News & Blogs

News & Blogs2019-09-24T06:57:57+00:00
2511, 2019

The impact of shame

By: Kelly Dale, Gender Specialist Research on gender-based violence (GBV) during humanitarian crises, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and forced child marriage, often focuses on women. This research presents women as victims of war and displacement who need protecting from their male family members or foreign humanitarian aid workers.[i] It often presents men as patriarchal perpetuators of violence, and too often ignores the issues of male roles and masculinities all together. This narrative contributes to the demonization of men and marginalization of women. It strips women of their agency and does not allow for a deeper understanding of why men are more likely to perpetuate violence during conflict or following displacement. Globally, rates of GBV are higher in these contexts due to a range of factors, including trauma, poverty, stress, lower self-esteem, and early exposure to violence, which conflict and forced migration increase –be this from the crisis itself or the social and economic consequences–resulting in negative coping behaviors and a higher propensity for violence. This in part stems from perpetrators’ sense of insecurity, powerlessness, or shame due to inability to meet certain economic and social norms attributed to men.[ii] […]

2111, 2019

Monitoring and Measuring Social Accountability: What does inclusiveness look like?

Allison Annette Foster, Thumbiko Msiska, and Marleen Vellekoop.  November 20, 2019 Napoleão Bernardes, popular two-time mayor of Blumenau Brazil, opened the annual GPSA Forum 2019 this week. Speaking to a full house of global participants at the World Bank meeting hall, Mr. Bernades challenged social accountability advocates to see Social accountability as part of good governance. Social Accountability, he proposed, brings empathy into policy and creates the space for governments and civil society to meet around the same table.  This process enhances transparency and accountability, which enables governments improve the quality and accessibility of public services. Our group of practitioners and researchers are a part of a community of practice around SA that have been working together to achieve just that: an institutionalized system of social accountability that raises excluded voices to be heard by decision makers and to influence policies that improve services and advance equity. Our team of researchers[1] and development practitioners explore how  social accountability actually works. We are asking questions that will be important for sustainability, self-reliance and transparency: What does accountability look like in a sustainable context? How we will monitor progress, recognize gaps and opportunities for improvement, ensure inclusiveness, and measure success? What kind of indicators can capture or reflect and track inclusiveness, meaningful participation, and power shifts? In an interactive session on the first day of the Forum[2], our team shared our recent work to increase inclusion in health system decisions and health service improvements. Mr. Thumbiko Msiska of CARE|Malawi presented a case study of his experience in Malawi introducing social accountability through various approaches  and highlighted the successes and challenges faced as Malawi partners aim to scale SA practices. Marleen Vellekoop of Options and Allison Annette Foster of WI-HER, LLC shared recent works from Ligia Paina et al[3] and Adriana Martin-Hilber et al[4], and demonstrated an accountability framework that has been the basis of a monitoring tool that is currently being used to integrate monitoring into the accountability process. That framework is also being adapted to help governments assess their own state or national programs for effectiveness and inclusiveness. The session brought about a rich discussion with participants from DRC, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, USA, Cambodia, Indonesia, Senegal, Cameroon, Dominican Republic and other countries. All session participants agreed that monitoring progress in social accountability is difficult because accountability initiatives are often abstract and complex, existing of dynamic interactions between social actors. Nevertheless, monitoring and evaluating efforts to increase accountability are essential to better understand the effectiveness of accountability interventions.  In particular, discussions among representatives called for the following to improve inclusiveness in governance: As social accountability programs are institutionalized, there needs to be a sustained practice of bringing excluded voices to the center of decision making. More learning is needed on how the inclusion of marginalized groups is achieved. Although inclusion is the focus of social accountability interventions, our M&E practices are not always inclusive. Complex M&E tools and technologies can sometimes present barriers to SA intervention beneficiaries so that they are [...]

1911, 2019

Family Planning Commodities Donation Makes Splash at National Obstetrics Fistula Center, Ningi, Nigeria

By Helen John, IHP Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi State, Nigeria and Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC “This is actually a partnership that works. We were thinking after the fistula consultation meeting held, that will be all, but we were proved wrong. This donation wouldn’t have come at a better time because the Center is out of stock”. – Dr. Umar Nasiru Ibrahim, Managing Director of the Ningi National Obstetrics Fistula Center Fistula Advisory Committee Chair presents donated family planning commodities to Ningi National Obstetrics Fistula Center Managing Director In September 2019, the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP) and lead gender and social inclusion partner WI-HER, LLC supported the first Fistula Technical Consultation Meeting in Bauchi State out of which was formed the Advisory Committee on Fistula in Bauchi State. One of the roles of the Advisory Committee is resource mobilization for fistula prevention, care, support, and rehabilitation. […]

1110, 2019

International Day of the Girl Child 2019 Theme: GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable

By Helen John, Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi-Nigeria “You were meant to be a queen Even though you are hidden behind the curtain, your majesty, the world awaits your ascension oh do not fear, grab your rod, your symbol of authority with a smile and rule Because you are unscripted, unstoppable!” Okwy Obu is a writer Girls enjoy camp activities. Photo Credit: Kelly Dale who resides in Enugu, Nigeria […]

910, 2019

A Ray of Hope for a Fistula-free Society

A Ray of Hope for a Fistula-free Society By Morgan Mickle and Allison Annette Foster Gesse VVF Center, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, Nigeria. Photo Credit: Morgan Mickle Dr. Abubakar met us at the door dressed in traditional Kebbi dress and a warm smile that says ‘Sannun ku’ or ‘welcome’ in Kebbi’s Hausa language. Immediately, we noticed the nicely painted walls, the clean floors, and the organized well-equipped rooms. Dr. Abubakar is the Chief Medical Director of the Gesse VVF (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula) Center, located in Birnin-Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State, Nigeria. Dr. Abubakar has a vision of a society where there is no fistula. More importantly, he sees a world where all people have access to quality care is the norm, and each individual is treated with honor and respect. His commitment is to those most vulnerable – Women. Marginalized. Poor. […]

710, 2019

A Reflection of my summer internship experience at WI-HER

By Mitali Dahanukar, Intern Summer 2019 Mitali Dahanukar My internship at WI-HER, LLC has been an incredible and enlightening journey. As a Georgetown University Master’s student, I was applying for various summer internship positions to gain experience in the field of global health. What caught my eye at that time was that WI-HER is a woman-owned organization for social good. I also wanted to learn more about business development at international development consultancies. I remember walking in on my first day for the WI-HER orientation, the same way I remember my first day of grad school: exhilarated and nervous, but the entire team was extremely welcoming and supportive. Professionally, I never imagined I’d learn so much in just a period of two months! Allison Foster, the Vice President of WI-HER, taught me how I can judge business forecasts based on the requirements of the organization. […]

2509, 2019

Obstetric Fistula in Nigeria: WI-HER joins the states of Bauchi and Kebbi in fighting fistula

Obstetric Fistula in Nigeria: WI-HER joins the states of Bauchi and Kebbi in fighting fistula September / October 2019 BACKGROUND WI-HER, LLC  is leading gender integration and social inclusion efforts within the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (IHP) in the Nigerian states of Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto. IHP seeks to contribute to state-level reductions in child and maternal morbidity and mortality and increase the capacity of public and private health systems to sustainably support quality Primary Health Care (PHC) services. According to WHO, approximately 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications around the world every day, and almost all of these deaths occur in developing countries.  According to the African Population and Health Research Center (2017), ‘One Nigerian woman dies every 13 minutes – that is 109 women dying each day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.  For each death, there are an estimated 30 to 50 women who will experience life-long conditions and disabilities such as obstetric fistula.’[2]  WI-HER will support the IHP states in Obstetric Fistula prevention and treatment in collaboration with UNICEF and private sector actors. […]

2509, 2019

Working for Home, from Home: My Summer 2019 Internship Reflection

By Oloruntobi Dare, Intern Summer 2019 Oloruntobi Dare I greatly valued my time this past summer as a gender integration intern with WI-HER, LLC. I was assigned to work on the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (IHP) supporting Nigeria, which was dear to me, because I am originally from there. Though I had some previous knowledge of the health challenges facing the country, I was able to take a deep dive into the health landscape of Nigeria, particularly, obstetric fistula (OF) in Bauchi state. Obstetric fistula is a condition that affects hundreds and thousands of women worldwide and is a result of prolonged obstructed labor. The condition can lead to continuous and involuntary discharge of urine and/or feces from the body. In Nigeria, this condition is estimated to affect 150,000 women and girls, with 12,000 new cases of OF occurring every year [1]. […]

Load More Posts