Tagged: Integrated Development

  • A version of this post originally appeared on Girls’ Globe. Reposted with permission.

    Opening up the panel, Greg BeckFHI 360‘s Director of Integrated Development, told the story of one particular attempt to aid in relief efforts. After great effort, and amassing donations and supplies, they opened boxes to find stacks of things like inflatable toilets and acne cream.

    Asked Beck, “How is this going to help anybody rebuild their life?”

    Beck’s point was an extreme example of a nonetheless integral point: development and aid are not straightforward, not simple. They don’t consist of simply hurling donations and good intentions at a problem and hoping something sticks.

    The term “integrated development” means just that — that development is complex and requires coordinated, planned effort across sectors.

    It operates around the idea that development does not exist problem by problem, sector by sector. You can’t improve global health without improving education without improving women’s rights. Naturally, there are some specific efforts that require a concentrated approach, but overall, a holistic view is more effective, and organizations and governments need to address what people really lack in the complex, multilayered environments in which they live — not just what we think they need.

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    A call for integrated, people-centered approaches in the post-2015 era

    Impressed with their success in Kenya, the donor installed state-of-the-art hand pumps along Somalia’s Jubba River, confident that community members would also benefit from the highly effective water delivery system.

    A year later, the water pumps sat broken and unused.

    When my colleagues and I visited the community to ask why folks weren’t using the pumps, they told us that a regular (earthen) catchment system to capture water during the rainy season or a hand-dug well along the riverside would have better jibed with their way of life. That’s what they would have preferred. But no one talked to them before installing the hand pumps.

    It’s a scenario I’ve witnessed time and again in global development, whether the goal is to improve reproductive health outcomes for women or rebuild communities in the wake of a natural disaster or conflict. For too long now, donors and development practitioners have taken a top-down approach to addressing complex global challenges — or even the seemingly simple ones, like providing water during the dry season. We predetermine the solutions. We package them into artificial, often unrealistic time frames. And we do it all alongside of rigid funding structures.

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  • Integrated investments in youth have the power to reap dividends for all

    Tricia Petruney

    With a new global development agenda on the horizon, debates abound over which actions and investments will be the most influential for meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Arguments for or against narrow, targeted solutions are becoming increasingly lost in the cacophony. Meanwhile, demand is growing for discussions that better reflect the complex, interrelated nature of the updated goals and targets.

    One promising framework for sharpening this dialogue focuses on the next generation — youth — and how strategically integrated investments in their well-being can accelerate progress toward the SDGs, reaping dividends for everyone along the way. Integrated development strategies have the potential to provide today’s massive youth population with the knowledge and skills to grow into healthy, successful adults.

    There are currently 1.8 billion young people in the world between the ages of 10 to 24, and among this largest generation of youth in history, 89 percent live in less developed countries. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa the median age is roughly 18 years old versus around 38 in North America and 41 in Europe.

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  • Cognitive dissonance in the development community

    There is an interesting contradiction emerging in the international development community in the run-up to July’s third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, where member states are expected to adopt the new sustainable development goals.

    On one hand, there is growing recognition of the value of more comprehensive programs that integrate interventions such as combining HIV and AIDS and reproductive health services, or nutrition and basic education, or women’s rights and income-generating activities. The planning for the goals has been accompanied by a growing chorus to adopt the common-sense use of integrated approaches.

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    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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    International development’s awkward stage

    We all know that children are the future. We have seen the commercials picturing heartbreaking photos of children in need or adorable youngsters with the brightest of dreams, and asking for donations to support them. Such attention has made a difference. Children globally are healthier and better educated than at any time in human history. According to a 2014 U.N. report on the Millennium Development Goals, the enrollment rate in primary education in developing regions increased from 83 percent to 90 percent over just the last decade. In addition, the child mortality rate has almost halved since 1990, with 6 million fewer children dying in 2012 than in 1990. These are achievements that development organizations — and the taxpayers who support them — should be proud of, having plowed billions into primary education, vaccinations, and other efforts that have helped young boys and girls around the world.

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  • The specter of segregation haunts global health

    There is no question that the greatest health achievements under the Millennium Development Goals have focused on single diseases. Arresting the spread of HIV and AIDS and malaria is perhaps the most significant development success of the new century. And vaccination, especially of measles, is one of the reasons that deaths among older children have fallen faster than deaths among infants or women during pregnancy and childbirth.

    In contrast, the lowest-performing areas across all eight MDGs — reducing infant and maternal deaths — are targets that don’t lend themselves to a single disease strategy. Just six countries have met the MDG target for reducing infant deaths, and only 15 countries have achieved the target for reducing maternal deaths.

    Could these targets have actually been achieved if we had pursued an integrated approach to advancing the health of women and children? Did our fascination with and confidence in the segregation of single-disease initiatives cost us achievement in other areas requiring more complex solutions?

    Read the remainder of the blog here.

  • An interconnected approach to improving handwashing behaviors

    Each year on Global Handwashing Day, hundreds of millions of people around the world gather to celebrate the power of handwashing with soap to save lives. This day also provides an opportunity to consider the current status of the hygiene sector and catalyze further action. As we look toward the future of hygiene behavior change, we need to ensure that we are maximizing the broader topic of integrated development and fully considering its relationship to hygiene.

    Integrated development, which can be defined in many different ways, is increasingly being discussed within the international development community, and FHI 360 plays an active role in convening this conversation. I recently had the opportunity, on behalf of the Global Public–Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), to attend an event hosted by FHI 360 titled Does 1+1=3? Proving the Integration Hypothesis, which brought together expert panelists from academia, government, donors and nongovernmental organizations.

    I took away many key learnings from this event, but the one that stuck with me most is this: If we hope to move the needle on the most entrenched development challenges, we need to consider the benefits that could be offered by combining services or sectors.

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    Integrated development: Advancing the conversation

    The global challenges we face today are more complex, more demanding and increasingly, more interconnected than ever before. Shouldn’t the solutions we seek be more integrated, too?

    Last month in New York, FHI 360 brought together a group of distinguished leaders from across the development community to advance the conversation about integrated development. In a panel discussion, titled “Does 1+1=3: Proving the Integration Hypothesis,” representatives from the United Nations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), academia, international nongovernmental organizations and others offered diverse perspectives on the topic.

    The discussion began with a deceptively simple question: What do we mean by integrated development? “We know when it’s lacking,” said Kiari Liman-Tinguiri, adding that while we need to move forward, we also need the solid evidence to show where and when synergy and integration work.

    It is not as simple as co-locating projects and programs or layering related interventions such as polio shots and vitamin distribution, added other panelists. Mark Viso, CEO of PACT, noted that vertical integration is messy, is often difficult and requires tackling systemic issues, such as capacity. It is also critical to create an enabling environment and engage business and markets. University of Washington professor Judd Walson added, “It’s integrating staff, management and funding, and you don’t often see that.”

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    FHI 360 is launching a major initiative in New York City during CGI’s Annual Meeting through a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action. This investment will help FHI 360 and its partners explore the benefits and challenges of integrated programing. We will study whether and how integrated programs produce an amplified impact, and if so, to what degree these approaches are cost-efficient and sustainable.

    In a video message, CEO Patrick Fine called the commitment an unprecedented opportunity for FHI 360 and its partners to collectively reflect on what the development community is doing well and how we can leverage resources to build a better, safer and more prosperous world for all.

    FHI 360 makes a commitment to integrated development from FHI 360 on Vimeo.

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