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Empowering Frontline Staff to Enable the Participation of Crisis-Affected People: Learning Report

April 19, 2023

Frontline staff play a critical role in enabling the participation of crisis-affected people in the design and delivery of humanitarian assistance. They are frequently described as the 'bridge' between the organization and the communities they serve, helping to build understanding, trust, and safe access.In response to the global humanitarian community's recognition that we have made limited progress on accountability to affected populations (AAP), the BHA-funded Empower to Enable project aims to share knowledge and create practical solutions that will advance our commitments to AAP by more effectively utilizing frontline staff to enable the participation of crisis-affected people.The Empower to Enable project has produced a Learning Report that offers insight into some of the factors that empower frontline staff to enable the participation of crisis- affected people; the barriers that limit their potential; and changes that humanitarian organizations can make to better support their frontline staff to enable the participation of crisis-affected people.

Youth in Extension and Advisory Services: Rwanda. Developing Local Extension Capacity Project

August 1, 2019

The overall objective of this youth in extension diagnostic study is to design a pilot engagement in Rwanda to support and strengthen the inclusion of youth in extension – both as providers and recipients of extension services –as a mechanism to both improve the economic opportunities and livelihoods of youth and increase the effectiveness of extension and advisory service systems.In Phase 1, DLEC engaged with USAID country missions that identified engaging youth in agricultural extension as a strategic priority for economic growth and investment. DLEC then identified several countries in which there was buy-in and support from USAID missions to conduct a diagnostic to develop concrete recommendations for a youth-focused engagement. These countries included Guatemala, Niger and Rwanda.For Phase 2, the output is this report. DLEC conducted a landscape analysis, employing a local systems approach and utilize USAID's "5Rs Framework" (Gray et al., 2018) to analyze the roles of certain actors that form a network of relationships whose interactions depend on resources and produce results for youth in EAS. The process of transforming resources into results via interactions of system actors is governed by rules.Methodologies for obtaining the information for this report included: A literature review, key informant interviews, and field and site visits to view programs and talk to stakeholders. Key informants included USAID country partners, government agencies, private sector and civil society that focus on youth in extension. USAID Mission representatives were interviewed to understand Mission priorities for current projects and the Mission country development cooperation strategy (CDCS) as they relate to youth engagement in extension and ongoing or planned programs addressing youth in extension. The report is not meant to give an account of all initiatives in youth and agricultural extension but rather to present a sample of such initiatives, including ones from all the main different types of actors: donor-funded projects, government agencies, educational institutions, international organizations, national and local NGOs, producer organizations and the private sector. 

Small Water Enterprises: Providing Safe Drinking Water for Resilient Cities Report

August 1, 2018

Safe Water Network India (SWNI) has written this report in collaboration with its knowledge partner The NationalInstitute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), both partners of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) WASH Alliance. This report summarizes the key outputs from a three-year partnership between Safe Water Network India (SWNI) and USAID during the period 2014-2017. The outputs included seven reports ("Drinking Water Supply for Urban Poor: Role of Urban Small Water Enterprises," October 2016; four city reports: Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, 2016; "Policy and Enabling Environment," September 2017; and "Performance Standards" ), as well as the development of Digital Tools.This report, developed after the conclusion of the grant project period, seeks to advance the findings of the above body of work to respond to the urgent and increasing need to provide safe drinking water to India's water-stressed cities. It recommends including small water enterprises (SWEs) in city planning for the creation of resilient cities. It also highlights the benefits and potential of expanding the SWE category in the urban environment, and recommends enhanced collaboration and partnerships between the government and the private sector to achieve this objective.Beginning by introducing the urban slum landscape and the existing water supply scenario for its inhabitants, the report goes on to describe how urban small water enterprises (USWEs) can provide a viable and sustainable complementary solution to the government's piped-water efforts to meet the needs of the urban poor and support the transformation of safe-water-stressed cities into resilient cities. It further outlines the requirements to enable USWEs to meet the needs of the urban poor by creating a more conducive environment and a regulatory framework for the advancement of USWEs.

Scaling Market-Based Sanitation: Desk Review on Market-Based Rural Sanitation Development Programs

June 11, 2018

This desk review from the USAID/WASHPaLS project investigates the current state of knowledge in market-based sanitation (MBS) and establishes a framework to analyze, design, and improve MBS interventions. This report is based on a survey of approximately 600 documents on MBS, in-depth research into 13 MBS intervention case studies across the global south, and interviews with sector experts and program personnel.This review offers a framework that draws upon and contributes to existing evidence across the three crucial challenges to scaling MBS—appropriate product and business model choices, viability of sanitation enterprises, and difficulty of unlocking public and private financing for sanitation. It also helps funders and implementers design, analyze, and improve MBS interventions and offers guidance for stakeholders and governments interested in using sanitation markets to expand sanitation coverage and reduce open defecation. In addition, this review highlights the larger contextual parameters that determine the applicability of MBS within a given market. 

Water Security Planning

January 9, 2018

Water Security Planning is the third in a series of six toolkits from the Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP).  It provides a brief introduction to water security, as well as a detailed walkthrough of SWP's five-step Water Security Improvement (WSI) process. The toolkit helps users to identify, define, evaluate, and choose water security activities  based on several key areas, such as mitigation of targeted priority water risks, accounting for positive and negative impacts and externalities, socio-economic and environmental impacts, and direct and indirect costs.

Water Security Implementation

January 1, 2018

The success of a WSI process depends on the implementation of activities or measures defined through collaborative planning and decision-making with the purpose of addressing and mitigating priority water risks now and in the future. Implementation produces tangible results that improve water security; builds capacity and teamwork through participation; and anchors water security planning and decision-making in knowledge and evidence of what works.Key considerations for implementing water security actions embrace and reinforce principles and themes of the entire WSI process. These include delivering "quick wins" and early results; effective communications and adaptive management; accountability by mobilizing promised resources and fulfilling responsibilities defined in action plans; and complying with regulations. A wide range of tangible actions and measures can improve water security. These can be broadly listed under four categories: gray as well as green infrastructure; policy, regulatory, and institutional measures; and social and behavioral change measures.

Theories of Democratic Change Phase II: Paths Away from Authoritarianism - DRG Center Working Paper

December 12, 2017

Despite the global spread of democracy following the end of the Cold War, dictatorships still rule about one-third of the world's countries. The persistence of authoritarian governments poses a challenge for the international community on a variety of fronts: dictatorships are more likely to repress their citizens, instigate wars, and perpetrate mass killing, among others. This challenge is even more pressing given the gradual decline in the number of democracies worldwide over the last decade. Practitioners confront critical questions about which strategies are likely to pave the way for democratization versus which are likely to stifle it.

State of Urban Water and Sanitation in India

October 1, 2017

The report aims to be a comprehensive collection and analysis of past and current policies and programmes and provides insights into the reasons for several gaps that become apparent when the sector is viewed holistically. The extensive review of international, national, and state-level reports draws upon a rich collection of secondary literature. 

Grassroots Reform in the Global South (2017)

September 21, 2017

In 2016, USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance launched its Learning Agenda—a set of research questions designed to address the issues that confront staff in USAID field offices working on the intersection of development and democracy, human rights, and governance. This literature review—produced by a team of sociologists and political scientists—synthesizes scholarship from diverse research traditions on the following Learning Agenda question:How and when does grassroots reform scale up? When citizen participation has led to local reforms in a particular sector (e.g., health), what processes lead to these reforms' influencing the regional or national levels of that sector (e.g., citizen groups monitoring medicine supplies in local clinics leads eventually to pharmaceutical procurement reform in the Ministry of Health)?The report itself is divided into four principal sections:Section 1 outlines the context for the report by discussing the importance of grassroots reform, defining key terms, and describing its methodology.Section 2 documents the experiences of different regions with an eye toward intra-regional comparisons.Section 3 distills two types of lessons from the regional experiences: relatively abstract lessons of broad relevance and relatively precise lessons of less general relevance.Section 4 discusses the translation of the authors' findings into actionable lessons and concludes by discussing the limits to their knowledge base, pending research questions, and methodological impediments to their resolution.

Election Forensics Toolkit and Guide (2017)

July 28, 2017

There is an acute need for methods of detecting and investigating fraud in elections, because the consequences of electoral fraud are grave for democratic stability and quality. When the electoral process is compromised by fraud, intimidation, or even violence, elections can become corrosive and destabilizing—sapping support for democratic institutions; inflaming suspicion; and stimulating demand for extra-constitutional means of pursuing political agendas, including violence. Accurate information about irregularities can help separate false accusations from evidence of electoral malfeasance. Accurate information about the scope of irregularities can also provide a better gauge of election quality. Finally, accurate information about the geographic location of malfeasance—the locations where irregularities occurred and how they cluster—can allow election monitors and pro-democracy organizations to focus attention and resources more efficiently and to substantiate their assessments of electoral quality.Election forensics is an emerging field in which scholars use a diverse set of statistical tools—including techniques similar to those developed to detect financial fraud—to analyze numerical electoral data and detect where patterns deviate from those that should occur naturally, following demonstrated mathematical principles. Numbers that humans have manipulated present patterns that are unlikely to occur if produced by a natural process—such as free and fair elections or normal commercial transactions. These deviations suggest either that the numbers were intentionally altered or that other factors—such as a range of normal strategic voting practices—influenced the electoral results. The greater the number of statistical tests that identify patterns that deviate from what is expected to naturally occur, the more likely that the deviation results from fraud rather than legal strategic voting.Through a Research and Innovation Grant funded by USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from the University of Michigan, led by Professors Walter Mebane and Allen Hicken, built an innovative online tool, the Election Forensics Toolkit, that allows researchers and practitioners to conduct complex statistical analysis on detailed, localized data produced through the electoral process. The Election Forensics Toolkit presents results in a variety of ways—including detailed country maps showing "hot spots" of potential fraud—that allow practitioners not only to see where electoral fraud may have occurred but also the probability that the disturbances in the election data that the statistical analyses detect are attributable to fraud, rather than to other cultural or political influences, such as gerrymandering or geographic distribution of voting constituencies, among others.The team also produced two publications under the DFG grant: a Guide to Election Forensics and a more detailed Elections Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper. The Guide provides a more general introduction to election forensics as a field, and the DRG Center Working Paper focuses on presenting in detail the results of applying election forensics to specific elections in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Uganda

Election Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper

July 28, 2017

There is an acute need for methods of detecting and investigating fraud in elections, because the consequences of electoral fraud are grave for democratic stability and quality. When the electoral process is compromised by fraud, intimidation, or even violence, elections can become corrosive and destabilizing—sapping support for democratic institutions; inflaming suspicion; and stimulating demand for extra-constitutional means of pursuing political agendas, including violence. Accurate information about irregularities can help separate false accusations from evidence of electoral malfeasance. Accurate information about the scope of irregularities can also provide a better gauge of election quality. Finally, accurate information about the geographic location of malfeasance—the locations where irregularities occurred and how they cluster—can allow election monitors and pro-democracy organizations to focus attention and resources more efficiently and to substantiate their assessments of electoral quality.Election forensics is an emerging field in which scholars use a diverse set of statistical tools—including techniques similar to those developed to detect financial fraud—to analyze numerical electoral data and detect where patterns deviate from those that should occur naturally, following demonstrated mathematical principles. Numbers that humans have manipulated present patterns that are unlikely to occur if produced by a natural process—such as free and fair elections or normal commercial transactions. These deviations suggest either that the numbers were intentionally altered or that other factors—such as a range of normal strategic voting practices—influenced the electoral results. The greater the number of statistical tests that identify patterns that deviate from what is expected to naturally occur, the more likely that the deviation results from fraud rather than legal strategic voting.Through a Research and Innovation Grant funded by USAID's Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from the University of Michigan, led by Professors Walter Mebane and Allen Hicken, built an innovative online tool, the Election Forensics Toolkit, that allows researchers and practitioners to conduct complex statistical analysis on detailed, localized data produced through the electoral process. The Election Forensics Toolkit presents results in a variety of ways—including detailed country maps showing "hot spots" of potential fraud—that allow practitioners not only to see where electoral fraud may have occurred but also the probability that the disturbances in the election data that the statistical analyses detect are attributable to fraud, rather than to other cultural or political influences, such as gerrymandering or geographic distribution of voting constituencies, among others.The team also produced two publications under the DFG grant: a Guide to Election Forensics and a more detailed Elections Forensics Toolkit DRG Center Working Paper. The Guide provides a more general introduction to election forensics as a field, and the DRG Center Working Paper focuses on presenting in detail the results of applying election forensics to specific elections in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Uganda

Civil Society Organization Sustainability in Kenya

June 14, 2017

The design and development of this study emerged as the result of an action research partnership between Brad Tucker of Washington University in St. Louis and the Aga Khan Foundation East Africa's Yetu Initiative. Consultations between study collaborators led to the following observations: 1) The conceptualization and the study of organizational sustainability and effectiveness (OS/OE) – both in scholarship and in practice – are fragmented and, while emphasizing the critical importance of context, do not explain how context impacts sustainability. 2) Existing conceptualizations of OS/OE lack the perspectives of key stakeholders – namely the management and staff of the local NPOs themselves. 3) There is a considerable disconnect between the level of investment in organizational development (through international funding and capacity building) and the expected level of return (in the form of enhanced organizational performance/effectiveness) of that investment. 4) There seems to be an increasing belief in the potential of community philanthropy/local fundraising to enhance organizational sustainability/effectiveness of local nonprofits even in the often resource-constrained countries of the Global South. These four observations gave rise to several questions this study was designed to address. Kenya was chosen as the specific context in which to address these questions due to the ongoing work of the Yetu Initiative as well as the primary investigator's previous work experience and contacts there.