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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Strengthening Cyber Resilience as a Cornerstone of Self-Determination

Digital

Cybersecurity and cyber resilience are becoming increasingly crucial considerations for countries seeking to assert sovereignty and self-determination. This desire is particularly acute in regions such as Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and the Western Balkans, all of which face increasingly complex cyberattacks emanating from nefarious individu…

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Top 3 Considerations for eLearning Design

Digital

COVID-19 has caused major disruptions for people from all walks of life. It has dramatically changed the nature of activities we used to do in person, especially those aiming to bring people together to learn, exchange knowledge, and strengthen relationships. As we grapple with the uncertainty of how in-person education and training will continu…

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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…

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Western Nations Seek to Bulk Up Critical Infrastructure, Digitalization, and Cybersecurity in the Western Balkans

Digital

The Western Balkans, like many regions across the world, is navigating the disruptive effects of COVID-19 on their economies, while also digitalizing numerous critical sectors. Critical infrastructure (CI) is defined as “the physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to [a country] that their incapacity or destruction would have a d…

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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…

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Digital Innovator Series: The View from Latvia’s Startup Scene with TrueSix’s Julia Gifford

Digital

Even though the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Journey to Self-Reliance has been covered extensively by the press, think tanks, academia, and implementers since its 2018 launch (more than 390,000 Google search results and counting), not much has been written about the countries that have actually graduated from assistance. L…

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How to Protect Digital Privacy and Security During COVID-19 Response

Digital

What do cyber attacks, virtual learning platforms, and the spread of misinformation online have in common?

All have seen substantial spikes over the past four months. Each one would be nonexistent without digital technology.

Technology has served as both an advantage and a hindrance during COVID-19 digital response. On one hand, apps like Zoom…

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Cybersecurity Frontier Insights Findings: User Perceptions of Trust and Privacy on the Internet

Digital

Last week we shared that the Center for Digital Acceleration was launching our most recent Cybersecurity Frontier Insights research into user perceptions of trust and privacy in India and Ghana. Here are the findings from that report, which can be downloaded here. Since the creation of the internet more than 30 years ago, our lives, economies, a…

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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…

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How to Use Digital Payments During the COVID-19 Response

Digital

The pandemic is affecting the way people interact with money; how much we spend, what we buy, and whether to opt for digital payments. In the United States, the switch to digital has even led to a coin shortage, and the rest of the world is more reliant on cashless options, too.

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Research Launch: User Perceptions of Trust and Privacy on the Internet

Digital

DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration cordially invites you to an online event on findings from our latest Cybersecurity Frontier Insights research into user perceptions of trust and privacy in India and Ghana. We’ll be discussing these findings with a diverse panel of distinguished speakers from A4AI, USAID, FCDO, GSMA, and the Ghana Chamber of…

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Understanding Data Tracking: Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Digital

I don’t think it will ever be possible to overstate the importance of data privacy. I also don’t think it will be possible to overstate the necessity of digital literacy. And unfortunately, I don’t think it will ever be possible to completely protect our online selves from data harvesting or tracking. However, there are measures we can take to k…

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Launch of Two W-GDP WomenConnect Challenges: Apply Now

Digital

DAI’s Digital Frontiers project has just launched a call for proposals for two challenges under the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative’s WomenConnect Challenge. The WomenConnect Challenge was first launched by Advisor Ivanka Trump and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark G…

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How to Responsibly Invest in Digital Development During COVID-19 Response

Digital

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the world to increasingly rely on digital technology to survive. Children are using online platforms to learn. People are using digital payment software to send money to their loved ones, and local businesses are entering the digital space to deliver goods and services that are no longer offered in person.

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Digital Development in Southern Africa: How SMEs Access Trade Data Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Digital

In May, Erica Behrens of DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration, and I worked with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded Trade Forward Southern Africa project to map the use of digital communications (i.e. social media use, messaging apps, websites, mobile phones) for trade-related information amongst a sample of sma…

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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 …

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Management Information Systems at the Humanitarian-Social Protection Nexus, Part 2: Risks and Benefits

Digital

In late 2019 and early 2020, DAI and our partner Caribou Digital worked closely with the former U.K. Department for International Development, now the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) to analyse identification and registration systems in protracted and recurrent crises. For those interested in reading more about the research, the …

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Deadline Extended: Applications for Digital Trade and e-Commerce Technical Assistance for the African Union Commission

Digital

The Digital Frontiers project has extended the deadline for proposals for a Digital Trade and e-Commerce Advisor to support the African Union (AU) Commission under its ProICT program activity (initial announcement here). ProICT is part of the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership and is designed to fund intensive, dedicated policy, …

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Out of the Conference Room, into the Field: Hosting a Virtual Site Visit in Zambia

Digital

For the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), project site visits are essential for country Missions around the world. Site visits are required as part of each Mission’s performance management and provide opportunities for staff to better understand each activity’s unique context and how local communities experience USAID support. T…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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 …

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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How Can We Support the Private Sector in Vulnerable and Developing Economies Following COVID-19?

Developments

While the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing countries continues to unfold, it seems clear that the public health response of lockdowns and business closures is having a profound effect on developing economies. In the face of dwindling revenue, private companies with limited working capital reserves are forced to lay off staff an…

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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….

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Avoiding Credit Risk Contagion in Frontier and Emerging Economies

Developments

COVID-19 has hit economies around the world, with devastating effects on businesses. Businesses in frontier and emerging economies may face the worst debt crisis since the early 1980s. Since the advent of COVID-19, more than US$100 billion in capital has flowed out of these markets—three times as much as in the first two months of the 2008 globa…

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Transitioning a Supply Base from Offshore Oil and Gas to Marine Renewables

Developments

The past few decades have seen an intense effort to encourage investment in forward-looking renewable energy technologies, principally in onshore solar and wind generation. Over this time, a global supply chain that involves both large businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has emerged to service these onshore projects. More re…

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Q&A: A Conversation with Jenny Baker, DAI Global Health Senior Vice President

Developments

Jenny Baker was appointed to lead DAI’s Global Health business in March of this year. Given all that has happened in the health arena since then, it has taken us longer than usual to catch up with the incoming Senior Vice President. Here we get her perspective on health and development challenges in the era of COVID-19.

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USAID Local Governance Activity Supports Health Systems to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 in Honduras

Developments

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Honduras Local Governance Activity (HLG), is supporting the prevention and early detection of COVID-19 in 41 municipalities, 8 municipal associations, 18 nongovernment-managed health centers, 6 hospitals, 4 shelters for victims of gender-based violence, and 7 youth groups in this…

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“Now More than Ever”—Safeguarding in a Time of Crisis

Developments

Crisis or no crisis, gender-based violence—including sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH)—takes place where there is a combination of opportunity, rationalisation, motivation, and power imbalance. But crises tend to exacerbate the inequalities that favour these conditions. Depending on the nature of the crisis, we may see different …

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What We Have Learned through Land Reform Implementation in Malawi

Developing Alternatives

In 2016, the Government of Malawi enacted a Customary Land Act (CLA), enabling smallholder farmers to convert their customary land rights to private land rights with registered title. Crucially, the CLA gives land holders increased tenure security, which in turn is hoped to lead to increased investment in land improvements.

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How COVID-19 is Highlighting Inequality, and the Role for Social Protection

Developments

Alongside priorities of healthcare and slowing the rate of infection, almost all governments have identified a range of fiscal and monetary instruments to mitigate the economic impacts of the virus.

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USAID Projects Assisting Small Firms Affected by COVID-19

Developments

Even the strongest economies are struggling to cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. China saw its first drop in gross domestic product since 1992 and Germany, Europe’s largest economy, could contract by up to 5.4 percent this year. While it’s too soon to predict how less developed countries will fare, all indicators point to s…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.