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Hidden Helpers at the Frontlines of Caregiving: Supporting the Healthy Development of Children from Military and Veteran Caregiving Homes

November 10, 2021

America's wounded, injured, or ill service members and veterans are usually cared for by the service members' or veterans' family members or friends. Research has identified that attending to the well-being of children, the "Hidden Helpers" living in these homes, was a critical next step to enhance support for military caregiving families.The return of service members who sustained or developed an illness or injury because of their military service can be disruptive for families as they learn to support them and establish new norms for operating as a family. Amid this disruption, families are often left wanting help. Caregiving consumes the time and energy of the adult caregiver, and children in many military caregiving homes consequently take on additional responsibilities—ranging from additional household chores to caregiving responsibilities for their injured or ill service member or veteran and responsibilities for siblings who would otherwise have been cared for by the adults in the home.Ultimately, children in military caregiving homes can get lost in their family's response to the needs of the care recipient. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation partnered with Mathematica to examine the impact of caregiving on children growing up in military caregiving homes to help address the national challenge of providing effective support to caregivers of all ages and backgrounds.

The Community Ecocycle in Place-Based Systems Change: A Tool for Funder and Community Reflection and Action

May 4, 2021

This tool is intended to help funders who have elected to invest in place-based systems change efforts in two ways. First, funders can use this tool to consider the dynamic, natural, and necessary developmental phases through which communities move. Second, the tool can help funders engage with communities to co-design investment approaches that better match communities' current and future assets and needs based on their developmental phase.

Investments in Implicit and Explicit Dimensions of Place-Based Systems Change: A Tool for Funder Reflection and Action

April 16, 2021

This tool is intended to help funders who have elected to invest in place-based systems change strategies assess the extent to which their strategic intent, culture, and capacity can support complementary dimensions of systems change. By using this tool, funders—and by extension the foundations within which they work—can further clarify how to focus their place-based systems change investments, leading to more coordinated, locally owned, and sustained impact. 

Changing the Principal Supervisor Role to Better Support Principals: Evidence from the Principal Supervisor Initiative

July 22, 2020

The principal supervisor job has traditionally revolved around administration, operations and compliance, but as principals have increasingly been called on in recent years to concentrate on supporting high-quality teaching, the idea of a complementary makeover of the supervisor job has gained attention. In 2014, with funding from The Wallace Foundation, six large school districts around the country embarked on a four-year, $24-million initiative to redesign the supervisor position so it focused primarily on supporting principals in their role as instructional leaders.This report, which looks at the final year and the effects of the Principal Supervisor Initiative, concludes that the effort succeeded in changing the job so that it centered on developing and evaluating principals to help them promote effective teaching and learning in their schools. Over the course of the initiative, principals' ratings of their supervisors' effectiveness rose from 3.88 to 4.10 on a scale of 1-to-5, a statistically significant increase. Principals reported greater frequency of supervisor practices to develop school leadership—such as helping principals with data analysis, providing them with useful feedback and working with them to assess teacher effectiveness.

Legacy of the MacArthur Foundation's Maternal Health Quality Care Strategy in India: Reflections and Findings form the Endline Evaluation

February 1, 2020

Throughout its engagements in India, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has focusedon building in-country capacity that supports long-lasting change and betters the health and well-beingof those in the country. As the Foundation's Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) engagementscame to a close in 2019, it considered how to leave the field and stakeholders in India poised to take onthe ongoing task of improving maternal health—a key to achieving social, financial, and physical wellbeing. Recognizing quality as the linchpin for making more progress on maternal health, the MacArthurFoundation focused its final PRH grants on improving maternal health quality of care (MHQoC) in India.This final round of funding in India supported long-standing work designed to transition the country tothe next phase and launch promising innovations. Using information collected from the final phase ofthe MHQoC strategy (April 2018 through July 2019), this report represents the culminating review of thestrategy, assesses its contributions to the quality of maternal health care, and considers the implicationsfor the future of the field. Results are presented by each of MHQoC strategy's three core substrategies:supply, demand, and advocacy.

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: 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).

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).

Evaluation and Learning for the Maternal Health Quality of Care Strategy in India: Phase II Report

February 1, 2019

For more than 20 years, we have supported work to improve population and reproductive health in India. After making significant progress in this field, particularly in the areas of maternal health and rights, we are preparing to exit the population and reproductive health field in India and are supporting a concluding round of grantmaking focused on maternal health quality of care.Through this four-year strategy, we aim to advance maternal health by supporting a shift in the field's focus from access to quality of maternal health care. To accomplish this goal, the strategy backs three main areas of work or sub strategies: strengthening the supply of quality maternal health services, building the demand for quality services through accountability mechanisms, and building an evidence base and support for maternal health quality of care. The strategy officially launched in June 2015. Our evaluation partner, Mathematica Policy Research, documented early progress of the strategy through March 2017. Building on earlier evaluations of the strategy, this document provides findings from the midline evaluation covering April 2017 to March 2018.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Transforming Health Systems Initiative: Final Evaluation

March 1, 2018

In the decade leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, health policy experts increasingly questionedthe donor community's prevailing focus on interventions targeting specific diseases, such as HIV/AIDS,tuberculosis, and malaria. Though these disease-specific interventions produced major, measureableresults, they did so at the cost of creating coordination, financial, and reporting challenges for recipientcountries which already had overstretched health systems.When The Rockefeller Foundation launched its Transforming Health Systems (THS) initiative in 2009, itcommitted itself to driving renewed attention to strengthening health systems as a whole. The Foundationbelieved that this was essential for meeting its overall commitment to equity – so that national healthsystems could provide quality care to everyone, rich and poor alike.This final evaluation – conducted by the Foundation's monitoring and evaluation grantee, MathematicaPolicy Research – assesses and documents the initiative in its entirety. It reviews the outcomes of theinitiative's global advocacy, regional networks, and country-level investments, and its overall effectivenessand influence, as well as the Foundation's legacy for advancing UHC. By sharing this evaluation report, it isthe Foundation's hope that others will join us in celebrating our successes, learning from our challenges,and building on this knowledge base to continue advancing Sustainable Development Goal 3 – healthand wellbeing for all.

Preparing Youth in Special Education for Life After High School

February 7, 2018

"Preparing for Life after High School: The Characteristics and Experiences of Youth in Special Education, Volume 3: Comparisons Over Time" presents new information on trends in the characteristics and experiences of youth in special education across the country. The report compares survey data from NLTS studies in 1987, 2003, and 2012 focusing on trends for 15- to 18-year-olds with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) overall and in each of 12 federal disability groups.

Improving Teacher Quality: Lessons Learned from Grantees of the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education

December 1, 2017

Drawn from the experiences of eight partners of the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) testing approaches to in-service teacher training in East Africa and India, the study surfaces a variety of practical lessons on how to design, implement, and scale efforts to train, motivate, and support teachers in order to improve educational outcomes. High-quality teaching is central to creating an educational environment that supports learning for all. In designing, implementing, evaluating and scaling teacher training programs as a pathway to shaping education systems, design a cost-effective model that adopts a streamlined, appropriately sequenced approach to influencing how and/or what teachers teach. Shift towards a long-term focus to improving the effectiveness of the teaching force by being intentional about whom you train, leveraging both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and engaging both government and pre-service teacher training institutions as key partners. These and other practical, cross-organizational learnings and concrete examples highlighted in the study offer concrete guidance that can be leveraged to strengthen the design, implementation, evaluation and scaling of interventions to improve the quality of teaching.