The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty.
CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.
COVID - 19 & Nutrition: Crisis And Opportunity
Originally recorded on February 26, 2021.
Shawn Baker, Chief Nutritionist for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) continued the discussion after a virtual CID Speaker Series event held on February 26, 2021, exploring their work further with CID Student Ambassador Sama Kubba.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented threat to nutrition. It is simultaneously disrupting every sector that families rely on to nourish their children. As families’ incomes drop, they can no longer afford nutritious foods. Producers and sellers of nutritious foods are struggling to stay afloat. Health systems are overwhelmed, and families are more reluctant to access needed healthcare, while necessary efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are decreasing coverage of life-saving care.
In December, startling projections of the secondary impacts from COVID-19 on maternal and child nutrition and economic development were released. Shawn Baker, USAID's Chief Nutritionist, will share the latest data on the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on nutrition, as well as insights into how USAID and its partners are using this data to adapt programming and ensure a more effective, coordinated response to address this global nutrition crisis.
Shawn Baker is the Chief Nutritionist for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In this position, he chairs the Agency’s Nutrition Leadership Council, oversees the vision and strategy of the Agency’s Center for Nutrition in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, and coordinates related efforts across USAID. He also guides USAID’s investments and engagement with partners to address malnutrition in developing countries.
The Transformation of the International Finance Corporation
Originally recorded on February 12, 2021.
Philippe Le Houérou, former CEO of the IFC continued the discussion after a virtual CID Speaker Series event held on February 12, 2021, exploring their work further with CID Student Ambassador Rohit Subramanian.
Philippe Le Houérou discussed the reforms and changes implemented at the International Finance Corporations (IFC) from 20016-to 2020. The IFC is the arm of the World Bank Group that invests in (and with) the private sector in emerging and developing economies and shared his views on the role of the private sector and development finance in the 21st century, the link between public and private partnerships, and key challenges and constraints facing the poorest countries.
Global Mobility and the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries
Originally recorded on January 29th, 2021.
Michael Clemens, Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy, Center for Global Development and Thomas Ginn, Research Fellow, Center for Global Development continue their discussion after a virtual CID Speaker Series event held on January 29th, 2021, exploring their work further with CID Student Ambassador Sama Kubba.
Countries restrict the overall extent of international travel and migration to balance the expected costs and benefits of mobility. Given the ever-present threat of new, future pandemics, how should permanent restrictions on mobility respond? A simple theoretical framework predicts that reduced exposure to pre-pandemic international mobility causes a slightly slower arrival of the pathogen. A standard epidemiological model predicts no decrease in the harm of the pathogen if travel ceases thereafter and only a slight decrease in the harm (for plausible parameters) if travel does not cease.
Researchers at the Center for Global Development, including featured speakers Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn, test these predictions across four global pandemics in three different centuries: the influenza pandemics that began in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 2009. They find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1–2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality. The case for permanent limits on international mobility to reduce the harm of future pandemics is weak.
Emerging Evidence On The Socio-Economic Impacts Of COVID-19 On Households
Originally recorded on December 4, 2020.
Carolina Sanchez-Paramo, Global Director of Poverty & Equity Global Practice at the World Bank, continues her discussion after a virtual CID Speaker Series event on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis on households, which are significant, pervasive, and worsening in some cases. The design and implementation of an effective policy response requires that decision makers have access to timely information about who is affected and how. With COVID-19 having brought traditional data collection efforts to a halt, last spring the World Bank launched an unprecedented data collection effort aimed at filling this critical information gap. As part of this effort, phone surveys are currently under implementation or preparation in over 100 countries to obtain real-time information on the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic on households and individuals.
Carolina Sanchez is the Global Director of Poverty & Equity Global Practice at the World Bank. In her talk, she drew from from this data and other analysis to present the latest evidence on the poverty and distributional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis.
Smart Containment with Active Learning: Proposal for a Data-Responsive & Graded Approach to COVID-19
Originally recorded on November 13th, 2020.
CID Director Asim I. Khwaja joined us after CID's virtual Speaker Series event for further discussion on his research proposal for governments to face the challenges of COVID-19 faster and better, using the Smart Containment with Active Learning (SCALE) strategy. SCALE is an active learning strategy that tests and refines policy in real-time through a context-specific approach, according to the local prevalence of COVID-19.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments face a difficult tradeoff, particularly in developing countries. Government officials must decide either to keep their economies open and risk thousands of lives or implement a lockdown and risk economic collapse, which may also result in many non-COVID related deaths. Even worse they must make these decisions without knowing what the real tradeoff between them is.
Lockdowns hit low-income countries especially hard. Larger informal workforces mean newly vulnerable populations are harder to target for support. Chains of food production and distribution are more fragile. With many people living on the margins of starvation, a higher prevalence of disease, and poor healthcare, non COVID related morbidity risks are high. The government also has limited money and public capacity to rely upon.
To learn more about SCALE, please visit CID's website: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/cid/publications/smart-containment-with-active-learning
The Millions Learning Project: Scaling Quality Education to Children & Youth
Originally recorded on November 20, 2020
Jenny Perlman Robinson and Molly Curtiss joined us at CID's virtual Speaker Series event and sat down with us for further discussion on their work on scaling and education at the Center for Universal Education(CUE), Brookings Institution.
Despite growing evidence on what works to improve access and quality in education, the world continues to face a global learning crisis, with 258 million children already out of school and 617 million children and adolescents in school but not learning the basics even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools around the globe. While there are many initiatives working to address this challenge at a small-scale, they often do not translate into the large-scale, systemic change required. Since 2014, the Millions Learning project, led by the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution, has examined how and under what conditions education policies and programs have gone to scale in developing contexts. Drawing upon literature and case studies from around the world, the 2016 report, Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries, identified 14 core ingredients that, in different combinations depending on the context, contribute to scaling effective practices and approaches that improve learning. Now in the second phase of the project, CUE is implementing Real-time Scaling Labs, an action research project undertaken in partnership with local institutions and governments in several countries to support, learn from, and document the scaling process in real-time. The ultimate goal of these labs is to support initiatives as they deepen and expand while simultaneously gaining deeper insight into how policymakers, civil society, and the private sector can most effectively work together to bring about large-scale transformation in the quality of children’s learning and their development. This presentation will share key insights and lessons learned from the Millions Learning project to date, including the key drivers of scaling impact in education and common scaling barriers, alongside illustrative examples from the Real-time Scaling Labs currently underway.
Jenny Perlman Robinson is senior fellow at the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution where she leads CUE’s efforts to build the evidence and produce practical guidance for scaling effective education initiatives through the Millions Learning project. Molly Curtiss is a senior research analyst at the Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education (CUE), where she has worked on the Millions Learning project since 2017.