New Group to Fix USAID

The U.S. Agency for International Development is struggling to meet its mandate and help millions across the world, so a new high-powered advocacy agency will provide outside pressure to instigate reform. The group, Unlock Aid, features a board of development professionals and a consortium of private companies in the space. Their goal is to help USAID change its business practices and regulations to make providing aid more effective and efficient. “Constrained by regulations and business practices established decades ago, the world’s largest development agencies are struggling to keep pace and innovate at the speed we need,” reads their website, which NatSec Daily got an exclusive look at.


Opinion: COVID-19 requires ‘business as unusual’ in global health

Nearly 18 months after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the coronavirus continues its march around the globe, leaving medical, social, and economic trauma in its wake. With the delta variant driving new and deadly waves of the disease across the world, the pandemic appears far from over. Despite the efforts made by global development institutions to mobilize human and financial resources to fight COVID-19, critical and immediate operational adjustments are needed to accelerate and facilitate implementing partners’ ability to execute programming that would protect and save lives.


Zenysis aims to be government ‘operating system’ in low-income nations

A Silicon Valley startup that has developed a data interoperability platform to improve the delivery of health care and other public services is expanding its work in Mozambique... The company’s work in Mozambique is just one example of how it brings together a large volume of disparate data sources, uses its open-source platform to integrate them into a single point of access, and provides decision-makers with a more actionable picture of what is happening.


macro eyes: Taking stock: How predictive modeling can improve health supply chains

Running out of stock of essential health products is a critical issue in low- and middle-income countries. But all too often, decision-makers estimate demand solely by looking back on recent months instead of using advanced forecasting models, which draw on a wide variety of data sources to make predictions for the future. Macro-Eyes, an artificial intelligence company focused on making supply chains proactive instead of reactive, was recently selected as the winner of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Intelligent Forecasting Field Implementation Grant. Its STRIATA product, which uses machine learning “to forecast supply and demand at scale when conventional data is limited and uncertainty is the constant,” rose to the top of a global competition with 100 participating organizations working to model contraceptive needs in Côte d’Ivoire.

New York Times

Samantha Power Still Believes America Can Help Save the World

In her 2019 memoir, “The Education of an Idealist,” Samantha Power, who emigrated from Ireland as a child, described how she knew, even before being naturalized, that she had become an American. “I now thought like an American, reacting to problems in the world — like the Bosnia war — by asking myself, ‘What, if anything, can we, America, do about it?’” That question has animated Power’s epic career, which has stretched from war correspondent to United Nations ambassador to, now, head of the United States Agency for International Development, the government agency devoted to foreign aid.


Former chief innovation officer at USAID has 3 asks for Congress

Ann Mei Chang, former head of innovation at the U.S. Agency for International Development, has three recommendations for members of Congress to maximize the potential of innovation in U.S. foreign assistance. She asked them to authorize a chief innovation officer and a chief digital officer at each U.S. development agency, to direct a pool of earmarked funds for research and development, and to shift toward measurable results versus predefined activities.


Fraym: The future of data: Unmasking community-level differences to better address food insecurity

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the challenge created by high-level, aggregated data when addressing chronic food security and other lasting challenges affecting Africa—namely the masking of community-level differences, which inhibits the effective distribution of resources in the region. Technological advancements now bring clarity to these gaps, equipping today’s generation of committed policymakers to tackle complex problems, especially those around food security. Until now, the best available data has been sparse, dated, and aggregated. Fortunately, data scientists have developed new machine learning (ML) models that can now produce reliable, local data for areas where data has been historically difficult or impossible to access.

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