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The Unfreedom Monitor: A Methodology for Tracking Digital Authoritarianism Around the World

April 1, 2022

Digital communications technologies have been a powerful tool in the advancement of democratic governance, but in recent years there is concern that they are being used to undermine democracy as well. The Unfreedom Monitor, part of Global Voices' Advox project, aims to study and report on this growing phenomenon. This briefing document provides an overview of key developments in digital authoritarianism in a sample of 10 countries, while explaining the theoretical framework and methodology behind the project. The document also provides a basis for expanding this research to other countries so we can deepen our understanding of digital authoritarianism globally as well as its crucial implications for the future.

Sexual Harassment in the Media – Africa Report

July 12, 2021

In 2020, WAN-IFRA Women in News (WIN), in partnership with City, University of London,  set out to establish the extent of sexual harassment in news organisations and to gauge their effectiveness in managing it. The research project focused on regions where WIN operates: Africa, the Arab region, Southeast Asia and Russia. In addition, a survey of Central America will begin soon.This report is a summary of its findings in Africa. The project included an online survey and interviews. Some 584 media professionals completed the online survey. They were from eight countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The overall tally includes eight responses from within Africa that were outside the focus countries. WIN conducted supplementary interviews with 32 media executives from those countries.

Understanding the Barriers to Girls' School Return: Girls' Voices from the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic in East Africa

May 30, 2021

From October 2020 - March 2021, AMPLIFY Girls, undertook a multi-country qualitative research study to ask girls why they were dropping out of school and their recommendations to get young women back to school and back on track.The results are painful but important.At the highest level, our findings suggest that pregnancy is the primary driver of girls' dropout from school during the pandemic, but that pregnancy is a symptom of underlying, acute, economic vulnerabilities and is augmented by situations of social and physical isolation that are often mutually reinforcing. The overwhelming majority of FGD participants cited transactional sex for basic goods (such as food, clothing, and menstrual hygiene products) as the primary cause of unintended pregnancies in their communities. Accordingly, we found that economic precarity leading to transactional sex and unintended pregnancies was the most common pathway leading to girls' dropout. Our research also suggests that the social stigma surrounding teen pregnancy and motherhood is the single biggest factor keeping girls from returning to school post-pandemic.AMPLIFY Girls has recommendations for the world. They center around community-driven organizations and the incredible work they are doing in communities for girls and their families.

Learning Through Play: Increasing impact, Reducing inequality

January 1, 2021

What is the potential of children's play to promote equality in outcomes and address learning gaps between children from more advantaged and less advantaged backgrounds? Drawing evidence from early childhood learning programmes across 18 countries, as well as from interviews with the authors of various contributing studies, this report aims to understand whether and how the evidence about play and learning relates to tackling the learning crisis, especially in terms of inequality in learning outcomes around the globe.This report published by the LEGO Foundation shows that play not only helps children learn, it also supports inclusion, and reduces inequality, therefore demonstrating that policymakers and international organisations need to pay close attention to play. Building on their findings, the authors suggest four areas for future investment, innovation and investigation.

Amplifying Voices: Decade Edition 2005–2015

January 22, 2020

This is a special edition of Amplifying Voices that includes highlights of the Open Society Initiative for East Africa's work from 2005 to 2015. Amplifying Voices documents different journeys the foundation has traveled with its partners since its launch in 2005 and the collective efforts to realize human rights and freedoms for all.Amplifying Voices pays particular attention to those on the margins of society, including stories of working on the forced sterilization of HIV-positive women or those with mental health illnesses, promoting the rights of sex workers, or addressing the question of human rights and counterterrorism.The Open Society Initiative for East Africa started as a one-program initiative in 2005 in Kenya and today has grown to include eight programs in the region. Geographically, the foundation now works in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Sudan. It addresses issues including health and rights, disability rights, and food security.

Building Youth Life Skills: Lessons Learned on How to Design, Implement, Assess, and Scale Successful Programming

June 27, 2019

There is growing recognition that youth need more than formal or vocational education to thrive in school, work, and life. They also need life skills - a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. To leverage the growing momentum and give youth access to these vital tools for success, the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) supports grantee partners testing diverse approaches to strengthening life skills. The PSIPSE commissioned an in-depth study of 18 projects in 7 countries, uncovering actionable lessons on how to design, implement, assess, and scale youth life skills programming in low- and middle-income countries. The study is intended for practitioners and government officials interested in building, improving, and expanding work around life skills, as well as donors looking to advance this field and provide useful guidance to their grantees.

Building Youth Life Skills: 8 Tips for Practitioners

June 27, 2019

There is growing recognition that youth need more than academic knowledge to transition successfully into employment and adulthood (Dupuy et al. 2018). They also need "life skills," a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can enhance young people's agency and resilience, improve their psychosocial well-being, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018; OECD 2018, Kautz et al. 2014). The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a donor collaborative, has invested in 18 projects to strengthen life skills in young people. This brief offers eight lessons based on the experiences of these projects—on the design, delivery, measurement, and scale-up of youth life skills programming in lowand middle-income countries (LMICs).

Building Youth Life Skills: 6 Lessons for Government Officials

June 27, 2019

There is growing recognition that youth need more than academic knowledge and technical expertise to transition successfully into employment and adulthood (Dupuy et al. 2018). They also need "life skills," a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can enhance young people's agency and resilience, improve their psychosocial well-being, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018; OECD 2018; Kautz et al. 2014). The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a donor collaborative, has invested in 18 projects that focus on developing life skills among youth (see left). Mathematica, the PSIPSE's learning partner, recently conducted an in-depth study of these projects. The study used interviews with implementing organizations, an extensive review of project documents and evaluation reports, and high-level literature and landscape scans to examine project experiences, set them in context, and draw out lessons for a range of stakeholders. This brief summarizes the lessons for government officials—on how to successfully devise, roll out, scale, and strengthen life skills policies for youth in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Partnering to Realize the Girl Effect: Learnings from a Decade of Delivering for Girls

June 15, 2019

This report summarizes learnings from more than a decade of work, including more than $132 million in investments in more than 80 countries via a network of 140 organizations, occurring between 2004 and 2017. It is the culmination of a review of program reports and evaluations from more than 280 grants and initiatives, as well as interviews with current and former NoVo Foundation and Nike Foundation staff and partners.Our goal was to share lessons and insights that might be useful for others. This document is not a field guide for implementing specific programs, but rather a collection of learnings to inform program design.

Equitable Financing of Secondary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

February 1, 2019

This report considers key trends in secondary education in particularly with respect to enrollment and domestic and aid financing from an equity perspective.  While many national governments and international donors have shifted their spending from primary to secondary education since the early 2000's, it is evident that unfinished business remains in regards to primary education, with the poorest and most disadvantaged still unlikely to complete the full cycle of primary education. Even when they do, many are not learning the basics, and their chances of transitioning into secondary education is much lower then their more advantaged counterparts. In order for countries to achieve the SDG4 targets by 2030, the way in which governments and international donors disburse their resources will have a huge bearing on countries being on track to ensure no one is left behind. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Post-Emergency Contexts: A study on establishing sustainable service delivery models

December 4, 2018

Large-scale and complex emergencies often occur in countries where government institutions have weak coping capacity. They may struggle to deliver essential services routinely, even in non-emergency situations. This has serious implications for the way in which emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services are managed long-term and in the transition from emergency to post-emergency situations.UNHCR and Oxfam commissioned a study to understand more about how emergency WASH services are delivered, and to identify how the provision of infrastructure can lead to sustainable service delivery and a more professional management mechanism. As many humanitarian crises are protracted in nature, emergency WASH services need to be sustained once humanitarian agencies depart. This report aims to review and identify alternative service delivery options, and to provide some pragmatic guidance that can be incorporated into emergency response programmes and tested, evaluated and built on in the future.

Targeting Scholarships and Cash Transfers for Secondary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

November 1, 2018

This background paper considers the evidence on whether and how more targeted approaches to subsiding secondary school costs are possible. Examples often focus on ones that relate to cost reductions through social protection programmes such as scholarships or Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) that aim to increase enrolment and retention in school (Petrosino, Morgan, Fronius, Tanner-Smith & Boruch, 2012). Such interventions on their own are unlikely to improve learning outcomes, and so need to be accompanied by strategies to promote inclusive, quality of education (Sabates et al., 2018). There is a wide variety of evidence on cost-reduction programmes, with rigorous evidence of the impacts on education. Specifically, this report focuses on evidence on education scholarships (including stipends and fee elimination), and conditional cash transfers. Examples are provided from Sub-Saharan Africa where available, complemented with ones from other low- and middle-income countries where such programmes have often been more prevalent.