More From the Blog

  • Philanthropy and the SDGs

    Philanthropy in the United States has traditionally played a vital role as a catalyst of innovation, research and social change in American society. Yet, as the world unites around the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, what role is philanthropy playing to advance the agenda for achieving these global goals by 2030?

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  • Research improves handwashing programs by uncovering drivers of behavior change

    A version of this post originally appeared on FHI 360’s R&E Search for Evidence blog.

    Evidence on the health and social benefits of handwashing is strong. We know that handwashing can prevent up to 40% of diarrheal diseases, and can lead to fewer school absences and increased economic productivity. However, many people don’t wash their hands at critical times, even when handwashing facilities are available. While research on behavior change has shown examples of approaches that lead to increased rates in handwashing, we’re still seeking to understand why people wash their hands, and how motivation for handwashing can be translated into programs that result in effective behavior change.

    In advance of Global Handwashing Day on October 15, USAID and the Global Handwashing Partnership – an international coalition with a Secretariat hosted by FHI 360 – organized a webinar on drivers for handwashing behavior change. The Partnership’s work focuses on promoting handwashing with soap as key to health and development, with an emphasis on connecting practitioners with research findings to inform their work. Our webinar speakers provided two examples of how research is exploring behavior change from cognitive (how we think about and understand handwashing) and automatic (how we can be unconsciously prompted to wash our hands) standpoints. In this blog post, I’ll summarize how the two examples show different ways of understanding human behavior and discuss how the findings help us understand what drives behavior change for handwashing.

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  • Youth engagement — and empowerment — holds promise for strengthening community resilience to violent extremism

    Stop for a minute to think back to when you were a “youth” — say, when you were 19 years old — transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.

    • Did you have ideals and ideas that motivated you and peers and adult mentors who positively influenced you?
    • Did you have family who supported you and a community that you felt part of and in which you had a voice?
    • Did you have a sense of who you were and access to physical and psychological safe spaces where you could express your identity?

    If you answered yes, then you probably have a positive recollection of this period in your life. You were likely content with your trajectory into adulthood.

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  • Eight takeaways about the SDGs

    Since January, through my monthly podcast, A Deeper Look, I have engaged in candid, in-depth conversations with leaders on the frontlines of social change to explore what it will take to ensure that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) become a reality. We have examined specific sectors, such as health, education and gender, and have also tackled megatrends in development, such as technology and innovation.

    Each one of the development leaders I’ve talked with so far has provided me with distinct views and fresh ideas on how to understand some of the most complex human development challenges facing the world today. Delving into the SDGs has been stimulating and fun and has produced a boatload of valuable insights. I’ve summarized 8 key takeaways below. You can join in by listening to the entire series on SoundCloud or iTunes and leaving a comment or sharing your thoughts through social media.

    And there’s more to come! We’ll continue to take A Deeper Look at the SDGs through the end of this year.

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  • Tracking media and measuring accountability for the SDGs

    The Sustainable Development Goals will remain only aspirational if there is no accountability for their implementation. In this episode, I speak with Roland Schatz, a leader in the field of media impact and an expert on the SDGs, on how to create accountability, particularly in the private sector.

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  • Preparing the future workforce requires transformations in what we know, how we learn and how we work

    Artificial intelligence, smart systems, decentralized manufacturing and other technologies are driving major uncertainties around the future of work. Experts from MIT and the World Economic Forum suggest that we are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by new technologies that will affect all industries. As the very nature of work changes rapidly, old jobs are disappearing and new jobs are emerging in every sector of the economy. This has produced a major shift in the demand for skills that is happening worldwide, and we can expect further shifts going forward.

    Reducing the lag time between the development of new jobs and the preparation of the workforce to meet new skills needs is a core concern for workers, new graduates, employers and governments. And while the pace of transformation in jobs and skills differ by country and region, evolution along the technological spectrum is taking place everywhere.

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  • Preventing hunger in the Horn of Africa through improved community engagement

    Drought is threatening livelihoods in the Horn of Africa and is increasing the vulnerability of households to food insecurity, economic shocks and resource-based conflicts. Approximately 12 million people in the region are expected to need food aid in the coming months. A response that protects household assets and helps people grow their own food and minimize livestock losses is critical to their survival.

    Timely interventions, such as fodder production, are needed to keep livestock healthy, prevent a rise in hunger and deepen community engagement in building resilience to shocks. Beyond the drought, fodder production is also a system-level response to growing demand for animal source foods and the rapidly expanding dairy sector in Kenya in particular. This expansion has many positive aspects but does put pressure on sourcing the necessary animal feeds, further reason to explore and develop efficient and integrated animal feed and fodder production and the integration of crop-livestock production systems to ensure high land productivity.

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  • Innovation in support of improving last-mile connectivity

    Connectivity transforms lives. Access to a mobile network, including the internet or a mobile phone, opens the door to information, and information enables people to discover their full potential. Without connectivity, people are in the dark, closed off from opportunity. Yet, more than 4 billion people remain unconnected to the internet, and 20 to 40 percent of the poorest billion people are out of reach of even very basic mobile networks. Many of these people live in remote, hard-to-reach locations. And, each person among the poorest billion has only US$2.25 per month to spend on mobile services.

    Reaching isolated, impoverished communities is not easy. It takes a clear understanding of context and demand. New mapping tools, like the mAccess Diagnostic Tool that maps connectivity, are helping governments, private-sector companies, and nongovernmental organizations understand the context of those who are out of reach of mobile networks. These tools are shedding light on the affected areas and are helping us visualize network coverage areas, prices for services, local incomes and the numbers of individuals who are mobile subscribers. In-depth research is emerging to fill out the picture by showing who among the poorest uses phones, for what purposes, and when and where.

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  • R&E Search for Evidence: Highlights from the last quarter of FHI 360’s blog on research and evaluation

    The Research and Evaluation Strategic Initiative team published 14 posts during the last quarter in our blog, R&E Search for Evidence. For those not familiar with our blog, it features FHI 360 thought leaders who write about research and evaluation methodology and practice, compelling evidence for development programming and new findings from recent journal publications. We have published 31 original posts to date.

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  • In many parts of the world, countries are aligning their national development plans around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In other nations, the global goals don’t have the same moral authority.

    In this podcast, I speak to Dan Runde, a prominent conservative voice in the development community. Dan is the director of the project on prosperity and development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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