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 ( Developments, Developing Alternatives, [email protected] ) below—or visit individual publication sites for a full archive.

Supporting Women’s Inclusion Through Community Development in Pakistan

Developments

Since the early 2000s, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), home to more than 30 million citizens in northwest Pakistan, has suffered from the effects of militancy and natural disasters. Taliban attacks from neighbouring Afghanistan and severe droughts and floods have displaced people, increased poverty, hindered access to basic services, an…

Read More

What Are We Reading about Digital Transformation and COVID-19?

Digital

I find it difficult to use the word in this context, but there may be one positive—if not collateral—effect of COVID-19: after the decades of support the digital development community has provided to businesses and consumers around the world to help, the adoption of digital technologies has accelerated in mere months. There’s a new willingness t…

Read More

Why Electronic Waste is Relevant for the Digital Development Community

Digital

I was recently cleaning my house when I came across three old mobile phones: a feature phone, a BlackBerry, and an iPhone. I found myself wondering, “Why did I keep these?” Immediately, I thought, “the pictures,” but then quickly remembered that nowadays when everything can be saved to the cloud, that justification makes no sense. When I finishe…

Read More

ANDE West Africa Hosts Workshop on Assisting Businesses in COVID-19 Crisis

Developments

Many donors, governments, and corporations have recognized the need to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but another group—entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs), which help those same small firms—are also suffering from a lull in funding and assistance. In recognition of this knowledge and funding ga…

Read More

Digital Innovator Series: Talking About Online Campaigns for Change with Sotheavy AT

Digital

We recently spoke with Sotheavy AT, the Founder of Think Plastic, a hugely popular digital environmental advocacy campaign working to reduce plastic waste and inspire action from citizens across Cambodia. (She’s also the former Senior Innovation Program Manager for the DAI-led Development Innovations, funded by the U.S. Agency for International …

Read More

Market System Lens Pays Dividends for Northern Haiti’s Cacao Sector

Developments

Once a major agricultural exporter with robust export industries in coffee and sugarcane, Haiti now accounts for a minuscule share of global exports for virtually all agricultural commodities—around 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent. Yet, strengthening agricultural exports—including cacao, the seed from which cocoa products are made—has long been held …

Read More

Digital Development for Newbies, Part 2: Sophomore Edition

Digital

This month I’ve been reflecting on all that has happened since this time last year, back when we were still blissfully unaware of the trials, trauma, and transformation 2020 would bring. Instead of focusing on the challenges we faced over the last several months, I’d like to highlight some relevant concepts for colleagues who are gaining momentu…

Read More

Strengthening the COVID-19 Response and Protecting Health Services in Uganda

Developments

COVID-19 infections in Uganda are rising fast. The country recorded its first case of the coronavirus in March 2020 and in the early stages of the pandemic most cases were identified at the borders, among people travelling from other countries. Since then, however, the country has seen a rapid increase in community transmission and clusters of i…

Read More

What Are We Reading about Misinformation and Disinformation?

Digital

After the insurrection/uprising/riot/attack/craziness/failed coup attempt (take your pick) at the U.S. Capitol building a few weeks ago, misinformation and disinformation are back in the news with a vengeance. While the bulk of the public’s attention has been on U.S. domestic mis/disinfo related to QAnon and other 2020 presidential election cons…

Read More

Fiscal Decentralization Builds Citizen Trust, Positions Ukraine for European Future

Developments

Sharing borders with four European Union (EU) member states—Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia—Ukraine is now a participant in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, and thus a priority partner of the EU. Yet the ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, begun in 2012 and concluded five years later, turned…

Read More

Why Aligning with the SDGs Helps Energy Companies Position for Growth, and How to Do It

Developments

Companies are increasingly required to demonstrate the socioeconomic value of projects to gain operating approval from national governments, secure capital from investors and financiers, or uphold their brands in the court of public and consumer opinion. These requirements are only intensifying as many countries face unprecedented economic and d…

Read More

Towards Inclusive Machine Translation: A Case for User-Centered Design in Machine Learning

Digital

In November 2020, Masakhane, a grassroots natural language process (NLP) community whose “mission is to strengthen and spur NLP in African languages, for Africans, by Africans,” published a paper titled “Participatory Research for Low-resourced Machine Translation: A Case Study in African Languages.” Machine translation refers to the use of soft…

Read More

Racist Hardware and What to Do About It

Digital

In an astonishing letter to the editor published in the December 17, 2020, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a group of five doctors from the University of Michigan Medical School presented findings from their study on adult inpatients receiving supplemental oxygen at the University’s hospital. They found that the variance b…

Read More

Trade in the Time of COVID-19—Risk or Opportunity?

Developments

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a transformational impact on trade. The World Trade Organisation predicts trade will shrink by 9.2 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, while the International Monetary Fund has said that the pandemic “is the worst crisis since the Great Depression and that it will take significant innovation on the policy front, a…

Read More

Looking Ahead: What We’re Thinking About in 2021

Digital

As we (happily) say farewell to 2020, we at DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration (CDA) feel stronger and more optimistic than ever before. If 2020 taught us anything, it is that adaptation is paramount. The events of the last year have changed almost every aspect of how we think, work, and live, and we would be naïve to think that our digital t…

Read More

[email protected] 2020 Year in Review

Digital

2020 has been a year like no other. While those of us in the development sector have long anticipated the increased frequency of once-in-a-lifetime events—as our social, environmental, political, and economic systems grow increasingly strained and interconnected—none of us expected these “problems of tomorrow” to arise as quickly, globally, and …

Read More

Addressing Concurrent Crises with Digital Tools: An ICTforAg Recap

Digital

Reflecting back on 2020, it is still difficult for me to comprehend the many challenges the world faced this year and their implications for agriculture and resilience. From the locust outbreak in East Africa, to wildfires and extreme weather events, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has made it clear that in a world increasingly s…

Read More

A Vision for Smart Connectivity in the Three Seas Region

Digital

During the pandemic, we have been struck by one of the few upsides of this new way of working—the ability to bring together experts and thinkers virtually in ways that contribute to a more global conversation. This was the case recently when DAI spoke at the Three Seas Initiative with leaders and experts from across Europe and beyond about the c…

Read More

Oman’s Journey to In-Country Value: An Approach to Local Content that Works for Government and the Private Sector

Developments

For resource-rich countries looking to derive value from their extractive industries beyond tax revenues and production-sharing arrangements, promoting “local content” has become a mainstay of domestic policy in the past few decades. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, governments have adopted more than 340 l…

Read More

Apply Now: Support USAID’s DRG Center in Addressing Electoral Cybersecurity Threats

Digital

The increasingly widespread use of technology in the electoral process in countries around the world creates significant cybersecurity risks, ranging from simple hacks to sophisticated exploitation of hardware or software vulnerabilities. Governments, election management bodies (EMBs), candidates, and parties are often ill-equipped to prepare fo…

Read More

Empowering Women: Lessons from COVID-19 and Beyond

Developments

COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns have seriously disrupted economic activity, affecting at least 80 percent of the global workforce, according to the International Labour Organization. While such instability threatens livelihoods across the board, women are disproportionately harmed by the pandemic because it exacerbates existing inequalitie…

Read More

Reflections on Machine Learning for Gender Inclusion in Afghanistan

Digital

This past summer, DAI’s Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE) project came to an end. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the project bolstered women’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s economy through technical assistance, access to finance, and business training. In 2016, our team wrote about the possibility of leveraging machine l…

Read More

Q&A with Jeffrey Mecaskey: How Community Engagement, Regulations, and Incentives Build a Path to Improved Healthcare

Developments

Jeffrey Mecaskey is the Team Leader of the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa (TDDA) programme, a project designed to strengthen health security in Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, and Uganda. TDDA is funded by UK Aid and led by DAI Global Health. We recently sat with Jeffrey to discuss measures to strengthen primary healthcare system…

Read More

Considerations for a Successful ICT Strategy in Local Context: Lessons from Timor-Leste

Digital

Those with access to technology in various parts of the world use it in similar ways. In places as distant as Chile, Vietnam, and Norway, people use e-commerce platforms for buying and selling goods, emailing each other, and e-calendars for business schedules, and social media platforms for sharing news, communicating, and organizing. Despite th…

Read More

Eliminating Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls

Digital

Today is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Like every year on this day–and any other official “Day” that amplifies the inequalities between women and men–I’m heaving a big sigh… because we’re still here. We still require these Days. We continue to need reminding that women are still fighting for…

Read More

Respond Now: USAID Seeks ICT Regulatory Policy Technical Assistance Services in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Indo-Pacific

Digital

The Digital Frontiers project is issuing an expression of interest (EOI) to support the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Promoting American Approaches to ICT Regulatory Policy (ProICT) activity.

Read More

A Digital Tool to Get the World Moving Again

Developments

This week’s news from Pfizer and Moderna about the efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccines offers a tantalizing glimmer of hope for all of us longing to get back to our lives and our work. But even if these and other vaccines are as good as advertised, global authorities will need a comprehensive and universally trusted system to confirm COVID-19 te…

Read More

Increasing Adoption and Awareness of Fintech Solutions in Mexico: Q&A with Roberto Velez and Lorena Segura

Digital

Launched in 2019, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) Prosperity Fund Mexico Financial Services Programme aims to create a more inclusive and competitive financial services sector accessible to all segments of Mexican society and market entrants. Despite challenges due to COVID-19, this project has been able to hit t…

Read More

A Shift in Mindset: Distance Learning during COVID-19 Boosts Participation in Honduras

Developments

Like many countries, Honduras was forced to close its schools by COVID-19. As a result, the Asegurando la Educación (Securing Education) project—a U.S. Agency for International Development project to support safe schools—was forced to give up its face-to-face interaction with educators, students, and parents. But necessity is the mother of inven…

Read More

Digital Innovator Series: Talking About Life After an Accelerator with Muuve’s Phanith Phan

Digital

We recently spoke with Phanith Phan, the CEO of Muuve, an innovative delivery services startup in Cambodia. Muuve was one of the startups involved in the 2019 Smartscale by Seedstars accelerator, co-funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Development Innovations project and telecommunications company Smart Axiata. This acc…

Read More

Gender-Based Violence on the Rise in the COVID-19 Era

Developments

A Liberian mother choked back tears as she recounted how a police commander refused to accept her report about a neighbor who raped and impregnated her 13-year-old daughter. The officer didn’t believe her. This is just one recent example of gender-based violence gleaned from DAI’s project work, but unfortunately, it is all too common, and—for mu…

Read More

Commercializing Agricultural Innovations in the Age of COVID-19

Developments

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, Sub-Saharan African countries have been gradually reopening thanks to largely successful efforts to combat the spread of the virus. Though scientists don’t fully understand why the continent has had low incidence and fatality rates compared to the rest of the world, most agree that quick action on the pa…

Read More

Development During Quarantine: Lessons from Four USAID Projects

Developments

Mobility is fundamental to global development work. People, materials, and information must reach areas that can be geographically remote or underserved by communication infrastructures. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed an industry that can no longer rely on access to travel and face-to-face engagement. With COVID-19 a global reality for the fo…

Read More

Mobilizing the Haitian Diaspora to Invest “Back Home”

Developments

In Haiti, more than 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day; in 2019, approximately 14 percent of Haitians were unemployed. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to access the capital they need to grow, create jobs, and offer valuable products and services. “If you go to Haiti, you realize that one of the country’s …

Read More

Stay the Course: A Decade of Focus on Economic Reforms Pays off in Ukraine

Developments

Few countries have experienced as much change in the past 30 years as Ukraine: independence, a switch to a market-based economy, the Euromaidan Revolution, foreign occupation of its territory, and a heavy currency devaluation, to name just a few of the events that have characterized this unsettling era.

Read More

How Donor-Funded Economic Growth Projects are Adapting to the Challenges of COVID-19

Developments

Around the world, the advent of COVID-19 has been transformational for market systems-focused development projects. Many of the countries in which DAI works have implemented shelter-in-place orders, creating countless operational challenges as staff reduce or cease in-person interaction with partner firms, households, and other staff members. In…

Read More

How High-impact Businesses in Emerging Markets Are Pivoting in the COVID-19 Crisis

Developments

INVEST talks with advisors from USAID partner network members about the short and long-term needs of SMEs in emerging markets as these businesses attempt to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. This post originally appeared in Impact Alpha.

Read More

Local and National, Public and Private: Resilient Education Systems in the COVID-19 Era

Developments

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of global education systems, as many schools have temporarily ceased in-person instruction and left students with unequal, inconsistent access to learning opportunities at home. Traditional education provision may not be possible for the foreseeable future. This crisis—and the threat of potential …

Read More

How Can Digital Financial Services be Utilised in Response to COVID-19?

Developments

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the provision of financial services worldwide, with many regular practices now impossible. Consumer banks have closed as part of lockdown measures, and where banks are still operational, distancing measures have constrained services and diminished provider contact. Travel restrictions in many countr…

Read More

How Knowledge Management Helps Make Remote Work, Work

Developments

COVID-19 has transformed the global workforce. Many organizations, including DAI, have transitioned to almost wholly remote working. And while collaborating across locations has always been necessary at DAI—we work in more than 100 countries—the scale of remote collaboration, with so many staff working from home, has never been this great.

Read More

How a Place-based Approach Built Climate Resilience in Indonesia

Developments

Indonesia knows climate and disaster risk: a vast archipelago of more than 18,000 islands and 230 million people, the country faces earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, drought, and rising sea level. Climate change is exacerbating these risks and compounding the vulnerabilities of the Indonesian people. As recently as 2019, for example, 11…

Read More

In Ethiopia, Keeping Land Rights on the Agenda Through the Pandemic

Developing Alternatives

During the COVID-19 health crisis, land might not appear to be an urgent issue. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic is more than a health emergency—it’s an economic and social emergency too, which threatens to worsen the economic outlook for many people who are already extremely vulnerable. We know those most at risk, in Ethi…

Read More

It’s Getting Easier to Do Business in Nigeria: How DFID’s Award-Winning Policy Development Facility Supported Reform

Developments

Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy and population. But as recently as 2016, the country ranked near the bottom of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, which measures business regulations and their enforcement worldwide. Nigeria’s low ranking that year—169 out of 190 countries—reflected the difficulty businesses faced in dealing with …

Read More

How EuropeAid’s Pakistan BRACE Programme is Engaging Communities in the COVID-19 Era

Developments

At a time when social distancing and other restrictive measures are forcing almost all of our interactions to take place virtually, the European Union (EU)-funded Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment (BRACE) programme in Pakistan is harvesting responsiveness from already established networks to stop the spread of COVID-19. The…

Read More

USAID-Supported Enterprise in Ukraine Repairs Lung Ventilators for Use in COVID-19 Crisis

Developments

At the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, Vasyl Mazurin, an entrepreneur from Druzhkivka in eastern Ukraine, approached city doctors with an offer to help repair equipment that could aid patients suffering with COVID-19. Medical staff took him up on the proposal and presented him with their old, non-functioning lung ventilators. “It was our …

Read More

COVID-19: Public Financial Management Solutions for the Immediate and Longer Term

Developments

Any effective government response to crises such as COVID-19 will rely on good public financial management (PFM). As the International Monetary Fund makes clear, PFM systems will play an important role in tackling the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic, which include estimating and finding the financial resources needed to confront the d…

Read More

Here’s How We Push Ahead with Inclusive Education

Developments

Since discussions began around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global community has agreed that education is the right of every child, regardless of socio-economic status, religion, ability, culture, or geography. Yet even as the idea of inclusive education garners support, we struggle to move beyond talk to action. DAI hosted a pan…

Read More

Curbing Irregular Migration: Shifting Focus from the American Dream to the Honduran Reality

Developments

Honduran parents often pull their young children out of school to accompany them on the perilous journey to the United States because of rumors suggesting that the presence of youngsters will ensure visas for families. Older students, seeking what they perceive as a safer or more prosperous future, drop out on their own to undertake the journey….

Read More

Iraq’s Prisoner Dilemma

Checkpoint

The rise of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization presented civilians caught in IS-controlled areas with limited choices. While a small percentage joined the group as combatants—either willfully or under coercion—more sought other ways to survive and provide for their families. In these situations, ordinary people can easily become compl…

Read More

Market-Driven Cash-for-Work Projects Show Promise in Somalia—and Beyond?

Checkpoint

Editor’s Note: This post expands on a report originally prepared for the Centre for Development Results. The Somali peninsula—home to 14.32 million people—suffered a devastating drought in early 2017, leading to widespread crop failures and livestock losses that have dangerously affected the region’s food security. The Food and Agriculture Organ…

Read More

Report: Youth and Violent Extremism in Mindanao, Philippines

Checkpoint

Development responses to violent extremism are challenged by a lack of methods for rigorously testing assumptions about and determining the relative importance of different drivers of extremism. DAI’s Center for Secure and Stable States designed and implemented a mixed-methods research methodology for addressing these challenges on the Enhancing…

Read More

The Money Trail, Part I: Safe Charitable Giving in Pakistan

Checkpoint

Counter-threat finance—the efforts to reduce the flow of money that funds terrorism and organized crime—has been a key component of the international community’s struggle against terrorism since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. When we think of counter-threat finance, international banking, money laundering, and oil smuggling come to mi…

Read More

Q&A: Complexity-Aware Planning for Stabilization Programming

Checkpoint

In complex and unstable environments, standard performance monitoring is often insufficient to ensure activities remain relevant and adapt to the evolving ecosystem in which they are implemented. DAI’s complexity-aware planning (CAP) cycle is designed for situations where the understanding of a country’s conflict is narrow, conditions are consta…

Read More

Alternative Dispute Resolution: New Evaluation Shows Its Impacts and Limitations in Reducing Violence

Checkpoint

In conflict-affected countries, formal legal systems often are limited, with department or agency staffs absent or overloaded or both, leaving communities with few or no dispute resolution mechanisms. In their place, communities tend to rely on informal processes or institutions to resolve disputes before they escalate to violence. Development p…

Read More

Trauma Awareness and Healing: A Step on the Path to Peace

Checkpoint

I recently traveled to South Sudan to investigate efforts to address trauma in a region that has experienced nearly 27 years of war since the 1980s. As a global development professional and trauma educator, I don’t need to be convinced of the need to address trauma as part of a portfolio of peacebuilding activities. Encouragingly, an increasing …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.