Tagged: Devex

    A road map to transforming lives

    From Kendari to Mosul and Abuja to San Francisco, people across the world will celebrate Dec. 31, the close of another year and the promise of a brighter year to come.

    But this New Year’s Eve will be more than a time for personal reflection and writing resolutions. It also marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the start of a new chapter for the international development community.

    It is the launch of the sustainable development goals — our road map for the next 15 years.

    As we prepare for this milestone, we’re reflecting as a community on what has worked and where we can improve. We’re also setting our priorities for the future and how we set about achieving our new goals.

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  • Learning from failure in global development

    One of the most promising trends in global development is the rising priority of understanding and investing in “what works.” As the funds available for international assistance have flatlined in post-recession years, everyone from donors to practitioners has become increasingly committed to making decisions that are informed by evidence. Given FHI 360’s commitment to research utilization, we’re encouraged by the attention being paid to evidence-informed development. Yet, the best-kept secret within the growing what works movement is the importance of learning not just from our successes, but also from our failures.

    Based on typical nongovernmental annual reports, scientific conferences and even social media content, one can be forgiven for forming the impression that our development efforts are nearly perfect. Successes are proudly packaged in glossy formats and heavily disseminated, whereas any objectives not achieved are relegated to the obligatory and typically short lessons learned section. Yet, this practice does not accurately represent an important reality: Development efforts do in fact fail.

    Venture capitalists and corporate investors understand that less than 20 percent of new businesses will succeed, and they invest in innovations and new ideas with a transparent acknowledgment of the high risk for failure.

    So why, by comparison, is the global development enterprise so different?

    Read the remainder of the blog here.

  • In Africa, tobacco presents a looming threat to healthy living

    In 2013, The Network of African Science Academies, in collaboration with the United States National Academies, convened a committee of 16 diverse experts, including me, to discuss the current state of tobacco use, prevention and control policies in Africa.

    The committee’s findings, recently published in Preventing a Tobacco Epidemic in Africa, were alarming: Without comprehensive tobacco prevention and control policies, smoking prevalence in Africa will increase by nearly 39 percent by 2030, from 15.8 percent in 2010 to 21.9 percent. While tobacco use and tobacco-attributable mortality rates in Africa are currently among the lowest in the world, data indicate that without intervention, this situation will change dramatically for the worse.

    The committee’s report also revealed some startling findings about tobacco as it relates to Africa’s women and youth. Though fewer African women smoke, they are disproportionately affected by tobacco through not only the direct effects of smoking, but also secondhand smoking and the secondary effect of smoking on pregnant women and their fetuses. African youth, meanwhile, represent the largest potential market for tobacco, and levels of smoking in this highly vulnerable population will continue to rise as aggressive tobacco marketing encourages the uptake of smoking. Both women and youth are also targets of covert messaging from the tobacco industry that is designed to mainstream smoking behavior as an element of evolving social norms and empowerment.

    Read the remainder of the blog here.