode, I sit down with Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President and CEO of Project Concern International (PCI). Carrie describes her own personal experience with sexual assault and shares the important role that speaking out has had for her and can have for survivors. Carrie and I discuss best practices for preventing and responding to abuse and harassment in the global development workspace, both internally within organizations and within the communities where we work.

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  • Money, mentors, and markets: What youth entrepreneurs need to succeed

    This post was originally published on the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. It is reprinted with permission.

    Youth unemployment — particularly in the developing world — is one of the most pressing and challenging issues facing the global community. Rates of youth unemployment are the highest across the Middle East and North Africa region, around 30 percent, and close to 17 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the micro and macro consequences loom: stunted economic growth, poverty, migration, crime and poor health, among many others.

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  • Exploring the next frontier in education in emergencies: Social-emotional learning research and practice

    A teacher at a blackboard in Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria

    Maryam Mustapha teaches at a nonformal learning center in Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria. Her classes include social emotional learning, a critical component of programming for education in emergencies. Photo credit: Anna Eisenberg/FHI 360

    In emergency contexts, when many support structures fracture, education can provide protection, heal trauma and inspire hope. Education programs that feature social-emotional learning (SEL) interventions — the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions and develop self-control and interpersonal skills — have the potential for large-scale impact in fragile and humanitarian contexts. SEL is an especially powerful healer for migrants, refugees and children who can be scarred from prolonged insecurity, trauma, loss, violence or separation from family or homeland.

    As new crises seemingly arise every day and existing ones become more protracted, we at FHI 360, the LEGO Foundation and UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report are exploring evidence-based ways to incorporate SEL research and programming for education in emergencies.

    A new policy paper from the GEM Report, Education as Healing: Addressing the Trauma of Displacement through Social and Emotional Learning, draws on the global analysis in the 2019 GEM Report assessment on migration, displacement and education and rigorous new research done in partnership with FHI 360 to compile evidence-based findings on effective SEL approaches. The paper also presents recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders to invest in SEL evidence-generation and programming at global, national and regional levels.

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  • A young entrepreneur uses technology for social innovation

    Nestor Bonilla is an entrepreneur from Managua, Nicaragua, who works with local and international organizations to apply technology in new ways to solve social problems. He also founded two social start-ups: Honey Things and Digital Bonds. In 2017, Bonilla was a fellow with the Workforce Connections project, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by FHI 360. Recently, Bonilla visited Washington, DC, and shared his perspectives on entrepreneurship and youth.

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