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Our blog: 'Mind the Gap'

For humanitarians moving forward

NEW PUBLICATION | Designing Health Innovation Programs in Low-and Middle-Income Countries

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – specifically SDG 3 but also other health-related SDGs – acknowledge that ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages is essential to sustainabledevelopment, and as such, they include universal health coverage (UHC) as a crosscutting and unifying objective. Before the COVID-19 global pandemic, major progress had been achieved on improving the health of millions of people worldwide, including: higher life expectancy, reduced maternal and child mortality, and increasedimmunization coverage. However, to address persistent and emerging health challenges and reach the SDGs by 2030, this progress must be considerably accelerated, especially with ...
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Finding the rights tools for social impact measurement

‘How can we realistically and effectively measure social impact without being overwhelmed?”. This is probably one of the most recurrent questions startups have been asking us over the years. A common limitation we witness with social impact measurement methods for startups is that they are often approached mainly from the investment and/or PR angles. Attracting investors and creating solid visibility are absolutely vital for the startups’ growth. But measuring impact goes deeper than that. Social impact measurement is also and, in our view, primarily about assessing and bolstering the ‘positive change(s)’ we can make. But defining ‘positive change’ is not ...
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How can startups better integrate SDG 5 into their work?

By Ophelie Namiech Today, for international women day, I was asked to give a presentation at Google on how start-ups can better integrate SDG 5 into their work.  SDG 5 aims at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.  Gender equality has been widely recognized as a driver of social and economic development and progress. As such, companies and organizations have developed good practices contributing to the SDG journey: Some are working to improve services and information for women and girls by leveraging technologies. For example, UNICEF establishes virtual safe places for women and girls to provide remote services in war-torn ...
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2020 year in review

Want to learn more about what we achieved in 2020 and our vision for 2021? We are proud to share with you our ‘2020 Year in Review’ video. In 2020, we supported 12 new #projects in 9 countries and territories. We worked with 14 amazing #partners globally. And we achieved a lot, together with our partners and communities. Learn more by watching the video below! We look forward to working, creating, and innovating with you to address the world’s most pressing challenges and embrace new opportunities in 2021! Special thanks to the fantastic Hannah Friedland who put together the video! And the amazing Ben Dagani  for ...
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NEW REPORT PUBLISHED ON WOMEN LIVELIHOODS & RESILIENCE IN COMPLEX & VOLATILE ENVIRONMENTS

** NEW REPORT PUBLISHED ** We are happy to share with you the latest report written by OPHELIE NAMIECH from Mindset-PCS (People-Centered Solutions) with JDC (The Joint) on ‘Women’s livelihoods and resilience in complex and volatile environments – A best practices analysis’. “As the nature of emergencies is rapidly changing and global development challenges are becoming more pressing than ever, women are particularly at risk of bearing the harmful social and economic price of recurring shocks and stresses. There is a need, therefore, to identify effective, sustainable, cost-effective and innovative practices to strengthen the capacity of women to reduce risks and vulnerabilities, while preserving and strengthening ...
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Drafting successful grants for resilience innovation

How to obtain funding from calls for proposals for humanitarian and development innovation? This is the ‘one million dollars’ question, Mindset-PCS and Google discussed last week during a workshop aimed at 30+ start-ups working towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Calls for proposals is one way –  among other channels –  to obtain funding from institutional partners in the humanitarian and development sectors (for more information about securing direct institutional partnerships see past blog post here).The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities out there! The lesser good news is that this channel requires a ...
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2020 hit us hard but what if …

By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS. 2020 hit us hard. We all agree on that. A global pandemic profoundly transformed the way we live, work, and think. The way we imagine our future. As humans. And as humanitarians. For the worst, and maybe, also for the better. COVID-19 shed lights on urgent global threats that have been lurking above our heads before 2020: rampant violence against women and girls, unstable livelihoods, soaring food insecurity, growing social and economic inequalities, climate change, and environmental degradation. Our planet, our humanity, have been hurting for a while. Maybe, a global shock was needed to highlight ...
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6 recommendations for start-ups to secure partnerships in the ‘aid’ world.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which sets out the SDGs envisions a “revitalized global partnership for sustainable development” based on the understanding that the UN and governments do not have the reach nor the resources to achieve the Goals alone. Engagement, especially with the private sector, is imperative for the 2030 Agenda to succeed. Our world faces increasingly complex and inter-connected challenges, such as: highest displacement rates on records, soaring global food insecurity, increased structural social and economic inequalities, climate change and environmental degradation, or global health  risks that affect us all. If we want to stand a chance ...
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How to effectively integrate innovation into NGO programming?

This was the core question Ophelie Namiech (from Mindset-PCS), Yau Ben Or (from Rural Senses) and David Githiri (from UNHCR Uganda) addressed this week at the Google for nonprofits summit. We are sharing the highlights and core messages from the session in this blog post as well as an attached list with key recommendations for NGOs! The article below and the attached list are joint contributions from Mindset-PCS, Rural Senses, and UNHCR in the framework of the Google for non-profit summit. * * * Innovation. This word has been buzzing around our humanitarian spheres for quite some time now. What ...
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Working together towards the SDGs: our new partnership with UNHCR

We are delighted to announce our latest partnership with UNHCR to explore private sector engagement strategies and alternative partnerships. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which sets out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) envisions a “revitalized global partnership for sustainable development” based on the understanding that the UN and governments do not have the reach nor the resources to achieve the Goals alone. Engagement, especially with the private sector, is imperative for the 2030 Agenda to succeed, and for inter-governmental agencies and their partners to address the needs of the most at-risk communities and strengthen resilience in a meaningful, effective, ...
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Methods & Tools for Meaningful Community Engagement

There is a clear fatigue among communities in humanitarian settings towards the overwhelming and often imposing presence of humanitarian actors collecting information in times of crisis, often duplicating efforts, and limiting genuine engagement. It is crucial to address this major limitation by maximizing existing and trusting community and partners’ network, assets, and activities, as well as to adapt the way we work with communities. We recommend using community engagement methods that move away from the ‘traditional’ yet often counterproductive top down ‘focus-group discussion-only’ format which tends to create unbalanced relationships between interviewers and interviewees. We reviewed existing methods borrowed from ...
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World Humanitarian Day 2020

What drives humanitarians to continue save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, and risks linked to COVID-19: women voices from the field We are pleased to introduce you to amazing women humanitarians who are doing wonders all around the world to support their disaster-stroked or disaster-prone communities, and tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges! We selected these incredible women to pay tribute to their dedication, commitment, and inspiring vision. They are running around bringing positive changes in their communities, but we rarely read about them in the news. That is why we wanted to shed the lights on them today and listen to their ...
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World Refugee Day: Localizing innovation to address displacement challenges

Can innovation and technology help us do a better job in displacement settings? Our latest blog post explores good (and less good) practices with regards to innovation and technologies addressing displacement. It recommends more investment in localized innovation processes and solutions, while suggesting how to best capitalize on ‘external’ technologies. By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS. For the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day, UNHCR released its global report on displacement: more than 1% of the world population is forcibly displaced today.[1] Yet, despite billions of dollars spent annually[2], the aid community has thus far failed to address the deep root causes ...
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Practical Best Practices on Humanitarian-Development Nexus

Last week, UNICEF asked Mindset-PCS to share best practices on humanitarian-development nexus. Here is a rapid overview of core recommendations. As the nature of emergencies changes and development challenges are more concerning than ever before, current ways of conceptualizing and providing humanitarian and development assistance are being challenged. There is a need to find faster, cheaper, more effective, and more sustainable ways to support and work with communities affected by crisis, displacement and structural vulnerabilities. In such context, the international community has been advocating to connect the once-separated humanitarian and development sectors. The ‘nexus approach’ requires humanitarian and development actors ...
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Where are the women from the Global South in humanitarian panels?

By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS. A few weeks ago, while preparing a panel on humanitarian funding, my colleague Karen and I received an uplifting message from a potential speaker: “I will be happy to join the panel provided that the panel selection will genuinely guarantee gender balance and diversity”. As we are striving to champion gender equality, diversity, and inclusiveness in all levels of our work, we were thrilled with such pledge. Yet, it was one of the rare times, in 13 years of humanitarian work, that I came across such a conditionality from a guest speaker. The humanitarian profession, compared to many other ...
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“SDG money: Exploring institutional fundraising pathways for innovation”

As part of Google’s SDG accelerator, Karen and Ophelie from Mindset-PCS facilitated a session**, on May 19, on “SDG innovation money: Exploring institutional fundraising pathways”, for 11 amazing start-ups. * * * The humanitarian and development sector is not an impenetrable fortress for start-ups as many may think. It offers (maybe hides?) a multitude of funding opportunities that may not be obvious to entrepreneurs who are often more familiar with traditional innovation funding mechanisms. In this session, we explored three concrete pathways to obtain innovation funding from institutional donors and (inter)governmental agencies: 1) grant-making; 2) direct partnerships (bilateral and triangular ...
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It is time to be genuine with our do-no-harm approach

By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS ** As humanitarian practitioners, we hear a lot about do-no-harm. Many of us have had to fill up that ‘do-no-harm’ box in calls for proposal countless times. We have learned, sometimes at our own expenses, that activities should not exacerbate nor create tensions or inequalities. Yet, too many activities still disrupt the social, economic, cultural, and natural environment of the communities where we work. Sometimes, we are even too busy with our own experience, assumptions, and responsibilities to realize that our presence does undermine community relations and structures. Community engagement has been recognized as a core ...
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The silent pandemic we don’t hear about

By Ophelie Namiech, senior advisor in humanitarian affairs** While the COVID-19 pandemic is raging around the globe, another yet more silent tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes. Violence against women and girls is bursting everywhere. Prior to the virus, 30% of women in a relationship experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence from their partners during their lifetime. The gloomy reality of violence against women and girls is now exponentially soaring due to the current global health crisis. Since early April, half of the world’s population has been on lock-down. This means that at least 30% of women in partnerships are currently ...
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Combating effectively COVID-19 in fragile environments with WASH resilience

By Jose Luis Martin Bordes, Senior WASH specialist and advisor (Mindset-PCS’s pool of advisors)** “We don’t have enough water to drink and cook our food, so where will we get water to wash our hands frequently?” lamented Anna, a resident of the Kibera slum, when the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kenya was announced in March. Anna is a single mother of seven children making a living as a nanny in the most populated slum of Nairobi – and largest urban slum in Africa.[1] In Kijiji Southlands slum, also in Kenya, Beatrice is well-aware of the coronavirus risks but ...
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Welcome to ‘Mind the gap’, our latest humanitarian community blog

Dear fellow humanitarians and MindSeters, In this challenging time of Coronavirus, we face fear, uncertainty, emotional and geographical distance, isolation, disease, and an overwhelming influx of information. We can no longer rely on our comforting routines, and are forced to construct new habits to adapt to this changing reality. A locked-down world is painfully trying to combat an invisible yet hideous shadow constantly lingering over our heads. Yes, we are in a crisis.  Yet, despite this unsettling reality, we are witnessing a surge of inspiring community coping mechanisms and good practices everywhere.  We are discovering ways to band together, tapping ...
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