Young parents in the DRC hold their baby.

PROPEL Health

PRB is a partner on the PROPEL Health project, which is working to support more equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems through policy, financing, governance, and advocacy.

USAID, The Palladium Group

The Challenge

PROPEL Health aims to improve the enabling environment for equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems through policy development and implementation; health financing; government stewardship, transparency, and accountability; and the use of evidence-based advocacy approaches at the global, national, and subnational levels. The project focuses on family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH) and the integration of FP/RH with HIV and maternal and child health (MCH).

To enhance resilience and sustainability, PROPEL Health prioritizes local solutions for policy, advocacy, financing, and governance leadership, technical assistance, and capacity development.

The project’s core team includes Palladium, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Avenir Health, Population Reference Bureau (PRB), RTI International, Samasha Medical Foundation, and White Ribbon Alliance (WRA). It is led by Palladium and funded by USAID.

Our Approach

We bring expertise in key areas, including:

  • Providing high-quality, up-to-date estimates on key indicators on population, family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH), environment, and gender for countries around the world.
  • Supporting advocates to design and use evidence-based, politically smart advocacy approaches to advance their own FP/RH policy priorities.
  • Equipping youth to drive change by identifying gaps in implementation of youth-friendly policies and leading advocacy campaigns to overcome them.
  • Strengthening local media’s capacity in reproductive health reporting.
African woman and baby

Promoting Evidence on Early Childhood Development in East and Southern Africa

PRB is sharing evidence on early childhood development (ECD) in East and Southern Africa so that it reaches a wide set of global stakeholders and is used to improve programming, policy, and investments for ECD.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Challenge

Research shows that birth through age 3 is a critical period for developing a child’s brain and shaping their future. In 2015, early childhood development (ECD) became part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, as of that same year, a large proportion of young children were at risk of poor development in Kenya (45%), Mozambique (61%), and Tanzania (66%).

Knowledge of existing challenges and promising interventions to improve ECD in East and Southern Africa (ESA) and around the world is necessary to inform effective programming and policies that address poor childhood development. Researchers, topic experts, advocates, and spokespeople and champions all play an important role in ensuring that evidence is communicated effectively so that it’s easy to understand and can be adapted across different contexts and systems. To be used in policymaking and global discourse, evidence must be packaged in a way that is compelling and accessible for nonexperts.

Our Approach

PRB is partnering with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to promote evidence on ECD in ESA to improve the lives of young children ages 0-3 in Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania.  We are working with key actors to create and implement a strategy to share evidence around three priority themes: parenting, male engagement in early childhood development and adolescent parenting, and population-level measurement of early childhood development. The strategy includes developing key messages and recommendations to increase the reach, use, and application of evidence from the region in global programming and investment. To implement the strategy, PRB is helping build the skills of spokespeople to share relevant evidence and creating resources to help non-researchers understand the evidence and its implications for action.

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Health Policy Plus (HP+)

PRB is a partner on the Palladium-led, USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project that strengthens and advances health policy priorities at global, national, and subnational levels.

USAID, Palladium

The Work

HP+ focuses on strengthening and advancing health policy priorities in family planning and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and newborn health at global, national, and subnational levels, expanding the efforts of prior U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) investments from the Health Policy Project (HPP).

HP+ works in more than 17 countries and aims to improve the enabling environment for equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems through policy development and implementation, with an emphasis on voluntary health programs, and by strengthening in-country partners’ capacity to navigate complex environments for effective policy design, implementation, and financing. Taken together, evidence-based inclusive policies, more sustainable health financing, improved governance, and stronger global leadership and advocacy will lead to improved health outcomes worldwide.

HP+ is funded by USAID and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It is implemented by a multidimensional, complementary team led by Palladium.

Our Approach

PRB brings our core strengths in communicating technical health information to the project. Specifically, we work to:

  • Train decisionmakers, advocates, and researchers on how to better understand, communicate, and use health data in decisionmaking.
  • Create easy-to-understand, compelling communication materials for national and subnational decisionmakers and implementers to ensure awareness of and prompt action on national policies addressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Materials have included videos, social media clips, factsheets, media toolkits, ENGAGE multimedia presentations, and reports.
  • Train and mentor journalists with an aim to increase and improve news coverage on the links between family planning and development, and hold governments accountable for their commitments to family planning.
  • Work with youth advocates and youth journalists to strengthen their capacity to participate in the decisionmaking processes as champions, raise community awareness about youth-related SRH policies, and hold governments and providers accountable for providing high-quality, youth-friendly SRH services.

 

Explore HP+

Impact

Building the Capacity of Young Leaders in Malawi

After training from HP+, youth reporters and radio listening club members produced weekly radio programs about youth reproductive health topics in several districts across Malawi. In one example, in 2020 a program on Nkhotakota Radio urged pregnant teenagers to get an HIV test to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their babies. Within two weeks of the program airing, an additional 40 pregnant teenagers had visited the District Health Office for HIV tests. Since receiving their training, some youth participants have led youth organizations that lobby local and regional leaders on issues important to youth, including health and education.

Policy and Advocacy Training for Young People in Malawi

In 2018, HP+ conducted policy and advocacy training in Malawi to amplify the voices of young adults working on issues related to youth-friendly health services. A short video presents the voices of three youth champions (also featured in the HP+ 2019 World Population Day blog) who attended the training and are continuing to work in various ways to inspire and educate youth in their communities.

Effectively Communicating Health Data on Women in Mali

Although Mali has ratified most major international and regional human rights treaties, and its constitution defends women’s rights, the country has yet to formally pass a law criminalizing gender-based violence (GBV). HP+ worked with Mali’s Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children, and Families and its National Control Program Against Excision to develop advocacy tools, including infographics, for key decisionmakers and the media to spur political will to pass the GBV law. The advocacy materials (in French) include key data and information on GBV, child marriage, and female genital cutting in Mali. They also provide actions that policymakers and the media can take to advocate for a stronger legal and regulatory environment to support voluntary, equitable, rights-based programs.

Understanding and Communicating Young People’s Needs for Malawi’s Decisionmakers

In Malawi, strategic and multisectoral investments in youth are critical pieces of national growth and development. Growing Together: Multisectoral Investments in Malawi’s Youth is an ENGAGE™ multimedia presentation that describes the necessary investments in young people’s health, education, employment opportunities, and participation in governance that can create a window of opportunity for accelerated economic development. The presentation’s goal is to build awareness of the overlapping needs and priorities of multiple sectors and increase support for cross-sectoral investments in Malawi’s young people. To achieve this goal, the presentation is designed to boost individuals’ understanding of the links between and among young peoples’ health, education, employment, and meaningful participation in governance, and how investments in each of these sectors can contribute to Malawi’s growth and development. The ENGAGE is available in English and Chichewa.

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American Community Survey and Decennial Census Support Services

Informing policymakers, the media, and the public about the importance of data from the decennial census and American Community Survey.

U.S. Census Bureau

PRB has been a long-term partner to the U.S. Census Bureau, helping to inform policymakers, the media, and the public about the importance of data from the decennial census and American Community Survey (ACS). Under this project, we work in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau to:

These activities have facilitated communication about decennial census and ACS issues and applications among a broad group of data users, as well as between data users and the Census Bureau.

ACS Data Users Group

PRB established an ACS Data Users Group to improve understanding of the value and utility of ACS data and to promote information sharing about key ACS data issues and applications. To facilitate communication among data users, we maintain an ACS Online Community and organize webinars and special sessions at professional meetings. Membership in the group is free. It is led by a Steering Committee that represents a broad spectrum of ACS data users with different interests.

ACS Data Users Conferences

We have organized four ACS Data Users Conferences in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and with guidance from an ACS Data Users Group Steering Committee. Nearly 300 ACS data users attended the 2019 ACS Data Users Conference, held May 14-15, 2019, at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.  The program brought together more than 50 contributed presentations by ACS data users, invited sessions with Census Bureau staff, Census Bureau product demonstrations, and opportunities for networking.

Data Products Redesign Group

In partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, PRB coordinates a Data Products Redesign Group to provide the Census Bureau with an efficient and effective means to collect informal feedback from a broad range of data users on new ACS and 2020 Census data products, dissemination platforms, and distribution channels. This ongoing exchange helps the Census Bureau to develop innovative data products and dissemination platforms that best meet data users’ needs.

ACS Data User Handbooks

We are working in partnership with the U.S Census Bureau to produce a series of Handbooks, Modules, and Case Studies for different ACS data user communities, including journalists, businesses, state and local governments, and others. The handbooks provide an overview of the ACS to help data users understand the basics of the survey, how the data can be used, how to judge the accuracy of ACS estimates, and how to access ACS data on the web. We are also producing a series of topical modules to help data users understand and use the Census Bureau’s Application Programming Interface (API), ACS Public Use Microdata Sample, and ACS Summary File.

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Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy to Expand Access to Safe Abortion (SAFE ENGAGE)

The SAFE ENGAGE project supports safe abortion access by providing decisionmakers with the latest data on abortion, strengthening the capacity of advocates to achieve policy goals, and working with journalists to improve evidence-based reporting.

The Challenge

Thousands of women in sub-Saharan Africa die each year from pregnancy-related causes. Unsafe abortions account for one in seven maternal deaths in Africa, and more than 1.5 million women are treated each year for complications from unsafe abortion. Young African women are especially affected: More than half of unsafe abortions in the region are among women under age 25. Reducing deaths from unsafe abortion requires a policy environment that supports women to equitably access comprehensive prevention and treatment services—contraception, safe abortion, and postabortion care.

Our Approach

The four-year SAFE ENGAGE project is implemented in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lagos state in Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. SAFE ENGAGE also contains a rapid response mechanism through which other national and regional partners can request creative, data-driven communications materials to support specific advocacy objectives.

 

SAFE ENGAGE

  • Advances policy dialogue for safe abortion by creating compelling evidence-based multimedia presentations and other materials for policymakers, advocates, and journalists.
  • Builds country-level individual and institutional capacity to use evidence for policy advocacy to promote safe abortion and reduce unsafe abortion.
  • Works with journalists to increase the quality and quantity of evidence-based news coverage on safe abortion through in-country media training and journalists’ engagement.

Impact

SAFE ENGAGE established four country-level task forces that brought together demographers, economists, medical professionals, women’s health and rights proponents, policymakers from government ministries, and parliamentarians for discussions about abortion. These task forces created spaces for collaboration and information sharing that broadened dialogue to include new perspectives, created consensus around objectives and messages, and renewed a focus on evidence. Each task force produced and disseminated ENGAGE multimedia presentation packages. This process strengthened the capacity of task force members to use data and messaging effectively in their own presentations and materials, strengthened collaboration and consensus among safe abortion champions, and generated important policy conversations that are continuing today.

SAFE ENGAGE also supported an intensive media training effort to equip a cadre of journalists in each country to accurately report on the policies and laws surrounding abortion and the determinants, incidence, and consequences of unsafe abortion. Each country setting required its own context-specific focus, and this tailored approach has reaped the reward of high-quality reporting across diverse news outlets.

During the second phase of the project, SAFE ENGAGE built on the work of the task forces by conducting policy communication training and regional learning exchanges to strengthen Task Force members’ ability to communicate with policy audiences and foster collaboration across neighboring countries. The regional learning exchanges also allowed participants to learn from each other’s successes and brainstorm approaches to overcoming shared challenges. SAFE ENGAGE also produced a guide to policy dialogue for safe abortion, which synthesized learning from the first phase of the project.

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Passages

PRB supports implementation science partners with knowledge translation and strategic communication to transform social norms for adolescent and youth reproductive health.

USAID, Institute for Reproductive Health-Georgetown University

The Challenge

Young people’s ability to forge healthy relationships is influenced by social norms—the informal rules that govern behavior in groups and societies—that are enforced by peers, families, and communities. Social norms shape behaviors related to sexual debut, intimate partner and sexual violence, and early marriage, as well as access to education and the services and information young people need to protect their health. Research has shown that investing in efforts to create normative change at the community (rather than individual) level, while ensuring supportive policies and access to good quality services, can bring about significant improvements in sexual and reproductive health.

PRB partners with the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), Georgetown University to support knowledge translation and strategic communication for the Passages Project, a USAID-funded implementation research project. Passages aims to address a broad range of social norms to achieve sustained improvements in family planning, reproductive health, and gender-based violence. PRB’s partnership expands Passages’ global leadership and dissemination efforts that focus on information synthesis, knowledge sharing, and capacity building.

Our Approach

In the first phase of the project, PRB developed a strategic communications plan to ensure the project’s legacy is well communicated to key stakeholders. Working with IRH and existing Passages consortium partners, PRB is developing a range of legacy products that are evidence-based, practical, and accessible to a targeted range of stakeholders:

  • In consultation with IRH, design, develop, review, and create a suite of visually compelling and technically engaging communications products drawing from Passages’ existing and emerging work, including but not limited to written, digital, and video products.
  • Design and implement in-person and digital knowledge-sharing/dissemination efforts.
  • Capture information on the impact of the Passages communications strategy to convey the project’s success and inform IRH’s future work.

 

Explore Passages Project resources

 

Follow the project on Twitter

 

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Center for Public Information on Population Research (CPIPR)

Improving the translation and distribution of major findings from population dynamics research and communication and cooperation across the NICHD Population Dynamics Research Centers.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The Challenge

With more data and information about population and health trends available than ever before, it’s challenging for policymakers, program directors, and other non-technical audiences to find and understand the research and data they need to inform policy and program decisions. At the same time, many population researchers lack the translational expertise needed to effectively bridge the gap between academic research and policy and program implementation.

The Center for Public Information on Population Research (CPIPR) at PRB was developed to help bridge this gap. Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), it serves as the Coordinating Center for the NICHD Population Dynamics Centers Research Infrastructure Program. Through CPIPR, PRB translates and disseminates major peer-reviewed findings to nontechnical audiences via a specialized website, online and print media, and social media channels.

Our Approach

The popresearchcenters.org website explains and publicizes the findings of research from the 20+ Population Dynamics Research Centers and provides a centralized source of information about new research and events at the Centers.

Key Center activities include:

  • Facilitation of coordination and cooperation across the NICHD-funded Population Dynamics Research Centers to enhance the productivity and scientific impact of the Centers and of population dynamics research overall.
  • Translation and dissemination of major peer-reviewed findings, methods, and perspectives from population dynamics research to other scientists and to nontechnical audiences including policymakers, program directors, practitioners, educators, journalists, and students.
  • Development and maintenance of a Population Dynamics Research Centers website that includes nontechnical summaries of recent research from the Centers.
  • Promotion of Population Dynamics Centers research through social media channels.
  • Organization of workshops at professional meetings and provision of training materials that empower Population Dynamics Center researchers to effectively communicate their own research results to policy, media, and nontechnical audiences.
  • Collaboration with Population Dynamics Research Centers and other organizations to organize and host symposia, congressional briefings, and other events to raise the visibility of population dynamics research and link major findings to important policies and programs.

Outcomes

PRB helps Population Dynamics Center researchers publicize their findings. For example, PRB’s article, “Married Women With Children and a Male Partner Do More Housework Than Single Moms,” is based on Center research. Using Mother’s Day as a hook, we developed a press release (issued via PR Newswire), an op-ed placed with the Washington Post, and a social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) including a short video and a series of posts. Our media relations team pitched the story to 300 media outlets, including major daily newspapers, national broadcast and print outlets, and key blogs and other online outlets. Our outreach results included 197 million media impressions through print, TV, radio, and online outlets. CPIPR also provided a one-hour media training for the four researchers to help them prepare for anticipated media interviews.

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KIDS COUNT Technical Assistance and Training

In partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, PRB provides training to the KIDS COUNT Network and helps child advocates stay informed about relevant data and how to best communicate it.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Challenge

More data and ways of communicating information are available than ever before. KIDS COUNT Network members do not always have the resources available to stay informed about existing and new datasets or about best practices regarding data analysis and data communication.

PRB supports the work of the KIDS COUNT Network by providing high-quality training and technical assistance to state-level child advocates. Our work helps build Network members’ analytic capabilities, which they can apply to work on children’s issues more effectively in their states.

Our Approach

For more than 15 years, PRB has provided the KIDS COUNT Network with data workshops, webinars, videos, and how-to guides to help members stay informed about existing and new datasets, learn important information and caveats regarding data, share best practices for using data and communicating information clearly, and learn from one another.

Our work helps build Network members’ analytic capabilities, which they can apply to work on children’s issues in their states.

Impact

PRB’s technical assistance and training have helped to build Network members’ abilities to fully utilize datasets, analytic techniques, and communication practices to support their work on children’s issues. Network members have been able to respond to changing data and analytic needs by expanding their use of data disaggregated by race and ethnicity or by smaller geographic levels, increasing the use of data visualization and improving their data management strategies.

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Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)

RTAC serves as a strategic resource to the United States Agency for International Development, leveraging academic researchers’ scientific expertise to provide research, specialized training, and short-term technical assistance.

Research Division of the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub in the USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation

The Challenge

The data and evidence that decisionmakers and communities need to develop effective policies, programs, and practices are often not accessible or presented in usable formats. Through the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), PRB supports research uptake by helping researchers communicate their work more effectively to diverse audiences and assisting in development of research-to-action plans.

Our Approach

Led by NORC at the University of Chicago and in collaboration with its partners, RTAC aims to accelerate the impact of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) development investments in a variety of sectors by 1) connecting USAID to a diverse, global network of academic researchers to promote new partnerships; 2) supporting USAID’s missions, bureaus, and independent offices to make evidence-based decisions; and 3) sharing newly generated research, tools, and trainings to foster collective learning and strengthen capacity.

As a key project partner, PRB provides leadership on strategic communications and research utilization. We work closely with USAID-funded researchers to develop tailored research-to-action plans to help ensure that their research answered the right questions, reached the right audiences, and informed decision-making. We package and share evidence in accessible and creative ways, always keeping in mind the needs and work of decisionmakers, donors, and program implementers. PRB also designs and delivers interactive trainings to strengthen the capacity of USAID staff and implementing partners so that they can use and communicate research effectively to improve global programming.

Impact

PRB provides technical assistance to researchers in more than 10 countries in fields ranging from medicine to biology to engineering, working with them to write and produce training manuals, policy briefs, fact sheets, and presentations. Our assistance helps research teams identify a broad range of stakeholders, gather information about how these stakeholders might use the results of their research, and identify how to best communicate with them. We have built researcher skills in engaging decisionmakers and, as a result, researchers have garnered government support to add their off-grid cooling innovation to operational guidelines written by one government department in India. In the Philippines, another group of researchers strengthened support within their own institution for their research dissemination activities after giving a presentation they developed with PRB’s assistance.

RTAC is a part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) 2.0 portfolio of programs, which is managed by the Research Division of the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub in the USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation.

 

Explore the Project Website

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MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator

MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator leverages learning and evidence to tell a shared story and create broader impact in maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning/reproductive health; and nutrition.

USAID

The Challenge

Over the past three decades, the health status of women, newborns, and children has improved significantly. These gains, however, have not been equal across or within countries, and challenges remain. Globally, 287,000 mothers and 5 million children under age 5 still die each year, primarily in low- and middle-income countries and from preventable causes.

MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator is the “connector” of USAID’s MOMENTUM program, a flagship investment to accelerate improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning; and reproductive health. Through collaboration to integrate best practices and learning in local contexts in nearly 40 countries, MOMENTUM improves the reach of services and quality of care for women, children, and families within communities, at facilities, and throughout health systems. MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator harmonizes data capture and analysis, facilitates learning and adaptation, packages and shares synthesized knowledge, and tells the story of MOMENTUM’s investments and achievements. 

Our Approach

MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator serves an innovative role across four pillars: monitoring and measurement, knowledge management, adaptive learning, and strategic communications. We work to improve measurement of complex health topics, define and implement a learning agenda to provide MOMENTUM partners with the right information to make real-time changes and learn from each other, compile and share information that can inform action within and beyond MOMENTUM, and unify and amplify MOMENTUM’s messages.  

The project develops, tests, and adapts metrics for critical health topics, such as primary health care and patients’ experience of care in health facilities, and summarizes new global health measurement recommendations. We facilitate learning and adaptation on complex topics, such as the role of social accountability in respectful care, health systems strengthening responses to COVID-19, and new models of care for small and/or sick newborns. Our creative, user-friendly knowledge resources and interactive knowledge exchanges ensure that MOMENTUM is both informing and informed by the global health community, with a focus on expertise at the country level. Our communications platforms for sharing resources and insights tell the story of MOMENTUM’s mission and elevate voices of those implementing and affected by MOMENTUM’s work. 

PRB leads a dynamic team that includes JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. and Ariadne Labs, the innovation center at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as core partners. Together, the team supports the MOMENTUM suite to build on existing evidence and best practices, introduce new ideas and approaches, and facilitate adaptive learning and management of interventions to improve the health of women and children. 

 

MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator website

MOMENTUM Knowledge Accelerator catalyzes engagement with and uptake of the latest learning in maternal, newborn, child, and reproductive health within and beyond the MOMENTUM programs.

Elizabeth Leahy Madsen,  Project Director and PRB Associate Vice President for International Programs