Publications

By freely sharing what we learn, we have built a reputation as thought leaders who translate ideas into action and action into results. You can browse through recently published articles from all our publications ( Checkpoint, Developments, Developing Alternatives, DAIdeas, [email protected] ) below—or visit individual publication sites for a full archive.

A Time of Change. And Reflection.

Digital

I can’t remember exactly what I was doing when the grenade went off up the street—probably brushing my teeth or something mundane like that. I was halfway through my two-week visit to Ethiopia and looking forward to getting out in the field. I was also completely unaware of what had just happened. It was a sobering day. I spent all afternoon wat…

Read More

DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration Featured on Podcast

Digital

This is HCD—a podcast that explores what human-centered design (HCD) looks like in practice—featured DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration work in Guatemala on its most recent episode.

Read More

Africa Trading: Five Takeaways on Trade-Based Solutions for Food Security

Developments

When we harness market forces in developing countries, great things can happen—such as countries with surplus food selling to countries that need food. Over the past 15 months, teams from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs together facilitated three regional trade forum…

Read More

Digital Health in International Development: Using Tried & Tested Technology Innovatively

Digital

I recently took part in the DAI panel discussion on “Digital Health in International Development: Current Realities and Future Trends” in London. It delivered fascinating perspectives from across the health, tech, and development sectors. Here’s a few key points I shared during the discussion and hope to stimulate a continued conversation.

Read More

Global Health and Tech Thinkers Come Together at SwitchPoint

Developments

At SwitchPoint, a two-day conference organized by Intrahealth International—a DAI strategic affiliate—400 global health and technology devotees came together in the North Carolina countryside to share ideas and seed partnerships for solving global health challenges, especially by using technology. The seventh annual event, held April 26–27, feat…

Read More

Four Recommendations for Strengthening Seed Systems

Developments

Most people living in rural communities in developing countries depend on crops. While donor-funded seed development programs for staple crops have improved the capacity of seed companies, as well as their market connections and distribution systems, high-quality seeds of improved varieties are simply not reaching enough smallholder farmers.

Read More

Catching Up with the Winners of MIT’s Grand Hack for Health

Digital

Let me start by saying that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Grand Hack is kind of a big deal. I don’t make the point as an affront to other hackathons—certainly not DAI’s own—but not many other hackathons can claim to have generated more than $150 million in venture capital and spawned more than 40 viable companies. Those two f…

Read More

Deadline Extended! Apply Now: Support USAID Missions to Improve Broadband Connectivity

Digital

DAI’s Digital Frontiers project has extended the deadline to July 3 for proposals from interested organizations to help the U.S. Agency for International Development implement the Better Connectivity, Better Programs: How to Implement a Demand Aggregation Program (How-to Guide). The initial Request for Proposals (RFP) and related information can…

Read More

New Generation of EC Framework Contracts Offers Agile Programming for European Development Aid

Developments

We are proud to announce that DAI has once again been named one of the main implementing partners for the European Commission (EC) 2018–2022 Frameworks contracts for international development assistance. The Frameworks represent an agile development programming tool that enables the EC to quickly source and execute short-term research and pilot …

Read More

Coffee Cloud: The Digital Project for Central American Coffee Growers

Digital

From 2010 to 2014, the Central American coffee bean suffered from a disease that rocked the economies of the region. Exports declined by 55 percent. From 2012 to 2013 some 374,000 jobs were lost—17 percent of the labor force. Roya, or coffee rust threatened the livelihoods of nearly 2 million. Coffee rust is a fungal disease that covers the leav…

Read More

Trends in Digital Health: 4 Takeaways From Our UK Event

Digital

In comparison to other development sectors, health programs have historically been early adopters of digital tools. What have we learned over the last 10 years, and where are we heading? How can we build systems that integrate data from independent actors across the health ecosystem? How can we use lessons learned to support innovation? How can …

Read More

Apply Now: Support USAID Missions to Improve Broadband Connectivity

Digital

The rapid expansion of mobile and internet access in the developing world holds the promise of catalyzing resilient economic and social growth. However, the availability and cost of connectivity is a significant barrier to fully realizing that vision. To help address this challenge, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Center …

Read More

Working With Tech Service Providers: It’s About More Than Tech

Digital

Are you a nonprofit focused on improving maternal health outcomes? Or maybe you’re a civic engagement organization that encourages young people to become more involved with their local governments. No matter the objective, technology can both help you be more efficient internally and more impactful externally. The idea of tech is often easy: “Oh…

Read More

5 Recent Reads We Loved (And You May Have Missed!)

Digital

As our Center for Digital Acceleration team grows, we are finding new ways to share knowledge beyond our epic WhatsApp group chat that grows more ridiculous and off-topic by the day. We have some voracious readers on the team, so in prep for this post I took a minute to poll them to find out which recent articles they found fascinating—and I had…

Read More

Replicando la App de Transparencia en Guatemala

Digital

Nota: Esta publicación también está disponible en inglés El pasado mes de febrero del año en curso, retorné a Guatemala con el fin de dar seguimiento a una iniciativa tecnológica denominada Somos Chiantla, que promueve la participación ciudadana y la rendición de cuentas en el municipio de Chiantla, en el departamento de Huehuetenango. De igual …

Read More

Getting Started With RStudio, Part 1

Digital

This article is part 1 of 2, as we explore the basics of importing and analyzing data in RStudio. As a data scientist, I spend a lot of my time working in a programming language called R. RStudio is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) for the R programming language, which focuses on programming for statistical analysis. You c…

Read More

Addressing Jordan’s Youth Unemployment Bubble: USAID Program Aligns Workforce with Emerging Opportunities

Developments

Jordan is a relative bastion of stability in the Middle East but is struggling with an unemployment problem. More than 700,000 of its young people—36 percent of the available labor force ages 15–24—are without a job. This percentage is double that of Afghanistan and triple that of Bangladesh, even though those countries register poverty levels f…

Read More

ICT4D Conference: Unpacking the Complexities of Integrated Health Data and Data Ownership

Digital

“We are at an inflection point in digital development!” Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope, boomed over the crowd of 750-plus participants the first day of the recent ICT4D Conference in Lusaka, Zambia. It may indeed be a critical time for technology, but the means of reaching our collective goals can create healthy disagreements, ones that should b…

Read More

Can We Keep the Promise?Mobilizing Business on the Refugee Frontline in Jordan

Developments

In recent years, lower- and middle-income countries have borne the brunt of the global refugee crisis, currently hosting more than 80 percent of the world’s refugees. But some host countries, like Jordan, are taking important steps to seize what opportunities they can in this situation, supporting refugee self-reliance and at the same time boost…

Read More

A Do No Harm Framework for ICT4D: Inspiration from SwitchPoint 2018

Digital

SwitchPoint 2018 was an inspiring, passionate, and delightful indulgence: Spending two days in lush Saxapahaw, North Carolina, thinking about big ideas and learning from leading experts in small group sessions in between performance art and live music shows felt like such a departure from Conference As Usual. I felt space opening up in my brain …

Read More

With U.K. Aid, Lebanon’s Social Enterprises Pilot a New Model of Development

Developments

The influx of refugees from across the Syrian border is straining Lebanon’s economy and host communities. Since 2011, Lebanon’s population has increased 30 percent to around 6 million as a result of this influx, and its young people are increasingly anxious to enter the workforce. Many even wish to start or join social enterprises to help addres…

Read More

Digital Insights Malawi: Information and Communication in Rural Communities

Digital

Last month, I spent two weeks in Malawi trying to gain a real understanding of technology use and media consumption habits of people in rural and marginalised communities. Along with a team of enumerators, I spoke to 183 women, men, girls and boys (ages 14 to 80) in different traditional authorities (TAs) in Northern, Central and Southern Malawi…

Read More

TicTec 2018: Key Takeaways from the Impacts of Civic Technology Conference

Digital

Last week I was at MySociety’s annual civic technology conference, TicTec, in Lisbon. For anyone who couldn’t make it I unfortunately can’t share all the takeaways, like the delicious Pastel de Nata, but here are a few treats for the mind.

Read More

Forking a Live Tool with Design Thinking in Guatemala

Digital

Esta publicación también está disponible en español This past February I was back in Guatemala, working with the fine people of Chiantla to improve and iterate Somos Chiantla. I was also in two new municipalities—Sacapulas and San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta—helping them create their own, personalized, forked versions of the app.

A participant in S…

Read More

Writing Code is for Everyone—Now the Code Partners Scholarship Makes it Affordable

Digital

When someone needs a website or mobile app, they search for a coder. Almost anyone can be trained to write code and enter the digital workforce—once there, opportunities abound: from helping businesses, governments and other organizations build the websites and apps they need to supporting the digital systems that power economies worldwide.

Read More

New DFID Guidance Aims to Improve Emergency Schooling for Millions of Displaced Children

Developments

An estimated 75 million children cannot go to school because they have been driven from their homes by war, crisis, and natural disaster. This deprivation in turn destabilizes vulnerable regions because uneducated children grow into at-risk teenagers and young adults.

Read More

How Can Nigeria Fulfill its Broad Economic Potential?

Developments

Nigeria is the economic heavyweight of West Africa, but it faces challenges. Approximately two-thirds of its people live in poverty and its economy suffers from low productivity and an uneven climate for trade and investment. Until recently, oil-rich Nigeria has not been a good place to make products or grow crops because it didn’t have to be—th…

Read More

Blended Finance in Action—How USAID Leveraged $100 Million in East Africa

Developments

Earlier this spring, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub achieved a major milestone by surpassing the $100-million mark in commercial investment catalyzed into the region. This investment would not have found its way to these markets without the approximately $4 million nudge offered by the Hub, a U.S. Agency for International Development (…

Read More

Blockchain for Development Part 2: Implementation Considerations

Digital

As discussed in Part 1 of this two-part post on blockchain, “Understanding the Tech,” the blockchain hype is pervasive in international development these days. It is my view that blockchain does not deserve the “Swiss army knife of new technology” label that has been thrust upon it. While blockchain is exciting and potentially very useful, appro…

Read More

Ethiopia Stands Poised to Lead an African Industrial Revolution

Developments

Just over 100 years ago, Henry Ford and other industrialists revolutionised manufacturing by introducing the assembly line. They built consumer goods at unprecedented scale and cost, creating millions of jobs and bringing down the price of goods to levels that workers could afford. It was so productive that Ford could double the minimum wage and…

Read More

Submit Your Session Ideas for ICTforAg 2018

Digital

As in previous years, DAI is co-sponsoring this year’s ICTforAg conference in Washington, D.C. The conference is on June 14 at FHI 360. The conference is now accepting submissions for lightning talks and breakout sessions here. The deadline for submission is April 13. Use the guiding questions below to shape your session ideas, and see you all i…

Read More

Young Rural Women are Crucial to Advancing Universal Health Coverage in Northern Nigeria

Developments

This year’s World Health Day theme is Universal Health Coverage. It’s an apt rallying cry, particularly for those working in our Women for Health (W4H) programme in Northern Nigeria, where a 2013 study showed that 94 percent of live births lacked any medical personnel presence, resulting in one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Read More

A Good Facilitator is Hard to Find: This Might Help

Checkpoint

As measures to counter violent extremism (CVE) are complex and unproven, development practitioners must pay attention to any and all variables that even appear to be important. One of those key common factors is the importance of a good facilitator. Luckily, the field of public health has much to teach us on this topic.

Read More

$36 Million Investment Partnership Finances Warehouses in Malawi to Improve Food Security

Developments

Malawi has suffered from poor food production for decades—its 17 million people are mostly smallholder or subsistence farmers who have struggled to overcome drought, pests, and outdated farming practices. Even successful harvests are diminished because they have few options to process and store their crops for sale, resulting in post-harvest los…

Read More

LTA Program Shows Benefit of Truly Participatory Approach

Developing Alternatives

The Feed the Future Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) activity—which has completed mapping of more than 36,000 land parcels in 26 villages with more than 27,000 Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy printed and registered—is a powerful example of how digital technology applied in a participatory process can enable rural people to strengthen t…

Read More

A Tool in Progress: The Sub-National Fragility Index

Checkpoint

Is it possible to build a fragility index that is truly useful as a tool for day-to-day development programming on the ground? That’s what we’re trying in Nigeria.

Read More

Mozambique: Even a Progressive Land Law Needs Revision After a Generation of Experience

Developing Alternatives

Mozambique is widely regarded as having a modern and progressive land tenure framework, following the enactment of the 1997 Land Law. However, in its implementation, the law has not always lived up to its promise. Twenty years of experience reveals a number of areas in which the legal framework would benefit from revision and better serve its pr…

Read More

In Nigeria, Governance Champions Can Transform Resource Wealth into Development Results

Developments

Nigeria is well known for its glaring inequalities, particularly the disparity between the impoverished northern states and its oil-rich south. This disparity covers more than just wealth and economic growth, as large segments of the country’s 185 million people want for simple stability and basic public services. But just as Nigeria’s economy i…

Read More

Words Matter: Pastoralists and Identity in the Sahel

Checkpoint

It is broadly understood that language—especially generalizing and dehumanizing language—can play a central role in fostering communal violence. William Donohue has shown how the language of classification was a key early warning in the Rwandan genocide, for example. Such instances should remind the development community to be mindful of the wor…

Read More

EC Helps Position the Southern Africa Development Community for 21st Century Success

Developments

Launched in 1992, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) was based more on ideals than economics. Born of the anti-Apartheid movement, the SADC aimed to help Southern Africa countries build economic ties and reduce dependence on the Republic of South Africa. As the region changed, the SADC’s membership grew and the organization adopted…

Read More

Will the Real Bad Guys Please Stand Up?

Checkpoint

A review of “Conflict, Violent Extremism and Development: New Challenges, New Responses” One of the most acute challenges of working in conflict zones is differentiating between “legitimate” conflict actors and extremist groups. In countries such as Libya and Syria, state collapse has led to a proliferation of armed groups and institutions—all c…

Read More

New Zealand Aid Helps Rwandan Smallholders Enter Fortified Foods Supply Chain

Developments

Small-scale farmers in Rwanda struggle to capture the full value of their maize harvests. Farmers typically process their maize manually or using basic tools. With limited infrastructure available for threshing, cleaning, and drying, the full harvest and post-harvest process takes six weeks, on average. Apart from being burdensome for farm famil…

Read More

Afghan Cities Assisted by USAID Project Achieve Highest Ratings in Citizen Survey

Developments

In a citizen assessment of government services in nine Afghan municipalities, the four that ranked the highest—Chaharikar, Hirat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad—are all partners with a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project working to improve the capacity of Afghan municipal officials to meet citizen priorities and service deli…

Read More

Engaging Women in PVE Programming

Checkpoint

Recent research by DAI’s Enhancing Governance, Accountability, and Engagement (ENGAGE) project team in Mindanao demonstrates that while membership in violent extremist groups is overwhelmingly male, there is limited evidence to suggest that support for violent extremist ideologies differs fundamentally between the sexes.

Read More

Philippines’ New Tax Bill Promises More Revenue for Social Programs, Infrastructure

Developments

It has been more than 15 years since the Government of the Philippines undertook its last comprehensive tax policy reform. Over that period, tax revenues have seen a steady decline, from a high of nearly 17 percent of GDP in 1997 to only 13.6 percent in 2016. This decline can be attributed to both domestic and external factors. On the internatio…

Read More

With Elections Looming, Can Pakistan Fulfill Its Education Promise to Unschooled Children?

Developments

More than 23 million children in Pakistan do not attend school. More than half of children who start at government schools drop out before completing primary school. These stark facts are harming a rising generation of Pakistanis already vulnerable to unemployment, instability, and extremism. And while upper-class Pakistanis enjoy excellent priv…

Read More

Liberia Moves to Reduce Donor Dependence by Improving its Ability to Invest in Itself

Developments

Liberia has endured much turmoil in recent decades. Civil wars in the 1990s and 2000s saw the mass destruction of dams, bridges, power lines, and other infrastructure. Many of Liberia’s best and brightest citizens emigrated. Suffering from a large budget deficit, its government developed a deeper dependence on foreign aid. Furthermore, the…

Read More

Women’s Land Rights and the Problem of Polygamy: A Proposal in Ethiopia

Developing Alternatives

Despite being illegal, polygamous marriage remains alive and well in Ethiopia, and that poses some obvious challenges when it comes to land rights. Statistics from 2011 reveal that 11 percent of married women in Ethiopia share a husband with one or two other wives. Polygamy affects women’s rights to property and income because it is unclear whos…

Read More

Gathering the Evidence to Mobilize Domestic Resources for Health Care

Developments

Two key areas of development assistance have been merging quickly: health care and domestic resource mobilization. The goal is to help developing countries afford to invest in their national health systems and institutions and do so wisely. Many countries want to do more to fund their own development, and donors are on board to assist. But there…

Read More

To Realize the Promise of Renewables, Address the Concerns of Local People

Developments

In 2009, in rural Pennsylvania, as head of the Renewable Energy Center, I attended a community meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers about a proposed wind farm in Ogletown, in Somerset County. I was told that previous meetings on the topic had been heated enough that a police presence was necessary—and welcomed.

Read More

New Orangutan Species Discovered in Forest Supported by USAID Conservation Program

Developments

More than eight years ago, DAI staff tromped through the Batang Toru forest of North Sumatra, Indonesia, counting nests, observing behavior, and collecting field evidence on one of the oldest members of the great ape family—the orangutan. What they did not realize was that this group of orangutans was an entirely unrecognized species—the Tapanul…

Read More

EU Funds Totaling €4.1 Billion Aim to Boost Investment, Private Sector Engagement in Africa and European Neighbourhood Countries

Developments

Nowhere do entrepreneurs and investors face more risk than in fragile states where jobs and economic growth are most needed. To mitigate this risk, the EU is launching the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), part of the External Investment Plan (EIP). The EFSD brings together €2.6 billion from the existing blended-finance operation…

Read More

Q&A with DAI’s Susan Scribner: Preparedness, Response, and Global Health Security

Developments

Pandemics begin with a single case but don’t stay that way: since 2000, avian influenza has killed 440 people in 14 countries, Ebola more than 11,000 people in 10 countries, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 770 people in 37 countries. The first deaths were reported locally in Hong Kong (1997), Guinea (2013), and China (2002), respect…

Read More

Sourcing the Wadi: How Palestinian Workers Are Filling Niche Needs in Israel’s IT Sector

Developments

The Middle East hosts one of the fastest-growing high-tech industries in the world: Israel’s Silicon Wadi. But the very speed of this growth means Israel’s tech sector also faces a shortage of skilled engineers. To deal with this shortage, Israel has turned largely to Eastern Europe as a source for IT workers. Though there is plenty of talent in…

Read More

What To Do About Fake News? Ask Kenya

Checkpoint

So-called fake news is an issue du jour in Washington and beyond. While it has undoubtedly been hyped for political reasons, fake news is real, its dangers clear and present—especially in unstable environments. Even in the United States, the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and subsequent Comet Ping Pong shooting in Washington, D.C., in December 2016…

Read More

Mopti: A New Front in the Struggle for Stability in West Africa

Checkpoint

Since the Bamako Agreement of 2015, the international security and development community has invested in significant stabilization programs for Northern Mali, and specifically the Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal regions. Northern Mali and its roughly 1.3 million people are more engaged and resilient as a result, but now “the center” of the country—home…

Read More

Welcome to Checkpoint

Checkpoint

The social critic and author Christopher Hitchens wrote: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Research, applied learning, and fierce debates about measuring success and failure, about embracing new ideas and technologies, and about adapting concepts and practices from both the development and national defens…

Read More

Good, Timely, Affordable Research: Can We Hit the Trifecta?

Checkpoint

Anyone who has worked in transition or stabilization environments knows the value of good research. But good research tends to have two drawbacks that constrain its applicability for professionals working in unstable environments: it takes time and it’s expensive. Even the best research, if it comes too late, is of little use if you’re working i…

Read More

Turning Restrictive Social Norms in the Middle East into Job Opportunities for Women

Developments

When deep-rooted social norms appear to limit the roles of women, one of the best tactics we can take in development assistance is to look for opportunities to turn those norms to women’s advantage.

Read More

Article Filter

Looking for articles from a particular publication or focused on a particular topic? Click below to filter.

Filter by Publication

Filter by Solution


Developments

DAI’s newsletter, offering feature articles, opinion pieces, and interviews on DAI projects and global development issues.

Developing Alternatives

A forum for our professional staff and guest authors to share their ideas in depth and address issues of enduring interest.

DAIdeas

A companion publication to our Developments newsletter, showcasing innovative thinking in capsule form.

[email protected]

DAI’s Digital for Development blog on what we’re learning in the rapidly emerging field of ICT4D.

CHECKPOINT

Checkpoint is the blog for the Center for Secure and Stable States—where development and national security intersect.