2020 will go down in history as a year of global health, economic and social crises occurring against the backdrop of increasingly catastrophic climate events. It is a year that defines disruption. However, as we jump into 2021, I’m taking a cue from last season’s development optimists to look for how to convert crisis into opportunity. This year, I will explore with my guests how they see us leveraging disruption for good in a post-COVID world.
More From the Blog
An Interview with
Yves Kavanagh, Associate Director of Operations and Logistics, West Africa and Middle East Regional Office, FHI 360
Since 2009, nearly 24.5 million people living in northeast Nigeria have been directly or indirectly affected by the Boko Haram conflict. Northeast Nigeria has more than two million internally displaced persons, with 1.4 million residing in Borno State alone. FHI 360’s Integrated Humanitarian Assistance to Northeast Nigeria (IHANN) project delivers primary and reproductive health care; gender-based violence protection; nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to meet the most immediate needs of this population.
When IHANN teams began work in 2017, health and medical supplies were not always available. Yves Kavanagh, Associate Director of Operations and Logistics for FHI 360’S West Africa and Middle East Regional Office, discusses the critical importance of logistics to an effective crisis response program.
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.
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.
An Interview with
Bryanna Millis, Senior Technical Advisor, Economic Participation, FHI 360
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.
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.