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Municipal Bank of LA: Democratic Governance Frameworks

May 11, 2023

This briefing explores how a municipally-owned financial institution could directly incorporate citizens' input into investment decisions.Noting Los Angeles's historical inequalities, the briefing highlights the need for a direct public voice in the day-to-day governance of a public financial institution. In describing the shortcomings of elections, public comment, and other well-established modes of democratic practice, the briefing makes the case for the use of deliberative democracy or decisions taken by randomly-selected groups of citizens to fill this need.Using contemporary and historical examples of deliberative democracy from Paris, East Belgium, Bogotá, and Ancient Rome, the briefing goes on to propose a new governing architecture for a bank in which key governance functions are performed by these citizens' panels.

The Relationship Between Caring Teachers and the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students

May 10, 2023

Schools and the professionals who work within them play key roles in the lives of LGBTQ young people. Teachers, professors, and school counselors are important sources of information, support, and care for LGBTQ students, especially in the absence of support from their families or local communities. LGBTQ students who  identified a greater number of supportive school staff reported higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of depression, and lower rates of having seriously considered suicide in the past year (Kosciw et al., 2022). Among LGBQ students, having caring teachers is associated with lower levels of negative mental health symptoms (Parmar et al., 2022). Using data from The Trevor Project's 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People, this brief examines the relationships between caring teachers and student mental health, including transgender and nonbinary students, as well as demographic differences in LGBTQ young people's access to caring relationships in schools. This brief additionally investigates rates of LGBTQ young people who report learning about LGBTQ topics from school staff and associations between learning about LGBTQ topics and mental health. 

Improving gender data to leave no one behind

May 2, 2023

Development Initiatives (DI) works with partners and allies to strengthen the quality and use of data and evidence that can inform decision-making to tackle poverty and inequality in all its forms. We have conducted several independent projects focusing on gender data and this briefing presents key challenges we have encountered in that process alongside opportunities we have identified to improve the gender data landscape. Strengthening this landscape is an intentional focus of DI's work going forwards, supporting the use of robust evidence to understand and reduce gender inequalities.Gender data is:Collected and presented by sex and/or gender as a primary and overall classification, allowing inequalities between different genders to be identified.Reflective of gender issues, including, for example, gender-specific healthcare needs, gender-based violence (GBV), and gendered economic and political participation.Based on concepts and definitions that adequately reflect the diversity of people of different gender identities and capture important aspects of their lives.Developed through collection methods that recognise how stereotypes and social and cultural factors may introduce gender bias in the data.DI's definition of gender data is adapted from the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) and Data2X to include the representation of individuals of all gender identities.

Middle Eastern and Northern African LGBTQ Young People

April 20, 2023

LGBTQ young people are more likely to report mental health concerns – including  depression, anxiety, and suicidality – in comparison to their straight and cisgender peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020). These reports are often due to minority stress experiences, such as identity-related discrimination and victimization, rather than simply being LGBTQ (Meyer, 2003). After a call for intersectional research on health disparities by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 2015), some research has begun to illuminate the impact of having multiple marginalized identities (e.g., being LGBTQ and a person of color) on mental health outcomes (Cyrus, 2017). However, very little research has explored the mental health of Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) LGBTQ young people (Hayek et al., 2022). Despite representing over 20 countries and being considered non-White by the majority of other Western countries (Maghbouleh et al., 2022), MENA people have historically been considered both a monolithic population in the United States (U.S.) and White by the U.S. Census (Abboud et al., 2019). Thus, little research has explored the mental health of MENA people, as they are often combined with White people in literature. However, a systematic review found that MENA LGBTQ people frequently report symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and substance misuse, which is often tied to societal and cultural stressors that are unique to MENA people, such as a lack of sexual health awareness and anti-LGBTQ stigma and persecution (Hayek et al., 2022). Specific to young people, research by GLSEN suggests that MENA LGBTQ young people experience higher rates of school-based victimization than their non-MENA peers, which is related to depressive symptoms and poor self-esteem (Truong & Kosciw, 2022). Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief will be one of the first to exclusively explore the mental health of MENA LGBTQ young people, separately from White LGBTQ young people.

Promoviendo mejores condiciones para las donaciones transfonterizas

April 11, 2023

Recibir y usar fondos es el medio para que la sociedad civil opere e implemente actividades hacia un mundo más justo, inclusivo y sostenible. La filantropía independiente y habilitada, por lo tanto, es fundamental para el apoyo al papel de la sociedad civil en el ecosistema social y democrático de cualquier país.Sin embargo, están aumentando las restricciones a las donaciones transfronterizas que apoyan a la sociedad civil local y la creación de ecosistemas filantrópicos. Estas restricciones representan obstáculos importantes para la filantropía en todo el mundo.Este documento de política de WINGS proporciona recomendaciones a los gobiernos y las autoridades financieras sobre cómo pueden promover la reforma política de las regulaciones que actualmente desincentivan o prohíben la colaboración transfronteriza entre entidades filantrópicas en todo el mundo.English:

Encourager les dons transfrontaliers

April 11, 2023

Recevoir et utiliser des financements est le moyen pour la société civile d'opérer et de mettre en œuvre des activités vers un monde plus juste, inclusif et durable. La philanthropie indépendante et autorisée est donc essentielle au soutien du rôle de la société civile dans l'écosystème social et démocratique de tout pays.Cependant, les restrictions sur les dons transfrontaliers qui soutiennent la société civile locale et la construction d'un écosystème philanthropique se multiplient. Ces restrictions représentent des obstacles majeurs à la philanthropie dans le monde.Ce document politique de WINGS fournit des recommandations aux gouvernements et aux autorités financières sur la manière dont ils peuvent promouvoir une réforme politique des réglementations qui découragent ou interdisent actuellement la collaboration transfrontalière entre les entités philanthropiques du monde entier.English:  

The Next Reconstruction: Examining the Call for a National Reparations Program

March 30, 2023

In this brief, we examine the evolution of reparations proposals in the United States, connect a national reparations program to the United Nations' international human rights standards around reparations, and discuss the potential of a national reparations program to close long-standing racial gaps in wealth, housing, education, criminal justice, and other areas. We focus in part on the reparations commission proposed by H.R. 40, the most comprehensive reparations legislation in US history. We also make recommendations for strengthening the research and policy-development infrastructure for reparations.We argue that in addition to compensation for past harms, conceptualizations of reparations should involve looking at present practices, policies, and barriers to economic security and wealth building for Black Americans. We can account for historical injustices and prioritize how they have contributed to and exacerbated present inequalities while considering how current policies continue to exacerbate and reproduce those inequalities.In addition to exploring early reparations efforts in the United States, we review selected policy proposals that have involved efforts to make progress on reparations for Black Americans, analyze the current reparations policy landscape, and recommend ways researchers can identify approaches to make reparations effective at eliminating key racial gaps for Black Americans. This research can inform policy discussions and analyses of reparations, especially as governments continue to explore them.

Age of Gender Identity Outness and Suicide Risk

March 29, 2023

"Coming out" is everyday language for the process of sharing one's sexual orientation or gender identity with other people. The decision of when and how to come out – or not – is deeply personal, and can change over the course of an individual's lifetime. For transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) individuals, sharing the details of one's gender identity or history with friends, family, and acquaintances can be complex. On a basic level, TGNB people do not always have the option to come out to others — sometimes they are forcibly outed by their documentation, medical records, or physical appearance (Beemyn & Bauer, 2015). TGNB people may also only be out about their gender identity in certain spaces or spheres of their life where they feel safe being open with others (Klein et al., 2015). While little research has specifically examined gender identity outness, outness of ones' LGBTQ identity more broadly is associated with mixed mental health outcomes among young people. Sexual orientation outness is associated with high levels of suicide risk among LGBTQ young people, despite society becoming more LGBTQ-affirming over time (Meyer et al., 2021). This is likely due to increased exposure to anti-LGBTQ language, discrimination, and violence after one comes out as LGBTQ. Indeed, LGBTQ young people who are more out about their sexual orientation report higher levels of victimization in school, compared to their peers who are less out (Kosciw et al., 2015; Poteat et al., 2022). Furthermore, given that coming out earlier places young people at greater risk for anti-LGBTQ victimization, it has therefore been  associated with increased risk for suicide, as documented in our previous research brief, "Age of Sexual Orientation Outness and Suicide Risk". However, being out about one's LGBTQ identity can also be protective, as LGBTQ young people with higher levels of outness also report higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression (Kosciw et al., 2015). It is unclear if similar findings hold true for TGNB young people coming out about their gender identity. Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief examines the association between a TGNB young person's age of coming out about their gender identity and suicide risk.

“It’s Not For Us”: Understanding How Meta-Oppression Influences Black Americans’ Experiences with the Credit System

March 23, 2023

For many Black Americans the doors to critical wealth-building tools that easily open for their white counterparts are locked or obstructed because of centuries-long discriminatory policies and practices. Without these same opportunities, Black Americans are often left behind, perpetually playing against a stacked deck.Structural racism not only shapes the outcomes that people experience in all sectors of life, but it also has psychological effects on what Black Americans think is possible. This psychological stress from dealing with persistent structural racism across society is called meta-oppression, a concept developed by Dr. Jacqueline Scott.Through a study of Black Chicago residents' experiences with the credit system, we found that Black Americans internalized feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and despair, all of which hindered their willingness to further engage with the credit system. By illuminating the diverse effects of structural racism on the lives of Black Americans, we hope to reveal key opportunities for policy and practice to interrupt meta-oppression and advance racial equity across society.

Level Up: Leveraging Explicit Value for Every Black Learner, Unapologetically

March 22, 2023

Education is one of the strongest vehicles to economic prosperity and overall increased quality of life; even so its structure is riddled with unaddressed systemic barriers that data show most harshly implicates Black learners. To address this requires a holistic approach driven by acknowledgement and understanding that the current structures in place are not serving Black learners well.Alarmingly, over the last 20 years, the nation has lost 300,000 Black learners from the community college system, with participation rates among Black students lower today than they were 20 years ago — a documented and drastic decline in access and enrollment long before the wide-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. When looking across all sectors roughly 600,000 Black learners have disappeared from American higher education's great "open door."Clearly, this decline is not occurring because Black learners are choosing to pursue other postsecondary options. Nor are Black learners opting to enter the workforce for "good" jobs. The decline is also not because the Black population is shrinking. In fact, the Black young adult population (18-34 years old) has steadily grown since 2000. The value proposition of postsecondary education is increasingly murky for Black learners — both in Black learner perception and societal reality.To be clear, the onus is not on Black learners. State and federal institutions and policymakers at all levels have a responsibility to ensure that places of higher education are accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of a student's race or background. Black learners must have postsecondary options that ensure the value proposition of higher education for them. Delivering on this overdue right requires mobilizing core commitments with shared ownership among federal and state policymakers; local communities and their community colleges and other institutions of higher education; and philanthropic champions.Realizing these commitments represents the cornerstone of a new, equitable foundation for Black learner excellence in higher education and beyond.

Donor approaches to overheads for local and national partners

March 9, 2023

Ensuring that local and national actors can access overheads has become a key focus for humanitarian reform efforts over the past year. Locally-led humanitarian response is more effective, more efficient and improves accountability to, and participation of, those most affected by crisis. Overheads – also referred to in this paper as 'indirect costs' or indirect cost recovery (ICR) (see Appendix 2: What are 'indirect costs' or 'overheads'?) – are critical for building the organisational capacity, sustainability and preparedness of frontline responders. By not providing overheads, the international aid system – including donors, UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) – is not adequately supporting local actors to meet the growing complexity of humanitarian response, including in situations of protracted crises where communities face intersecting risks.Many international organisations with an intermediary role[1] and donors are now in the process of reflecting critically on their own practice amid changing industry standards. To support this reform process, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) published Guidance on the Provision of Overheads to Local and National Partners in November 2022.[2] The Guidance was informed by research carried out by Development Initiatives (DI) with UNICEF and Oxfam, which mapped the current practices of intermediary organisations and identified examples of good practice from the perspective of local actors.[3] Implementation of the Guidance is being supported by the IASC Task Force 5 on Localisation. Within the Grand Bargain, the caucus on funding for localisation is also addressing the issue of overheads for local actors in early 2023.[4] This follows the outcome document of the caucus on the role of intermediaries (at the time for writing endorsed by 26 Grand Bargain signatories), which included a commitment from members to allocate overhead costs to local and national actors.[5]This paper, produced by DI in partnership with UNICEF, aims to support these ongoing discussions by summarising donors' current indirect cost policies and perspectives on the issue of overhead allocation to local actors, as well as setting out various opportunities and barriers to change identified by donors. This builds on, and is designed to complement, the previous mapping of intermediary practices and is based on interviews with 12 government donor representatives. To benefit from learning from private philanthropy on this issue, representatives from three private foundations were also interviewed. Interviews took place between October 2022 and January 2023.

Rapid Needs Assessment Report for Medical Devices in Healthcare Facilities (North-West Syria)

March 9, 2023

The recent devastating earthquakes in NW Syria, occurring after more than a dozen years of civil war, have left the healthcare system overwhelmed and in desperate need of repair. To determine the feasibility of intervention to assess, maintain and repair medical devices at regional and hospital levels, a rapid field assessment was conducted in NW Syria by Field Ready Türkiye's between 12th and 18th of February 2023. Having worked in that part of Syria since 2017, Field Ready carried out interviews, group discussions and carried out surveys and site visits to nine (9) hospitals. The main takeaways are that poor supply chains and the inability to replace parts have significantly reduce healthcare delivery and Field Ready can play a critical role in addressing the situation.