In just four months, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a dramatic toll on economies and institutions around the world, and the number of new cases, economic dislocation and deaths continues to mount. Decades of progress raising living standards and reducing extreme poverty could be replaced by increasing food insecurity, conflict and forced migration.
More From the Blog
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twenty-two million people in Yemen — roughly 4 out of 5 Yemenis — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, making this the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. As the conflict enters its fourth year, with little sign of a peace agreement, this complex emergency demands attention and action from the international community.
In this episode of A Deeper Look, I sit down with my colleague Greg Beck, the Director of Crisis Response and Integrated Development here at FHI 360. Greg has recently been working in Yemen.
The Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe women (DREAMS) partnership aspires to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. These countries alone accounted for more than half of the HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2015.
DREAMS reaches beyond the health sector to address the direct and indirect factors that increase girls’ HIV risk, such as poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and inadequate education. Interventions can include paying school fees, providing bicycles to girls who would otherwise walk long distances to school, supplying sanitary napkins for menstrual hygiene management and offering mentoring to help girls avoid early pregnancy, gender-based violence and discrimination. DREAMS is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare.
Two young women who participate in DREAMS projects attended FHI 360’s 2018 Gender 360 Summit and discussed how DREAMS is making a difference in their lives. Here are their stories.
A full version of this article originally appeared in WorldView, a quarterly magazine published by the nonprofit National Peace Corps Association for the greater Peace Corps community. Reposted with permission. Read the entire article here.
Economic and social progress rarely comes fast, making it easy to question whether foreign assistance is effective. Many critiques of foreign aid expose poorly conceived and implemented programs and document bad governance, corruption, and persistent poverty. Some even argue that far from helping, foreign assistance is part of the problem. I suspect there are few self-conscious development workers who don’t ask themselves whether the treasure, sweat and tears really make a difference, especially those of us who have spent years struggling with the day-to-day management problems and frustrations that come with implementing programs in countries where progress has been slow and uneven.
Recently, I visited the rural community in Swaziland where I worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer 30 years ago. Seeing the changes on the homestead where I lived from 1980 to 1983 helped me put into perspective our often-unsatisfactory efforts to describe and measure the value of development work and to answer the question about whether foreign aid makes a difference.
Read the entire article here.