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USAID’s New Youth Policy Is Timely and Urgent: Here’s Why

November 5th, 2012
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In a piece in The Huffington Post, Bill Reese, MFAN Principal and CEO of the International Youth Foundation, applauds USAID’s new youth policy, Policy on Youth in Development. Reese highlights the policy’s efforts to elevate youth as partners and not just beneficiaries in their communities’ development process.

Reese writes:  “I frequently advocate that ensuring young people can find decent jobs or create their own livelihoods through entrepreneurship gives societies a 50-year ‘return on investment’. Those who can work their way out of poverty will gain the dignity and self confidence to be more actively engaged in their communities. As a result, they will contribute to society, both economically and civically, for decades to come, and their children will be far more likely to succeed in school and in the job market. Policy on Youth in Development buttresses this argument, by making young people’s ability to get a job and support their families a critical piece in USAID’s larger goal of boosting economic growth and reaching those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. Our foundation’s programs focus on expanding opportunities for this same under-served population. Put into practice, this strategy can turn the demographic “bulge” into a meaningful demographic “dividend.””


We ask too much of the military

November 1st, 2012
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In a new post on his “Foreign Policy” blog, The Sheathed Sword, Gordon Adams writes about the breakdown of civilian and military work—and how the U.S. increasingly relies on its military for development programs over trained development practitioners. See below for excerpts from this strong piece:

“We have a foreign assistance force; it is called the U.S. Agency for International Development, which operates with the assistance of the State Department. But over the past ten years or so, we have larded up our military with missions that USAID and State should be doing — development, governance support, social support, training for ministries, public diplomacy.”

“It is the wrong approach to assistance because, for all the vaunted Seabee capability, they are not a development force; they are not “best practiced” in development. They do not, and cannot put such construction into the context of Cambodia’s development and governance needs; they can just sweep in and “do good.” But that may have little to do with what the Cambodians actually need; Seabees have no competence in that area. As too many projects in Iraq and Afghanistan show, the short-term effort to “win hearts and minds” backfires when the schools lack teachers and material; the clinics lack doctors and medicines. In other words, the Seabees have no way to ensure the advisability or sustainability of such projects.


MFAN Network Event

October 31st, 2012
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Scaling Up Nutrition: Strengthening Institutional Capacity


Monday, November 5, 2012

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

(lunch provided)

Bread for the World Institute

425 3rd Street SW, Suite 1200 (12th floor)

Washington, DC 20024

Metro: Federal Center (Blue/Orange lines)

Please RSVP by 11/2 to:

U.S. leadership in the global movement to scale up nutrition has led to increased investments in U.S. health, food security, and nutrition programs.

We need to assess nutrition resources available to U.S. Government agencies, to implementing partners, and to country governments and civil society.  Do they have sufficient technical capacity in nutrition to “scale up” programs? How well-equipped is the U.S. government to support country-led efforts and help sustain their momentum and progress?  How can we further build our capacity?

An approach to nutrition that crosses government departments, bureaus, and offices will help strengthen U.S. programs and use our nutrition dollars as effectively as possible. Strengthened leadership and capacity helps ensure better coodination and accountability for results. Harmonized program strategy, budgets, guidance on implementation, and implementation on the ground will maximize the impact of our work on the critical problem of global malnutrition.


Robert Clay, Deputy Administrator, Global Health Bureau, USAID

Karin Lapping, Senior Director-Nutrition, Save the Children US

Leslie Elder, Senior Nutrition Specialist, Human Development Network, the World Bank

Moderated by:

George Ingram, Co-chair, Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network


Please join us and participate in this important event!


Mark Your Calendars — Week of October 29

October 26th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events:




Driving sustainable global health programs with local partners

October 25th, 2012
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See below for a guest blog from Rosemarie Muganda-Onyando, deputy country director for PATH Kenya, and Aaron Emmel, senior policy advisor at PATH. This is the sixth post in our field feedback series and the second in Save’s “Aid Reform Stories from the Field” series. Click here to read a post from Save the Children in Guatemala and MalawiWomen Thrive in Ghana, Oxfam America in Uganda, and Management Sciences for Health in Bolivia.


When Janerose Temko was five months pregnant with her third child, a PATH-supported community health worker in her village in western Kenya dropped by to talk about the importance of prenatal care. Janerose knew the woman—she was a member of her church and a trusted neighbor—so for the first time, Janerose went for checkups during her pregnancy. And when her labor started, she made her way to a community health clinic, where she delivered a healthy baby girl.

Janerose’s decision to depart from the tradition of an at-home birth and therefore improve her—and her baby’s—chance of a healthy future demonstrates the gains that can be achieved when development organizations and agencies approach global health and development in partnership with local civil society organizations and governments. By combining the personal relationships and community networks built by local organizations with the global networks and resources of international aid organizations, we are able to effectively reach individuals to help them access health services and make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

In recent years, foreign aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations have begun taking steps to more strategically engage the people who they are meant to serve as collaborators—rather than as simply beneficiaries—by giving them the opportunity to plan and execute development programs. Through these efforts, they are increasingly implementing programs based on what is commonly referred to as “country ownership” and they are having an impact.

At PATH, we integrate the country ownership approach in three ways. First, we ensure that key local and national stakeholders are involved in the planning, implementation, and execution of health programs. Second, we help donors to coordinate their aid around current national strategies. And finally, we help ensure that local and national policymakers have the information they need to make the best decisions for their country’s future.

In western Kenya, for example, PATH works closely with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners to actively engage the ministry of health at all levels through the USAID-supported program AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance Plus project, known as APHIAplus. The program involves the government of Kenya, civil society, and community level structures. One of the greatest contributions is the increased support from international donors for the government of Kenya’s Community Health Strategy, through which millions of people like Janerose are reached with information, mobilized, and linked with essential health services.

By supporting capacity-building at the local and national levels, donors not only promote sustainable programs, but they also put greater responsibility on local communities and governments for their own country’s health. This approach seems to be paying off. The results of a 2012 survey by InterAction, the largest alliance of US-based international nongovernmental organizations, suggest that the US government’s activities are increasingly felt on the ground: local organizations and local staff of international nongovernmental organizations are at the forefront of program planning and implementation, and they see their own governments taking more ownership of national health plans. Our PATH colleagues in Kenya also say that they have seen their government become more deeply involved in development efforts, especially through APHIAplus.

Country ownership remains a guiding principle of USAID’s Global Health Strategic Framework FY2012–FY2016, and has been incorporated into both country programs and the new Office of Country Support that USAID announced as part of its Global Health Bureau reorganization in September. PATH commends USAID for making country ownership a priority, and helping to lead the field into a future built on greater partnership through foreign assistance.

When country stakeholders are heavily involved in the planning and implementation processes, projects are more likely to be sustainable—because they are built to fit within the local cultures and infrastructure—and have a greater impact. Through these efforts, we hope more community health workers and other local practitioners are able to reach more people like Janerose, who said that if she has another child, she will go to a health facility again.