Getting to “@” — Case Study of Corporate Advocacy for Email Standards

It’s hard for some of us to remember a time before email. Email has actually been around for a long time, but in the early days it was not generally based on the internet standards. Each dial-up network (AOL, MCIMail, Compuserve, ATTMail, Envoy100  and individual Unix computer networks) had its own system of addressing, and these did not talk to one another. If you wanted to reach a Compuserve email box you needed to use a Compuserve account, and use an address like 12345.678. MCI preferred numbers that looked like phone numbers. There were also standards like Novell MHS and UUCP that exchanged mail between local networks – but not to each other. What was missing was a single, universal standard – a “business card” standard that will allow one to publish their email address, and it would work on all systems.

For example, the 1990 membership directory of the Electronic Mail Association, its 86 members listed their Email addresses in a total of 24 different, non-compatible formats. The most popular format? No listing at all! (32) Followed by MCIMail (26),
Compuserve (10), Internet (8). Six hearty members dedicated the four lines it required to use the “standard” X.400 format. Even Unix networks – the heart of the internet – were using something called “bang addressing” over uucp where you had to know the full pathway of the network to reach someone !bigcomputer!littlecomputer!username.

There was already the basis for such a system – “@” sign domain addressing invented by Ray Tomlinson but it was not being used. There a much more complex standard – the X400 standard – that also wasn’t being used.

To address this, I launched a letter-writing (fax!) campaign to computer magazines in January 1990, urging publishers to adopt the @ sign standard when publishing email addresses (even though most email companies were not prepared to handle it.) This generated a flurry of supportive emails to my MCIMail account.

The next step was to find the email addresses of all the decision makers in the various email companies, and develop a listserv that would actually reach them (as they were not on the internet). My office used Novell MHS internally, so I created a software gateway program “UGate” to connect MHS to the internet and to be able to dial up and exchange messages with other non-internet providers. (The Hunger Project earned $50,000 per year in $200 per copy shareware fees for Ugate from 1990 through 1997).

With Ugate and my list of emails, I began lobbying the chief decision makers in March 1990, including Internet pioneer Vint Cerf. By mid-1991, most of the proprietary companies were exchanging email directly on the internet with addresses such as 12345.678@compuserve.com.

The lesson from this? Even something as obvious and commercially advantageous as universal email addresses faces market-based obstacles. Like every advocacy campaign, winning required (a) making the case in a clear, non-confrontational way, (b) raising the flag, (c) finding the champions and the decision makers and (d) driving the conversation day after day towards something that works for everyone.

 

Proposed Federal Budget 2018 Fails to Defend the World’s Most Vulnerable Persons

 

Lobby Day Feat Image

On June 13, three of The Hunger Project’s DC team members joined over 500 people to meet with congressmen and women on issues of hunger and poverty as part of Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day. Lobby Day brings together NGOs, church groups, and individuals from all over the US to spend a day advocating on The Hill in Washington, D.C.for anti-hunger and poverty legislation. With the proposed 2018  federal budget – which includes cuts to health care and food assistance programs – this year’s Lobby Day was especially important in making heard the voices of those whose human rights could be most compromised. 

Participants in Lobby Day made three important requests in the fight to end suffering:  

1. Oppose any budget cuts that would increase hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

In the United States, 1 in 8 families are food insecure and 1 in 6 children are at risk of living in hunger. Around the world, 800 million people are hungry and nearly 20 million people are facing starvation as a result of the famines in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Federal budget allocations for nutrition are investments that will have economic benefits for our society. Representative Dan Donovan recently wrote an op-ed article about why cutting foreign aid is a mistake:

“In 2015 alone, 18 million children under five improved their nutritional intake thanks to support from U.S. programs. Children who get the right nutrition early are 10-times more  likely to overcome life-threatening childhood diseases. They are also more likely to achieve higher levels of education. Growing evidence also suggests a strong positive correlation between nutrition and lifetime earnings. Think of the impact — for every dollar invested in nutrition, we see a $16 return. If that’s not a smart, worthwhile investment, I don’t know what is.”

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Image courtesy of Bread for the World.

Donovan also argues the moral benefits of foreign aid, including US leadership toward a decrease in maternal and child mortality:

“…because of the U.S. commitment to reducing the child mortality rate, an estimated 100 million children have been saved since 1990. Additionally, maternal mortality rates have dropped 44 percent. Our support for measles and polio eradication efforts have rapidly reduced child deaths in even the most remote corners of the planet.”

We asked our congressmen and women to oppose these cuts, and instead support US leadership toward improved development that will not only save lives, but also improve livelihoods, and therefore mitigate migration and the security threat of recruiting extremist terrorists.

2. Fully fund domestic safety-net and international development programs that end hunger and poverty.

Foreign assistance is the soft power that binds US alliances and promotes global stability through decreased hunger and poverty. At less than 1% of the federal budget, international aid costs the United States a fraction of the cost of military interventions – which are typically short-term, inefficient and unsustainable.

FY2018
Image courtesy of Oxfam.

Domestic safety nets, such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), Medicaid, refundable tax credits, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program, and summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) also risk major budget cuts. Basic provisions provided by these programs allow families to prevent hunger while getting “back on their feet” and breaking out of the cycle of poverty. In an effort to bolster the US economy, Congress must fully fund safety-net programs that eliminate hunger and poverty amongst Americans.

Medicaid
Image courtesy of Bread for the World.

3. Oppose harmful structural changes to SNAP, Medicaid, and international development assistance.

Block Grant
TANF: A block grant study. Image Courtesy of Bread for the World.

Congress has proposed structural changes such as block grants and per capita caps that shift the cost of domestic safety-net programs to states. This allows states to determine how much funding to provide to those eligible for SNAP, Medicaid, and refundable tax credits. As a result, the most vulnerable people may not receive the proper amount of life-saving assistance they need. We insisted that Congress oppose these structural changes and stand up for our fellow citizens in dire need.

“By slashing our foreign aid budget, we risk undoing 30 years of remarkable progress.” – Rep. Dan Donovan

After Lobby Day

You do not need to go to The Hill in D.C. to seek congressional support in opposing the proposed cuts to the FY18 federal budget. Phone calls, letters, and emails make a powerful impression on your senators and representatives. Hearing from organizations, congregations, and constituents  will influence the way our elected congressmen and women vote. Your voice can help end hunger and poverty.

For more information on how to contact your senator or representative, please visit the following websites.

What to say to your congress men and women: http://bread.org/sites/default/files/virtual-lobby-day-call-script-june-2017.pdf?_ga=2.188894315.1365439319.1497472412-1786586522.1487878423

Find your representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Find your senators: https://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm

 

Featured image courtesy of EURACTIV.

PNPM Progress: A Path Towards Sustainability in Indonesia

Indonesia’s Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Mandiri (PNPM), or National Program for Community Empowerment, is a government-led, multi-donor trust-funded pilot program, which is managed by the World Bank Group (WBG) and delivered through the PNPM Support Facility (PSF). Also funded by: AusAid, CIDA, DANIDA, USAID, EU, UKAID, and the Dutch Government 

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Photo Credit: World Bank, PNPM (Peduli) Indonesia: Caring for the Invisible

 As the Government of Indonesia’s flagship community-driven development (CDD) program, PNPM strives to improve the socio-economic welfare of the poor and most marginalized groups by expanding opportunities through community consultation at all phases of the program, empowerment, and capacity building of civil society organizations (CSO). The key elements of PNPM-CDD programs include: community development, institution building, community block grants, strengthening local governance and partnerships, and technical assistance for program development

In working with numerous Indonesian and local CSOs and a handful of implementing partners, PNPM programs are currently active in roughly 6,000 sub-districts, 73,000 villages, and 33 provinces. Nearly Rp1.4 billion, which roughly equates to USD 21 million, is allocated to each village per year solely for development purposes. In the first year, PNPM programs helped nearly 12,000 marginalized individuals to build confidence, gain new livelihood skills and training, access information and public services, and to create new opportunities to participate in community life.

However, addressing the root drivers of social inclusion are not just about improving economic conditions, but about fully integrating individuals into every nook and cranny of civic life—increasing participation and breaking down social barriers by changing mindsets and reversing engrained stigmas. The Government of Indonesia realizes the marginalized are important and unappreciated assets (financial, labor, social), and often benefit less from public programs and poverty reduction schemes.

In this manner, local and national CSOs have a comparative advantage and are well positioned to empower marginalized groups to become more self-reliant and able to live dignified lives. CSOs work with a diverse range of marginalized groups in rural and urban Indonesia: female micro-entrepreneurs, street children, LGBTQ, violence against women and girls (VAWG), and people living with HIV/AIDS among others. Though CSOs have a limited financial capacity to provide services and activities such as mentoring and training, the PNPM has established grant making to mitigate the costs.

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Photo Credit: Source Unknown, PNPM Program Indonesia

PNPM programs have provided women, specifically, with business training and equipment, skills training, and loan arrangements to start businesses. As a result, women’s groups are now running laundries, phone card counters, food production, and coffee shops, for example. However, CDD programs in Indonesia could benefit from a thorough gender analysis needs assessment to identify which constraints women face particularly in a rural environment. Programs also need to collect and analyze disaggregated data between men and women, between rural and urban villages, and among communities, households, and individuals, to best target those in need and to measure participation. Affirmative action and inclusion of marginalized groups, such as women, must be addressed through quotas.

In 2015, the Government of Indonesia introduced the new Village Law, which is the new master framework for village development and community empowerment and embodies many of the aforementioned principles of the PNPM-CDD program. Although adopted and enacted to ensure sustainability of the PNPM programs, this framework also brings attention to the many challenges and implications it faces for future implementation.

Firstly, the programs must find a better, comprehensive way to measure accountability. Under the new law, the some 73,000 villages are seeing a large influx of resources from the government and outside funding agencies such as AusAid, CIDA, DANIDA, USAID, EU, UKAID, and the Dutch Government. The district governments have low capacity to monitor the cash flows and implementation of village governments. Who will provide the accountability and oversight and perform the audits? Or, who will be responsible for strengthening the oversight? The programs need a strong monitoring, evaluation, and learning (ME&L) framework—built-in accountability targets and performance-based indicators—to ensure precise development results and to prevent elite capture of village transfers.

A community-led development (CLD) approach, however, introduces such social accountability measures, supporting regularized processes such as public forums, at which local governments can demonstrate transparency and accountability and citizens can review and challenge the progress of targets and goals. CLD also supports communities to generate and access timely, locally relevant data that informs priority setting and strengthens progress tracking.

Secondly, it is important to remember that an increase in resources does not necessarily equip the villagers with the skills and expertise needed to obtain jobs and administer good service delivery. CDD projects often do not benefit everyone and takes years to trickle down to the most marginalized groups. How do we streamline this process to ensure that the most vulnerable are receiving the resources?

Lastly, although the law provides a strong legal framework for mainstreaming PNPM-CDD principles in village socio-economic activities, it does not necessarily guarantee sound implementation in practice. The PNPM-CDD programs must be sustainable and fully integrated into the local system of government. The law does not specifically address what it can impact in the short term versus what it can affect in the long term, which is necessary to ensure sustainability and resiliency. PNPM-CDD programs could learn from the CLD’s approach to sustainability and resiliency.

The CLD approach addresses sustainability and resiliency by addressing challenging factors such as climate change and population growth and how this in turn puts strong pressures on rural areas. The CLD approach calls for a process that includes actions to ensure that a program and community are resilient to climatic, political, and economic shocks. Local communities must have a regularized process of disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness.

The PNPM-CDD programs in Indonesia are promising and making considerable progress. However, the programs can build upon this progress by introducing several key distinguishing principles introduced by the CLD approach, namely: a keen focus on facilitators as mobilizers and “agents of change” rather than “beneficiaries,” a gender-mainstreamed approach, built-in social accountability measures, timely and disaggregated data, strengthening legal existence through ME&L, and implementing sustainability and resiliency safeguards.

Common Violence Hinders the Common Man and Woman

51xb42qd1fl-_sx334_bo1204203200_In the 2014 book The Locust Effect, Gary Haugen makes the case that “common violence” impedes progress in international development. Haugen likens the cloud of locusts that swept over the middle of the United States in 1873, a force that devoured and decimated everything in its path, to the plague of violence that infects the world’s poor and inhibits progress towards a better life.

Haugen lists the main types of common violence that inhibit progress as sexual violence, which includes but is not limited to the trafficking of women and girls and sex slavery, forced labor, abusive police practices, torture, pre-trial detention, and violent land seizures. There is a range of what these types of violence looks like in different cultures and countries, but Haugen classifies common violence as any type of lawlessness that can occur almost anywhere to anyone where law enforcement and criminal justice systems are broken and do not benefit the people. He ties in the title again when describing the relationship between crime and the poor: “unlike the locusts of the Great Plains, who were equal-opportunity destroyers, the locusts of violence in the developing world actually seek out the poor.”

Haugen claims that crime and violence affect the poor more because they are targeted by those who have more power and money. Being born poor is being born with a target on your back; not just for those who will exploit you, but for police themselves. Haugen believes that a lack of training, corruption, and outdated, colonialist police programs that have never learned to serve the common people have resulted in completely ineffective police and criminal justice systems that do not work for the poor.

Violence and crime vary from country to country, from community to community, but almost all law enforcement, criminal justice, and court systems in the developing world could use some updates. Haugen acknowledges that change will not come easily, but claims it can be done. He sees some common themes in successes:

  • Each movement of criminal justice reform required local ownership and leadership of a very intentional effort to transform the justice system
  • Each public justice system had its own particular problems, symptoms of dysfunction, and obstacles to reform that required highly contextualized solutions
  • Committed community leaders and reform-minded elites played a critical role
  • Effective criminal justice systems improved the working conditions of the people working in the system
  • The priority goal of effective transformation efforts was a criminal justice system that prevented violence and crime and built trust with the public

Haugen gives some examples of successful projects and programs that have reformed law enforcement, criminal justice, and court systems.

  • In Brazil a group of organizations have united to combat forced labor slavery. Brazil’s Ministry of Labour and Employment (MTE) has Special Mobile Inspection Groups (GEFMs) that conduct surprise inspections and investigations on landowners and employers suspected of using slave labor. Between 1995 and 2010 these mobile units have rescued 38,301 laborers and the mobile units are being replicated across Brazil. These efforts have raised the profile of forced labor and awareness is higher than ever.
  • In Sierra Leone a small group called Timap for Justice are dedicated to legal empowerment of the poor. They believe that a shortage of qualified lawyers and the lack of available funds to pay for them is limiting the poor’s access to legal services. Timap uses highly-trained paralegals as their solution to address common crimes. These paralegals are trained to provide legal services to the poor without the cost of a lawyer. Paralegals are trained in mediation techniques and to be flexible with multiple approaches to law, whether from a traditional legal standpoint or a religious one. 40% of Sierra Leone has access to a community paralegal now, thanks to this scalable program which is in the process of expanding its reach.
  • A group in Peru, Paz y Esperanza, has mobilized community efforts to bring public accountability to the criminal justice system. By way of awareness and public action campaigns, they have fully secured more than 152 convictions of sexual predators since 2003. Paz y Esperanza brought the epidemic of sexual violence into the public conversation and even led a successful campaign to remove four corrupt judges from the local courts who refused to prosecute sexual violence with integrity.

There are many more success stories and useful lessons to learn in The Locust Effect. Haugen wants us to talk about violence in the broader context of development because he believes that success will only be long-lasting if the threat of fear of violence is diminished. He makes a compelling case.

 

Images courtesy of un.org and amazon.com

A How-To on Policy Advocacy

Inter-Epicenter Exchanges to Strengthen Local Leadership

THP-SenegalThe Hunger Project-Senegal has initiated an approach associated with The Hunger Project’s Epicenter Strategy. Senegal was the first African country of intervention for The Hunger Project, starting in 1991. THP-Senegal continues to build sustainable community-based programs using the Epicenter Strategy. The strategy was devised in Africa, by Africans, and for Africans. To date, it has been applied to all eight program countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching 1.6 million people across Africa.

For more than 20 years, the Epicenter Strategy has proven to be an effective, efficient and replicable model to achieve sustainable development. The program takes approximately eight years over four phases: 1) training to mobilize communities to commit to creating positive change, 2) construction of the Epicenter building, 3) implementation of community programs, the implemented programs address the needs of the community, like health, food security, education, agriculture, and household finance and; 4) transition to self-reliance.

THP-Senegal added an Inter-epicenter Exchange Visit to increasingly advance local leaders’ capacities. The initiative will serve as a liaison for Epicenter leaders to exchange practices and various techniques with other Epicenter leaders to obtain knowledge and ideas at the same time rectify faults and dysfunctions perpetrated as they sustain for the accomplishment of their goal.

The Inter-epicenter Exchange Visit is composed of two phases: 1) participants welcome the words and presentation of distinguished leaders from other Epicenters, 2) participants attend a thematic workshop specifically about important issues  and programmatic components of THP-Senegal such as mobilization and leadership, health and nutrition, food safety, environment and sanitation, monitoring and evaluation, microfinance, income generating activities, and gender and women empowerment.

Leaders that participated in the exchange visits have expressed that they have learned a lot from discussing activities of their partner Epicenters in the many workshops. It has also spawned discussion among Epicenter leaders to exchange agricultural products such as millet, groundnuts, rice, and cowpeas,  between Epicenters of the north and center. They believe this would strengthen partnership linkages between communities of partner Epicenters in THP-Senegal and help to expand local economies and subsequent opportunities

The greening of Epicenters initiative was another lesson assimilated by the leaders generated from the environment and sanitation workshops. They have agreed to the tree planting initiative by Epicenters Ndéreppe, Dinguiraye and Coki to continue the tree planting efforts to their respective communities.

Leaders strongly acknowledged the importance of sanitation and latrines, especially in consideration of community members’ comfort in hosting visitors. The leaders also realized the CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) approach appeared to be simple and accessible to the communities.

The leaders expressed that the Inter-epicenter Exchange Visit was a strong moment of sharing and cooperation with partner Epicenters. With all the information exchanged from one leader to the other, they hope to follow and implement the lessons they have assimilated during the visit, and as they wait for the following gathering at the end of the year, they are committed to advance their respective communities’ capacities with respect to the Inter-epicenter Exchange Visit initiative.

The Development of communities is not a one-size fits all philosophy therefore it is not imperative for communities to replicate the activities and strategy of its partner communities, but exchange of ideas opens the door of possibilities and opportunities for communities to grow. One community’s insight could foster advanced inputs and innovation to other communities.


THP-Senegal’s Inter-epicenter initiative would be a great practice to pilot in other program countries because it promotes stronger partnerships between communities. The leaders who have participated in the initiative have also testified that the meeting renewed their interest and alleviated their drive for progress and innovation. The practice of exchanging information with other communities also highlights gaps or hindrances that possibly jeopardizes progress, therein safeguarding progress and ensuring sustainability from activities.

Senate Committee approved Water for the World Act

koira, sathkhira, Bangladesh
Image courtesy of wateraid.org

Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (H.R 2901), a bipartisan bill authored by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX) was presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, November 19. The committee approved the bill, clearing the path for a vote on the House floor soon after the Thanksgiving recess.

Currently, nearly 800 million people lack access to clean water.  An astounding 2.5 billion people worldwide live without access to proper sanitation. Every day, women and girls spend a combined 200 million hours collecting water, keeping them from school, work, and family. Every year, 3.4 million people lose their lives due to water related diseases. At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with illnesses that could be prevented by access to clean water and sanitation. Worldwide, children lose many school days because of water born diseases.

The Water for the World Act is a response to these direly needed improvements. The bill will ensure that :

  • Resources go to the countries and communities most in need of water, sanitation and hygiene programs (WASH)
  • The US government agencies working on WASH and all other groups work together to make sure that the resources invested achieve long-term impact
  • WASH programs are included in other critical measures that address child survival, global health, food security and nutrition, and gender equality
  • There is proper review of WASH projects by the US government to increase transparency in reporting and ensure that projects are effective and impactful

On a press release a day before the  bill was presented to the House Foreign Affairs committee, Congressman Blumenauer noted the strong bipartisan support the bill has by “good people on all sides of the political spectrum.” He pointed out that the swift passage of the Water for the World Act will insure “America’s security, global health, and the lives of women and children without burdening taxpayers or making enemies abroad.”

You can read the proposed bill here Water for the World Act -HR 2901-Nov 17.

Bipartisan Legislation for Feed the Future Introduced in Congress

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Image courtesy of USAID

Members of the House and Senate introduced legislation to authorize the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative on September 19, 2014. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced the Feed the Future Global Food Security Act of 2014 to the House, while Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Senate’s Global Food Security Act of 2014. The bills were cosponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Both bills “seeks to improve maternal and child nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday,” aligning with USAID’s new approach to combat global poverty and malnutrition through a multi sectoral nutrition strategy.

Currently 805 million people are suffering from hunger globally, malnutrition being the main cause of mortality in children under five. Inarguably, hunger and malnutrition have been the major obstacles for progress in the developing world. The Feed the Future Initiative aims to end hunger by 2030 by increasing agricultural productivity and creating opportunities for economic growth and trade in developing countries. The initiative also aims to boost harvest and income of rural smallholder farmers, and improve agricultural research while giving more access to more people to existing technologies. Lastly, it will work to increase resilience to prevent recurrent environmental crises and help communities better cope.

The Hunger Project, as an active member of the Food Security and Agriculture Working Group at Interaction, is excited by the legislation garnering bipartisan support. We acknowledge that it is not only an indication of a unified global fight against hunger, but also the prioritization of assistance to small-scale farmers, especially women.

The bills are expected to go to the floor for possibly ratification when Congress returns from recess after the November midterm election. The Hunger Project expects that bipartisan support will continue throughout the deliberation process.

“A Theory of Change on Child Marriage”

“Every year, approximately 14 million girls are married before they turn 18, across countries, cultures and religions. Robbed of their childhood, denied their rights to health, education and security” (Girls Not Brides, 2014).

GirlsNotBrides-LogoChild marriage poses a huge problem all over the world today. How can this practice be addressed in a proper way? What can be done in order to end child marriage? And which different approaches need to be considered?

Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of over 300 civil society actors including The Hunger Project, is committed to the issue of ending child marriage. Their Theory of Change on Child Marriage (2014) is a response to child marriage and illustrates how this topic could effectively be addressed as well as which approaches towards child marriage should be included. At the same time, the Theory of Change illustrates “that there is no single solution to ending child marriage and that everyone has a role to play. Ultimately efforts to address child marriage must respond to local contexts and accordingly programs and investments may take different forms.”

Guiding Principles

The Theory of Change reflects six guiding principles:

  1. It is important to state that the theory does not only focus on preventing child marriage but also on mitigation and support of girls who are already married.
  2. The focus on the impact of child marriages on girls does not mean the impact on boys should be neglected. However, focusing on girls is necessary in order to highlight the importance of gender equality.
  3. The theory includes both forms of child marriages: formal and informal unions.
  4. In order to end child marriage, action by multiple actors at many levels is required.
  5. Although change happens locally, national, regional and global actions are necessary in order to “create an environment that offers girls opportunities beyond the traditional roles envisaged for them.”
  6. Both parties should be freely and fully agreed to their marriage. However, this is rarely the case where one of the spouses is under the age of 18.

Theory of Change

The Theory of Change contains seven levels: 1.) Problem, 2.) Catalyzing strategy, 3.) Strategies, 4.) Outcomes, 5.) Results, 6.) Impact and 7.) Vision. However, as Girls not Brides points out “[i]t is important to recognise that the relationships between different levels are not causal or linear but represent a broader view of how change will occur.”

The different levels encompass the following:

  • Problem: As a first step, it is necessary to understand the problem of child marriage, to be aware of the different settings in which child marriage takes place, as well as the different drivers of it. And finally, it is important to be aware of the need to address the issue.
  • Catalyzing strategy: In order to achieve gender equality and end child marriage, the catalyzing strategy underlines that child marriage needs to be addressed within a broad framework of development and human rights. Ending child marriage is a complex and long-term task that requires awareness of the issue. It also requires local, national, regional and international strategic cooperation, resources, data collection and a monitoring system.
  • Strategies: Most of the existing strategies to address the problem of child marriage fall within one of these four categories: 1) empowering girls, 2) mobilizing families and communities, 3) providing services, and 4) establishing and implementing laws and policies. Since all of the strategies are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, it is necessary to combine the related actions in a context-specific way that takes into consideration the different drivers of child marriage in each region.
  • Outcomes: The next level addresses the outcomes that are targeted by following these four strategies. Change is aimed to be reached with regard to the attitudes and conditions of 1) girls, 2) families and communities, 3) services, and 4) laws and policies.
  1. Girls: If girls are aware of their rights and enabled to develop necessary skills to support their own life and each other, that would constitute an important factor in increasing their ability to refuse marriages. However, this has to be accompanied by economic and social alternatives for unmarried girls as well as a shift in the perception of it by both girls and their families.
  2. Families and communities: A shift of social norms is essential to end child marriage. Among others, families and communities have to become more aware of the harm of child marriage, and alternatives to child marriage need to be accepted. Therefore the media plays an important role.
  3. Services: To prevent girls from being pushed into child marriage, structural barriers needs to be removed, for example, in the education sector. Likewise, married and unmarried girls must have access to safe and quality education. Conditions which stop families sending girls to school must be considered and removed.
  4. Laws and policies: Both laws and policies play an important role for the improvement of services, the changes of social norms as well as girls’ empowerment.
  • Results: The results, on the other hand, “reflect the demonstrated changes in behavior on the part of individuals, families and communities, program implementers, and law enforcement officials as a consequence of surrounding changes in attitudes and conditions.” Depending on the given region and context, “different combinations of the results will be necessary to prevent child marriage and support married girls.”
  • Impact: A lasting impact is achieved when girls are eventually in the position to choose when and whom to marry or even not to marry at all; it constitutes “a shift in decision-making power to girls and new social norms.”
  • Vision: Girls not Brides does not only aim to end child marriages before the age of 18, but seeks to “ensure that [children] acquire the skills, connections and capacities that child marriage impedes, and have the opportunity and freedom to thrive.” And in order to achieve this, gender equality is essential.

Girls Not Brides underlines that the Theory of Change is not final but is continually evolving just as the field itself evolves.

More information about the Theory of Change on Child Marriage can be found here.

UNCoLSC Recommendations to increase access to, and use of Life-saving commodities

EVERY WOMAN EVERY CHILD
EVERY WOMAN EVERY CHILD

Every Woman Every Child. This focus is long overdue. With the launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, we have an opportunity to improve the health of hundreds of millions of women and children around the world, and in so doing, to improve the lives of all people.” — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC) for Women’s and Children’s Health made ten, specific, time bound recommendations in three main areas to increase access to, and use of, these commodities.

The following are lists of areas and recommendations by UNCoLSC:(Adopted from Early Woman Every Child website)

Area 1. Improved markets:

  1. Shaping global markets: By 2013, effective global mechanisms such as pooled procurement and aggregated demand are in place to increase the availability of quality, life-saving commodities at an optimal price and volume.

  2. Shaping local delivery markets: By 2014, local health providers and private sector actors in all Every Woman Every Child countries are incentivized to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the 13 commodities.

  3. Innovative financing: By the end of 2013, innovative, results-based financing is in place to rapidly increase access to the 13 commodities by those most in need and foster innovations.

  4. Quality strengthening: By 2015, at least three manufacturers per commodity are manufacturing and marketing quality-certified and affordable products.

  5. Regulatory efficiency: By 2015, all Every Woman Every Child countries have standardized and streamlined their registration requirements and assessment processes for the 13 live-saving commodities with support from stringent regulatory authorities, the World Health Organization and regional collaboration.

Area 2. Improved national delivery:

  1. Supply and awareness: By 2015, all Every Woman Every Child countries have improved the supply of life-saving commodities and build on information and communication technology (ICT) best practices for making these improvements.

  2. Demand and utilization: By 2014, all Every Woman Every Child countries in conjunction with the private sector and civil society have developed plans to implement at scale appropriate interventions to increase demand for and utilization of health services and products, particularly among under-served populations.

  3. Reaching women and children: By 2014, all Every Woman Every Child countries are addressing financial barriers to ensure the poorest members of society have access to the life-saving commodities.

  4. Performance and accountability: By the end of 2013, all Every Woman Every Child countries have proven mechanisms such as checklists in place to ensure that health-care providers are knowledgeable about the latest national guidelines.

Area 3. Improved integration of private sector and consumer needs.

  1. Product innovation: By 2014, research and development for improved life-saving commodities has been prioritized, funded and commenced.

Reference:

Every Woman Every Child, 2014. Retrieved on 1 April 2014 from http://www.everywomaneverychild.org/resources/un-commission-on-life-saving-commodities/recommendations.