More From the Blog

  • Eleven takeaways about humanitarian crises and emergency response

    This year, I dedicated my monthly podcast, A Deeper Look, to examining humanitarian crises and emergency response. I had the opportunity to talk with senior leaders, youth and seasoned humanitarians who offered multiple perspectives on how this issue impacts communities and people in such areas as gender, technology, food security and education.

    Although the topics covered in our conversations varied widely, my guests were unified in their belief that the nature of humanitarian crises has changed over the years. We are seeing historic levels of people who are displaced by conflict for longer periods than in the past, and the number of natural disasters is increasing. We discussed how the changing characteristics of these crises are radically altering the way we do development. My guests and I also talked about some of the courageous, innovative responses that give us hope for the future.

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  • Digital technology planning tool to improve your solution evaluation and partner due diligence

    Over the past decade, I’ve worked with countless of organizations around the world to help them to think about how they can use digital technology more effectively and appropriately in their work.

    One of the most common challenges that I’ve found is that their approach to deciding on what technologies to use and who to partner with is often more ad hoc and opportunistic than deliberate and strategic.

    I don’t say this to lay blame. Particularly for organizations with limited applied experience using digital technology in their programs — as opposed to for internal IT — it can be difficult to know what questions they should be asking and what types of things they should be planning for.

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  • Lessons learned throughout a career in humanitarian response

    This year, we’ve taken a deeper look at Humanitarian Crises and Emergency Response. In the final episode of the season, I speak with Ambassador Rick Barton, who is currently co-director of the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and the author of a new book called Peace Works: America’s Unifying Role in a Turbulent World.

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  • Better data, better design – how FHI 360 uses evidence to catalyze economic growth

    For more than a decade, FHI 360’s experts have worked to address critical human development issues in Jordan. Our programs encourage long-term economic growth to increase revenue and create jobs, particularly for underserved communities. Bryanna Millis, the Technical Director for the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (USAID LENS) project, explains FHI 360’s strategies to use evidence-based approaches not only to promote but also to sustain economic growth.

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  • My first stop when I arrived in Nakasongola, Uganda, on a hot day in 2004 was the small hospital that served this rural district north of Kampala. I was paying a courtesy call to the District Medical Officer, Dr. Gerald Ssekito. He looked tired when I arrived, explaining that he and other hospital staff had not slept the night before. A pregnant woman had been brought in on the back of a motorbike in the middle of the night. She had delivered the first of her two twins the day before in her remote village, but continued laboring at home unable to birth the second. Finally, after 24 hours, her family put her on a motorbike for the long journey to the hospital, but she bled heavily and died on the way to the hospital.

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  • #NextGenFP: Envisioning the future of family planning

    This week, more than 3,700 participants will gather in Kigali, Rwanda, for the fifth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). What is at stake? The lives and well-being of an estimated 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid or delay pregnancy but are not using an effective form of modern contraception.

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  • Preventing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks

    Are we prepared for the next infectious disease outbreak?

    In this episode of A Deeper Look, I speak with Dr. Jonathan Quick, Senior Fellow Emeritus at Management Sciences for Health and author of the new book, The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It.

    A leader in epidemic prevention and control, Jonathan talks about the diseases we should worry about the most and why, the success stories and lessons learned in responding to epidemic and pandemic outbreaks, and what we need to do to be prepared for the next outbreak.

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  • Discovering new ways to engage youth to prevent violent extremism

    Young people, often the most vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups, play a crucial role in countering and preventing violent extremism. But how can we more effectively focus on youth to reduce violent extremism? To answer this question, we convened a forum on the latest thinking in this rapidly evolving field. The forum, held earlier this year in Washington, DC, was webcast for a global audience.

    Kyle Dietrich of Equal Access International, Lauren Van Metre of George Washington University, Dean Piedmont of the Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism Initiative and Joseph Sany of FHI 360 shared new research on and approaches to youth engagement. They covered topics including reorienting radicalization, youth-led approaches to preventing violent extremism, the role of social media and extremist messaging, and the reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters. The participants identified prevention as the most promising opportunity to mitigate violent extremism.

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  • Positive youth development as a pathway to economic empowerment

    The global economic landscape, along with the nature of work, is rapidly changing. More and more people are working outside of a typical office environment and in the gig economy. This is creating new economic opportunities — and challenges. The abilities and aspirations of young people, who now number almost two billion, are often unrealized, especially in the developing world. What is the best way to secure their futures?

    We believe that positive youth development interventions can support and empower youth to be more engaged, healthy and productive members of their communities. Meeting young people where they are — whether in person or online — is necessary to build the critical skills and competencies to meet the demands of a growing and evolving economy. Our research shows that positive youth development interventions can facilitate resilience and, when combined with labor market analysis, prepare young people for future employment.

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  • Partnering with a new generation of innovators for social good

    We know we have to do things differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need new ways of seeing old problems, new skills and methods to direct the technological whirlwind disrupting societies and new ways to muster political will to make hard decisions that challenge old orthodoxies.

    There is a paradox here: At a time when innovation is creating destabilizing change, the key to future stability lies in our ability to effectively harness innovation. But what does that look like?

    Most innovations are spread through traditional commercial channels where one company either develops or purchases the intellectual property or product of another. Commercializing and scaling new products, particularly in the tech sector, has been the driving force in 21st century economic growth. It has improved living standards in many parts of the world, but simultaneously produced growing — and potentially destabilizing — inequality.

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