The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Conditions such as stay-at-home orders, wearing masks in public and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression affect all of us in different ways.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The way we design and carry out development programs and projects both contributes to and disrupts the social contract and political accountability.
In this episode, I sit down with Alex Thier, former Director of the Overseas Development Institute, the U.K.’s leading think tank dealing with international and human development issues. We explore the fundamental dilemmas surrounding global development practice and the importance and difficulty of holding ourselves accountable.