Scaling-Up Community of Practice Launched

IMG_0611On February 24 and 25, 2015, representatives from a broad range of donors, foundations, think tanks, and independent scaling-up experts gathered at MSI’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia to exchange views on innovation and the scaling up of development impact.

The event was convened by MSI and R4D and sponsored by the World Bank, USAID, the Australian Government and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to the sponsoring organizations, it included representatives from DfID (UK), SIDA (Sweden), JICA (Japan), Grand Challenges (Canada), the Asian Development Bank, IFAD, the Latin American Development Bank, the Global Innovation Fund, MacArthur Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, Elma Foundation, the Brookings Institution, Duke University, World Vision, Technoserv, and Imago.

Concrete results of the meeting were a decision to formally establish a cross-sectoral Community of Practice and a set of associated working groups as a global platform for thought leadership and a professional networking related to “scaling for impact,” and selection of MSI and R4D to serve as co-conveners and secretariat for the Community of Practice.

Initial areas of attention for the Community of Practice include integrating scale considerations into donor organizations, more strategic use of public-private partnerships for scale, enhancing the role of monitoring and evaluation in scaling up, scaling up in fragile states, and scaling innovation.

Click here for additional information on MSI’s scaling up approach.

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A Focus On 2014 Accomplishments

year-end-accomplishments-type-treatment-v2We are kicking off a review of 2014, to reflect on our accomplishments and other significant milestones. From project successes, to the creation of compelling infographics, even to the move to our new office in Crystal City, we had an eventful 2014. So, join us as we look back to focus on some of the things that made the last year so momentous. Follow this page, as we will continuously update it with new material. #MSI2014

Click here to see A Focus on 2014 Accomplishments Campaign on Facebook.


Day 12: An Innovative, Cultural Approach to Corruption Awareness in Indonesia

B4k4ZpMCQAAzENWTo mark Anti-Corruption Day 2014, MSI’s USAID-funded Strengthening Integrity and Accountability Program 1 (SIAP 1) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) organized an Anti-Corruption Week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to build awareness and understanding around taking an anti-corruption stance.  The week-long event opened with a speech by President Joko Widodo and featured exhibitions, seminars, workshops, movie screenings, activities for children, art contests, a rock concert, interactive theatre, and a creative zone. Tens of thousands of Yogyakarta citizens attended the various events.

Day 11: Helping Promote Transparency in Lebanon

Baladi PlusIn Lebanon, we implemented a 2-year, USAID-funded project known as BALADI PLUS. Our focus was working with selected municipalities to improve transparency and enhance participatory planning with civil society at the local level. A highlight of the project emerged while working to assist with the increased demands created by the Syrian refugee crisis. We helped to create a specialized Emergency Preparedness Metric (EPM) which works with existing contingency plans that prepare cities to face natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.


Day 10: A Unique Scaling Up Approach

Scaling-Up-homepageMSI has fine-tuned the Scaling Up Management Framework and Scaling Up Toolkit, and is working to continue spreading these tools to the developing world. In 2014, we launched a campaign site to detail precisely what makes our scaling up work important — and unique. Our approach combines policy change, stakeholder engagement and systems analysis into a flexible yet methodical process to identify and manage large-scale systemic change.

Day 9: Improving Government Services to Iraq’s Neediest Citizens

The MSI-implemented USAID/Tarabot project recently opened its first one-stop-shop service center to aid in public access to services in Iraq. This particular center will address long lines that typically impede the dispersal of social benefits to Iraq’s neediest citizens, including widows, disabled persons and orphans, who need to collect their modest cash stipends. The opening sets a precedent for the one-stop-shop model in Iraq, where interest is growing among key government entities.


Day 8: Listening to Youth Voices in Jordan

IMG_9829_1000x667A participatory video approach involves training individuals, groups, or communities in basic video techniques, and then implementing a plan for them to capture relevant information. In Jordan, youths were trained in this approach to capture data on school attendance, workforce engagement, and voice and participation. Over the course of two workshops, these youth assessors heard perspectives from their peers, which in turn allowed them to design their own interview questions and focus the interviews. These opinions were then shared with USAID, helping to inform programming.

Day 7: Analyzing the Impact of Organized Crime on Development in West Africa

Pic-001_resize18For USAID’s Africa Bureau, MSI conducted a conflict and crime assessment in Niger that was used to inform inter-agency strategy and programming. We developed two datasets on maritime piracy and cocaine trafficking that showed the negative impact of organized crime on trade and economic investment in West Africa and the role of underdevelopment and weak institutions in fostering organized crime.


Day 6: Helping to Bridge the Gender Divide in Lebanon

M&E Workshop part IIMSI’s Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI CAP) project completed its first year of implementation with a first-of-its-kind Gender Mainstreaming Survey in Lebanon. It assessed efforts to integrate gender into civil society. These assessments resulted in customized gender action plans designed to help partner organizations bridge the institutional gender divide.

Day 5: What’s the Status of Civil Society Worldwide?

Pages%20from%20EE_2013_CSOSI_FullReport_0Is civil society flourishing or under threat around the world? This question can partially be answered with the assistance of USAID’s Civil Society Organization (CSO) Sustainability Index. It reports on the strength and overall viability of CSO sectors of more than 60 countries across 4 regions (Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Middle East and Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Afghanistan-Pakistan).

We manage the overall process of the CSO Sustainability Index in all the regions, working closely with USAID and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) to implement the methodology collaboratively with host partners in each country where the Index is compiled.

In December 2014, MSI participated in a USAID and Aga Khan Foundation co-hosted event addressing the subject of Global Trends in Civil Society Resilience. Click here to watch the MSI-produced video highlighting some of the opportunities and challenges facing civil societies around the world.

Day 4: Continuing our Partnership in Iraq

Babil GO OpeningSince 2006, we’ve worked hand in hand with Iraqis to help them chart a brighter future. Our project, Tarabot, supports Iraq’s administrative development and civil service, from public policy development and reform to new governance methods. The National Development Plan (NDP) 2013-2017 is the most visible product of our planning assistance; it came about through a process characterized by transparency and inclusivity.


Day 3: Helping USAID Deliver Improved Health Projects in Ghana

IMG_1849The USAID/Ghana Evaluate for Health Project activities began in September 2014. We are providing overall M&E support to the entire health portfolio, all geared towards data to continually improve the program. Since then, we have recruited a six-person all-Ghanaian project team, opened an office, completed interviews with major implementing partners, visited local health facilities, and submitted a baseline study design and draft indicators to USAID for a portfolio-wide baseline to be launched in February.


Day 2: Helping Pakistan Achieve Reading Goals

Pakistan-EGRA-infographic-thumb5We’d like to share with you photos from the Pakistan Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), which contributes to the long-term measurement of improved reading skills. Funded by USAID, it is the largest EGRA conducted to date. Despite challenging conditions on the ground, including a flood and earthquake, our teams interviewed more than 33,000 boys and girls in grades 3 and 5 from 1,120 schools. The baseline will feed into an evaluation that looks at all eight areas of Pakistan and three different languages.

Day 1: Promoting a Better Lebanon Through Citizen Engagement

_NAB9878MSI’s USAID-funded Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (PACE) project increased Lebanese civil society’s ability to act as a catalyst for change.The program has supported the healthy growth of civil society groups in Lebanon and used technology, like social media, to effectively engage and promote its goals.  Learn more about the project and its use of social media by checking out the photos from the @SocialMediasPACE social media fair on Facebook, listening to a podcast recorded with former PACE Chief of Party, Hérve de Baillenx, watching the short project overview video, and watching a video from “Inter-Views,” a weekly political talk show that spoke with PACE grantees.

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Jordan MESP Breathes Life Into a Youth Assessment

MSI recently incorporated a participatory video component as part of a USAID-funded youth assessment in Jordan. As part of the Jordan Monitoring and Support Program, it focused on collecting data about school attendance, workforce engagement, and voice and participation.

IMG_9829_1000x667A participatory video (PV) approach involves training individuals, groups, or communities in basic video techniques, and then implementing a plan for them to capture contextual information, distributed in a way that conveys relevant data. The key is to capture information in the voice of those closest to the issue.

PV previously had prohibitive costs associated with it due to the expense of video gear and costly trainers and crews. Now, the ability to capture video is widespread. Even in developing countries, many can record video on their cell phone. This convergence of creative technology and traditional data collection delivers easily digestible content and humanizes the data.

In Jordan, MSI’s Noah Wilderman had a chance to put the participatory approach to the test by designing a project activity to complement focus group data. Noah travelled to Jordan to deliver two workshops related to video production.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 11.57.06 AMArmed with a basic point-and-shoot camera, memory card, tripod, and battery, trained youth assessors then hit the field. First, they attended focus groups to hear the perspectives of their peers, and then designed their own interview questions around emergent focus group themes. The youths then each chose an area on which to focus to their video interviews, including finding subjects.

In addition to using the video as a tool to introduce focus group findings to the client, the youth assessors/filmmakers participated in the presentations and in discussions with USAID, forming a direct connection between the donor and the population they were assessing. Ultimately, the video complements the youth assessment by providing an emotive overview of the issues that serves as an inviting gateway to the complete focus group data. The video is currently publicly available and is being presented to broader audiences.

Read more in the Ingenuity@Coffey post participatory video and the future of visual reporting.

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Larry Cooley Appointed to CIDC’s Executive Advisory Board

images2DN0SQYYMSI’s Larry Cooley has been appointed to the Executive Advisory Board of the Professional Services Council’s Council of International Development Companies (CIDC). He joins four other new members to the Board — Tessie Catsambas of Encompass; Jonathan Darling of TRG; Mihir Desai of Dexis; and Cristina Mossi of Devis. For a full listing of Executive Advisory Board members, visit the CIDC website.

MSI has been an active member of the CIDC since its formation in 2013 and was instrumental in helping to form the Council to help broaden education efforts regarding the contributions of private development firms in meeting U.S. international development objectives.

The CIDC works with development companies to provide a sustainable advocacy platform to engage with USAID, educate the public on the role of development companies in support of U.S. goals abroad, and inform and advocate on a number of issues, including contracting and business development.

Cooley previously served on the Board of Directors of the Professional Services Council.

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Using a Creative Approach to Fighting Corruption in Indonesia

A photo from 2013's ACFFest, a film festival for Anti-Corruption Day.

A photo from 2013’s ACFFest, a film festival for Anti-Corruption Day.

Founded by the UN in 2003, International Anti-Corruption Day is December 9th.  Last year, MSI helped to showcase  progress in fighting corruption in Indonesia through a film festival and photo exhibition. This year, MSI’s Strengthening Integrity and Accountability Program 1 (SIAP 1) is supporting the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in organizing Anti-Corruption Week. The week will feature a series of events, exhibitions and workshops which will take place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from December 9th- 12th.

Anti-Corruption Week aims to continually build awareness and understanding and calls for the community to take a stand against corruption. The week’s events hope to build momentum and foster further collaboration with Indonesian ministries, the private sector, creative communities and media in the effort against corruption. Workshops and photo exhibitions will bring together local artists, expert speakers and initiators from several social movements.  Indonesian law enforcement agencies, government, and national artists will take part in several activities which consist of exhibitions, children and education zones, seminars, talk shows, art contests, and a SIAP 1-supported creative zone. In addition to these activities, KPK commissioners and Indonesian government representatives will give speeches and lead discussions on the Sarasehan stage. The stage is modeled using the Javanese cultural approach ‘sarasehan.’ In Indonesia, cultural formats are often used to circulate messages for the public.  Sarasehan is a type of informal public meeting that will give the public and government representatives the opportunity to discuss emerging issues and to voice concerns about anti-corruption efforts.

The event itself will be attended by Indonesian law enforcement agencies, government and national artists. It is expected that this cultural approach can strengthen the law enforcement agencies commitment to make concrete steps in combating corruption.

Read more about the SIAP 1 project here.

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