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.

Empowering Nurses to Strengthen the Mexican Health System

Developments

Mexico is facing numerous challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and, simultaneously, a historically high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including some of the highest prevalence rates of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. People with underlying chronic health conditions have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms or dying …

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What is Agile? Part One: The Story Behind the Buzzword

Digital

Agile methodology has been a trending topic for a while now and it typically describes a wide range of approaches to software development, project management, and even raising children. Everyone loves to say they work on an agile team or to describe their company as an agile organization. While it’s true that its widespread use has changed the w…

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Five Fresh Tips to Make Digital Safety Cool Again: A Case Study from Thailand

Digital

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for digital connectivity. Thai people, for example, spend on average nine hours a day using the internet on their mobile phones. That’s the second highest in the world! And 95 percent of all Thais connected to the internet use Facebook.

We have all heard about the dangers that come w…

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Building Bridges to a Better Future for Vulnerable Young Salvadorans

Developments

With 16- to 29-year-olds making up a quarter of El Salvador’s population, young people have the potential to play a transformative role in the country’s labor market and contribute to economic prosperity in this Central American country, where economic growth has exceeded 3 percent only twice this century. Yet many young Salvadorans—confronted b…

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Going Virtual with Learning

Digital

For some professions, the past year has normalized virtual interactions and digital collaboration. While many jobs and activities still require in-person interaction, others have moved online as much as possible. Conferences are virtual. Weekly meetings take place through a screen. And classrooms have gone online. Most people who have engaged wi…

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Keeping Essential Food Businesses Open During the COVID-19 Crisis in Afghanistan

Developments

COVID-19 has disrupted the way industries operate globally. Remaining commercially viable in the face of supply and demand shocks, while safeguarding workers, has been challenging for all businesses. In the low- and middle-income countries where DAI operates, the situation is even more severe because the reach of public emergency support to busi…

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In Honor of Women’s History Month: Exploring the Gender Digital Divide

Digital

With March being Women’s History Month, it feels appropriate to reflect on progress made towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 5: Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Over the years, development programs have made significant strides in recognizing and alleviating the inequality that exists between…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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[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 …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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In Somalia, Ensuring Social Protection During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Security Crisis

Developments

After many years of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, and humanitarian crisis, Somalia is highly susceptible to poverty and food insecurity, and its health indicators are among the worst in the world. Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 pandemic is a palpable threat to the country’s healthcare system, food security, and already fragile econ…

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COVID-19: Low-Cost Solutions to Maintain Engagement with Local Partners in the Supply Chain

Developments

Local content practitioners—particularly those working in the sustainability, contracts, procurement, and supply chain departments of large companies—face enormous pressure from two sides: on one side, the pressing need to reduce costs in light of cratering economic activity across the board, and particularly in the energy sector; on the other s…

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How Statistics Can Transform Governance: A Q&A with Economist and Statistician Jean-Paul Zoyem

Developments

Statistics are of paramount importance for governance. High-quality data inform policy making and the public debate: They help assess and design policies and hold governments accountable. However, as the World Bank reported in 2017, Africa’s statistical capacity lags behind most of the developed world. Absent adequate statistics, policy makers a…

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COVID-19: This Pandemic Offers a Lesson We Must Learn Before the Next

Developments

This blog originally appeared in Science Speaks. When the sickness and deaths subside, when ventilators and face masks are back in storerooms, when health workers don’t fear for their lives as they work, and when families and friends gather once again, what will be the lesson we have learned?

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Ethiopia Case Study: Can the Land Titling Process Mitigate Land-Related Violence Against Women and Vulnerable Groups?

Developing Alternatives

International development programmes can have far-reaching consequences, often into sectors or circumstances not immediately obvious or relevant to the programme itself. These knock-on effects can be especially fraught in the case of land, which has important cultural, economic, and social meaning to those who use it. When designing land registr…

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COVID-19 Demands New Thinking on Local Content in Oil, Gas, and Mining

Developments

In upending the supply chain world order, the pandemic will redefine how we source goods and labor Even in the throes of what is perhaps the most severe economic shock in a century, there is little doubt that the crisis will bequeath a “new world order” when it comes to supply chain management. For policy makers, corporate leaders, and supply ch…

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Transforming Social Protection: Taking a Gender Lens to Nepal’s Social Security Allowance

Developments

Nepal is in the midst of a demographic shift. Over the past three decades, its fertility rate has declined and population growth has stalled. The country has quickly moved from a high-mortality, high-fertility society to a low-mortality, low-fertility society. Although this shift is an encouraging indicator of development, the changing demograph…

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In Guatemala, New Research on Gender Equality Shapes Government and USAID Investments in Taxation

Developments

In the United States, widely available tools enable Americans to register and file taxes from home, and paying Uncle Sam has never been easier or cheaper. But in places such as Guatemala—where electronic governance is just now taking root and literacy, language, and gender present hurdles—the high burden of tax compliance can cause involuntary e…

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Strengthening Women’s Control Over Land: Inheritance Reform in Tunisia

Developing Alternatives

With a long record of progressive reforms stretching back to the Personal Status Code, adopted in 1957, one year after independence, Tunisia has a strong claim to be the most progressive Arab and perhaps even Muslim country in terms of women’s rights. Polygamy is illegal. There are strong laws against domestic violence. Tunisian women participat…

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The Complexity of Building a Market for Certified Seeds: A Case Study from Mozambique

Developing Alternatives

Innovations for Agribusiness (InovAgro) is the first market systems development project in Mozambique. Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and active in 11 districts in three northern provinces, the project—a private sector-led agriculture growth initiative that partners with companies seeking to engage with smallhol…

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Restoring Trust: Toward a People-Centric Security Sector in The Gambia

Developments

It’s hard to imagine that The Gambia emerged only recently from 22 years of authoritarian rule: first impressions are of a vibrant and happy nation. Surrounded by Senegal to the north, east, and south, The Gambia is known as the “smiling coast of Africa” because Gambians are said to possess a knack for putting people at ease. Now three years int…

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Extending Education Access to Vulnerable Young Salvadorans

Developments

“From better health to increased wealth, education is the catalyst of a better future for millions of children, youth, and adults. No country has ever climbed the socioeconomic development ladder without steady investments in education.”—Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO An effective education system is one of the most critical contributo…

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It’s Not Too Late to Prepare for COVID-19

Developments

A disease spillover event, when a virus moves from animal to human hosts, can cause significant human illness. The coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to have spilled over sometime in late 2019, at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, leading to more than 40,000 confirmed cases and at least 910 reported deaths by the latest count—in China and at least 25…

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Blended Finance Case Study: Gaza Industrial Estate Solar Energy Rooftop

Developments

The Gaza Industrial Estate was built to accommodate 100 industrial and commercial businesses and 5,000 workers, providing water, electricity, sewage, and so on. It has consistently operated at half capacity, in part because of a failure to maintain power. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company, the sole electricity distributor in Gaza, faces …

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Blended Finance Tools Offer a New Approach to an Old Problem

Developments

If the world were represented by 10 people in a room, seven would be of working age and six would have jobs. In Palestine, six people would be of working age and only three would have jobs. If the room were only women and girls in Palestine, only one woman in the room would have a job outside the home. Decent work is one of the Sustainable Devel…

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Q&A: Ehat Miftaraj, Anti-Corruption Expert, on the Prospect for Rule-of-Law Reform in Kosovo

Developments

A relatively young nation, Kosovo has implemented significant reforms in its justice sector, including in legislative drafting, institution building, and the training of justice sector personnel. But according to the European Commission’s Kosovo Progress Report of 2018, most Kosovars still see the judiciary in Kosovo as compromised by corruption…

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Social Protection in Somalia Can Bridge Short- and Long-Term Solutions

Developments

DAI has been working in the fragile country of Somalia since 2017 to foster a government-owned social protection system that is underpinned by donor coherence, leadership, and coordination capacities. There is an established consensus that humanitarian relief and development programming need to better coordinate and reinforce each other’s impact…

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New Research Offers Alternatives for Frontier Market Venture Capital and Private Equity

Developments

In many emerging countries, the capital markets are nascent and borrowing by government and state-owned enterprises crowds out private entities and disincentivizes banks from lending to the real economy. The funding gap is enormous. The IFC estimates that nearly 30 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face an aggregate funding gap o…

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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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