Forum 2018 Breakout Sessions

Please note that this schedule is subject to change.



11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

A Key to SDG-3: Thriving Local Health Centers

Michael Nyenhuis, Americares; Dr. E. Anne Peterson, Americares; Fiona Shanks, International Medical Corps; Jim Sherry, URC

Ensuring good health and well-being for all ages (the goal of SDG-3) will not happen unless the local hospitals, clinics and health posts people in resource-poor communities rely on daily for health information, education and services can serve them well. Such health centers should be the foundation of a strong health system rather than the weak link and yet are too often overlooked as resources are prioritized elsewhere. A thriving local health center is staffed by trained and caring health workers who have access to basic medicines, supplies and equipment, build trusting relationships with the communities they serve and strong connections to the rest of the health system. This session will identify what is missing at the local health center, how to fill gaps that will help achieve SDG-3 and will rally support for this essential component of global health infrastructure.

Community Philanthropy: Local Funding for Sustainable Impacts

David Jacobstein, USAID; Megan Scanlon, Aga Khan Foundation; Dan Spealman, Aga Khan Foundation; Maryanne Yerkes, USAID

Cultivating local funding sources for civil society is critical for ensuring sustainable development, as reflected in SDG17. Yet policymakers, leaders, and practitioners alike doubt that this is possible. The Aga Khan Foundation and USAID will lead a session focused on enhancing sustainability through community philanthropy. Community philanthropy occurs when citizens mobilize their own financial and non-financial assets for development. AKF and USAID foster community philanthropy in diverse contexts including as members of a Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy. Participants will discuss cases of supporting community philanthropy in practice, including implementation of ecosystem approaches such as e-philanthropy and blended learning. Participants will discuss the policy shifts at the systemic and organizational levels necessary for the international development field to support community philanthropy at scale. They will also identify and discuss approaches that might be applicable in their own work, share others they have learned, and problem-solve potential challenges in implementation.

Finding Hope in Crisis: Addressing Challenges for Syrian Youth and Children

Sahar Atrache, Syrian American Medical Society; Caitlin Carr, Mercy Corps; Amy Richmond, Save the Children; Mark Smith, World Vision

In its seventh year, the Syria crisis continues to negatively impact youth and children inside Syria and neighboring countries in the region. Humanitarian operations inside Syria are characterized by ongoing conflict, limited access and bureaucratic impediments but agencies continue to deliver assistance to those in great need. This session will focus on some of the main challenges in providing education, health and protection to Syrian youth and children. The session will also demonstrate the resilience of Syrian youth who continue to advocate for their futures and share their hopes for Syria.

Is There a Right Formula for Women’s Empowerment?

Laurie Adams, Women for Women International

There has been a lot of buzz around the term “women’s empowerment” in 2017. A Washington Post article critiqued the one-dimensional focus on income-generation programs. Another op-ed on the New York Times debunked the myth that focusing only on women’s economic empowerment via vocational skills is the key to breaking gendered barriers. These conversations require those of us working in international development to think critically about how we define, design programs, and measure women’s “empowerment”. Women for Women International (WfWI) has worked with marginalized women in communities impacted by conflict and war for 25 years. Our unique approach to women’s empowerment can serve as a case study of an integrated, multi-component approach focused on both economic and social empowerment. At this interactive session, WfWI’s CEO Laurie Adams will discuss our approach and other prevalent models for women’s empowerment and attendees will compare and contrast in small groups and share findings.

Making the Exception the Norm: Planning for Responsible and Successful INGO Exits

Farzana Ahmed, Peace Direct; Haley Dillan, Search for Common Ground; Holta Trandafili, World Vision United States; Kiely Barnard-Webster, CDA Collaborative Learning Projects

This session is proposed by the Stopping as Success (SAS) consortium and World Vision. The Stopping as Success team will present initial findings and implications for practice from cases in which INGOs have successfully exited or transitioned to a locally-led organization or initiative. World Vision will present findings from ex-post studies carried out between one and five years after closure of nine multi-sectoral programs and describe how findings have shaped recommendations for exit planning for ongoing and new programs. Key themes: understanding international aid systems across contexts and highlighting lessons from models of positive deviance (because careful exit-planning is not yet the norm!). This session is modeled as a Davos-style panel with generous time for discussion. The format will engage the audience as experienced colleagues and development practitioners who have themselves observed, planned and implemented transitions and sustainability plans.

NFP Board Governance

Mark Oster, Grant Thornton LLP

Given increased accountability to constituents, donors and regulators for accuracy and integrity of business operations, heightened expectations of boards for transparency and effectiveness, and greater media coverage of lapses in good governance, strong board performance is essential. When done right, governance activities of boards can not only provide needed oversight, but can contribute in meaningful ways to organizational success – and mission achievement. In this presentation, we will address key governance principles for Boards in the not-for-profit sector, focusing on modes of governance, responsibilities of the board and of individual trustees, characteristics of high performing boards and current governance issues and associated best practices. The presentation will be based on Grant Thornton’s “Not-for-Profit Board Guidebook,” which covers key best practices, as well as the issues trustees face as they do their work.

Remote Management in Fragile Settings

Caroline Andressen, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance USAID; Andrea Gosselin, Relief International; Andrew Moore, The Operations Partnership; Nancy Wilson, Relief International

Given the current humanitarian environment, remote management of programs is becoming more common as organizations find themselves managing personnel, delivering impact, and mitigating risk in complex environments. This session will be focused on problem solving issues in remote management, using a toolkit provided.

Using Data and Visual Communications to Create a Bigger Impact in the Humanitarian Field

Stefani Drake, Drake Strategies; Joshua Drake, Joshua Drake Photography; Kristine Wager, KW Media

Visual communication and storytelling is important for an NGO to amplify their message, report to donors, improve fundraising efforts, provide learning to other NGO’s and to create an innovative solution to the problem at hand. In this panel discussion, the importance of intersecting data with powerful visuals to move an audience from empathy to action will be discussed. Our panelists will use real life examples to demonstrate the power of stories in ordinary reporting, communications and advocacy, as well as work with the audience to think through how they can better tell their story as an organization. This expert panel will share examples from NGOs around the world and give real life applications for any NGO to improve their ability to use communication as a tool for expanding ones impact.


1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

A Perfect Marriage? Bridging the Divide Between Qualitative, User-driven Approaches to Innovation and Evidenced-based Program Design

Keith Ives, Causal Design; Ian Lobo, Accenture; Michelle Risinger, Pact

Digital solutions in and outside the development sector are calling for user-driven approaches, and human-centered design and behavioral design-centered solutions have emerged as popular methods for designing around highly-targeted beneficiary needs. Coupled with the rise in “scaling what works” in the social impact sector, it begs the question, how do you measure innovation? How do you take localized solutions to scale with the necessary rigor to enact lasting change? What role do results play in innovation? When do you know it’s time to stop iterating on an innovative concept? Can we call this innovation or are we just reinventing the wheel? This interactive panel will explore these questions as three organizations share their experience with building innovative pathways to better development outcomes. Participants will also share their insights, creating potential answers to these unanswered questions.

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion

Bill Abrams, Trickle Up; Shawna Bader-Blau, Solidarity Center; Robert Bank, American Jewish World Service; Susan Sygall, Mobility International USA

At InterAction’s most recent CEO Retreat, member CEOs devoted ample time and attention to issues of diversity and inclusion, themes which are at the heart of making progress on our shared goals of access to services and security for all people. This session will open discussion from the CEO Retreat to the wider Forum in order to share the information, resources, and strategies that organizations are utilizing to engage “marginalized” populations including women; people with disabilities, racial, indigenous and religious identities; LGBTI identities; youth and older persons; and displaced persons. A panel of high-level leaders from InterAction member organizations - which may include World Learning, Plan International, Solidarity Center, American Jewish World Service, Trickle Up and Mobility International USA - will review their efforts and share specific resources and successful models. A significant part of the session will be interactive, with exercises designed for participants to contribute their own perspectives and experiences.

Aid Reform: Making Lemonade or Transformation?

Justin Fugle, Plan International USA; Liz Marcey, CARE USA; Randy Tift, USAID’s Office of Acquisitions and Assistance (OAA) ; Didier Trinh, Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

Draconian proposed cuts and harsh rhetoric from the White House continue to ring alarm bells throughout the development community. At the same time, USAID Administrator Mark Green has laid out an aid reform agenda with the potential to move USAID in a positive direction. This clear policy disconnect within the Administration leaves the Hill with the decisive role and offers the development community significant opportunities to shape the debate. The main components of Green’s agenda -- like strategic transitions, new sources of aid financing and more flexible funding for USAID – have the potential to cut both ways. So, how can the Interaction community ensure USAID avoids fatal missteps to emerge unscathed and even elevated by these reform efforts? The session will feature a facilitated panel discussion with a representative from USAID and two experts on the current policy debates and opportunities for influence.

Beyond GDPR: The Whats, Whys, and Hows of Data Protection

Audra Blanchfield, Dobility, Inc./SurveyCTO; Reid Porter, InterAction; Linda Raftree, Independent Consultant and MERL Tech Organizer; Joel Urbanowicz, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and similar policies elsewhere in the world have caused great consternation in our community. We certainly need to respect the regulatory environments we operate in, but we should go much, much further to protect stakeholder privacy and manage the risk associated with the collection, storage, transfer and use of data. Recognition of digital risk in humanitarian and development realms has prompted the development, for example, of USAID’s forthcoming responsible data guidance and revisions to the Professional Standards for Protection. However, our community is still hampered by a lack of awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity to this important topic. In this session, we will make a values-based case for implementing robust standards and data protection systems, examine the pitfalls of not doing so, and explore supportive resources that are available to humanitarian and development organizations.

Case Study: ACBAR Twinning Program Capacity Building through Partnerships

Dawn Erickson, ACBAR

The ACBAR Twinning Program commenced in 2015 to address the lack of capacity of National NGO (NNGOs) in Afghanistan providing humanitarian aid and lack of representation in the Common Humanitarian Fund. Amidst a multiplication of humanitarian crises worldwide, donors’ aversion to risk and demands for accountability are increasing. Consequently, in many countries humanitarian focused NNGOs struggle to meet donor requirements for funding. The Twinning Program which is funded by the British people addresses this by pairing NNGOs that provide humanitarian relief with INGOs that provide mentoring and guidance on institutional management, humanitarian practices and strategy. The NNGOs, INGOs and ACBAR have a tripartite MoU that focuses on the activities to improve the NNGOs’ capacity to meet donor requirements and to deliver humanitarian relief. NNGO achievements will be included in the session presentations along with how to design, implement and monitor this type of program to have optimum results.

Improving Program Delivery through Better Analysis

Lauren Rajczak, InterAction; Christina Wille, Insecurity Insight

Humanitarian and Development organizations need context-specific information to understand the unique security concerns that put staff at risk and hinder access to beneficiary populations. Incident reporting and using the information to better understand context and therefore improve the decision-making process is key for program access, as well as determining appropriate risk management measures. This information is best gathered through the analysis of pooled security incident data - but many organizations often find they do not have access to information that would help them improve their decision-making confidence on a strategic level. Utilizing a shared database of incidents can also help organizations meet their duty of care requirements through a broader understanding of the context. The 21-month Security Incident Information Management (SIIM) project, The Security Incident Information Management (SIIM) project is funded by EU Humanitarian Aid and OFDA through Save the Children U.S. aims to improve organizational and sectoral capacity in this area. Data provided through this project is also used to help strengthen advocacy and messaging around protecting medical personnel and facilities through the Safeguarding Health in Conflict as well as the monthly newsletter on Education in Danger. Please join Insecurity Insight’s Director Christina Wille and InterAction’s Lauren Rajczak as we discuss the project and answer questions on how your organization may benefit from participating. Our workshop will include a short interactive presentation.

INGOs at Home: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Sarah Henshaw, Global Communities; Ann Hollingsworth, Refugees International; Mark Smith, World Vision USA

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a Category 4 storm – claiming numerous lives and leaving millions without water or power. The need was great and response was slow, complicated by a number of factors. International NGOs that usually only perform work overseas began mobilizing to support the domestic disaster response effort. This session will draw on lessons learned from the Puerto Rico Hurricane Response to explore what role INGOs should have in a domestic response and how we can do better.

Monitoring and Evaluating Innovation: Did I succeed? How do I know?

Jenny MacCann, Response Innovation Lab; Alice Obrecht, ALNAP

When timelines are difficult to estimate and pathways to success are unknown, how can I know if my innovation is successful? During this workshop, participants will work in groups to apply the ALNAP-HIF Innovation success criteria to diverse real-world examples, examining how to turn a ‘bad’ fail into a ‘good’ fail. The groups will then reflect on the challenges of monitoring innovation processes and test the ALNAP-HIF Innovation Milestones, a framework for tracking the advancement of the process and if this is leading to success. The session will close with a debate on whether we should approach innovation processes differently than normal programming. To do this, we will look at new approaches to adaptive management in development and humanitarian aid to understand how lessons from monitoring innovation processes could be applied here.

Reimagining Capacity Building Through Innovation For #2030

Ann Canela, Philanthropy University; Connor Diemand-Yauman, Philanthropy University; Susan Jay, FHI 360; Karen Scriven, Mercy Corps

Experts broadly affirm that impactful international development depends on the vital work of local civil society organizations. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) confirm this, by explicitly calling upon the participation — and strengthening — of local organizations in order to achieve success. This panel will explore the innovative ways the sector is designing and delivering scalable, high impact capacity building initiatives. Panelists will discuss key advances emerging from Philanthropy University on scaling of capacity building, and how that impacts the work of large international agencies such as FHI 360 or Mercy Corps and their partners. Panelists will also share challenges in activating an inclusive vision, taking a solution to scale and evaluating outcomes over outputs. The session will conclude with a lively group discussion, inviting participation and questions from the audience.


2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Education & Advocacy: The Together Project's Work in Addressing Financial Access Issues for NGOs

Andrea Hall, Charity and Security Network; Trevor Moe, Zakat Foundation of America; Ayo Omoogun, Standard Chartered Bank; Mona Sehgal, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Dawn Sikorski; Islamic Relief-USA

As NGOs continue to expand their overseas activities amidst ongoing scrutiny from domestic and foreign banking laws and regulations, they need to be prepared to recognize and respond to unwarranted de-risking procedures. Bank de-risking can cause major operational challenges. The session will provide education and offer support for any organization operating internationally.

Fulfilling the Promise to Communities Caught in Protracted Displacement: What can Development, Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Actors do to Better Meet Needs?

Ciarán Donnelly, International Rescue Committee; Dina Esposito, Mercy Corps; Andrew Kent, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance USAID; Kate Phillips-Barasco, InterAction; Michael Shipler, Search for Common Ground

UN agencies and member states agreed to a monumental undertaking when they adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By that year, they aim to eradicate poverty, eliminate inequalities – including gender equality – build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, safeguard human rights and protect the planet. They also pledged to “leave no one behind” and “reach the furthest behind first”. This represents a huge promise, including for the tens of millions of people internally displaced around the world. Traditionally, however, the brunt of support to internally displaced populations (when international assistance is needed) often falls to humanitarian actors who are often not in fact best placed to provide support to communities over the long term. Within a recent review completed by OCHA, Breaking the Impasse; Reducing Protracted Internal Displacement as a Collective Outcome the authors assert that increased engagement from Development and Peacebuilding actors is critical to improving circumstances for people displaced within their own countries. From a practitioner perspective, what will it take to fulfill our collective responsibility towards displaced communities? What systemic changes do we need to advocate for? What must discomfort must NGOs get more comfortable with?

Guiding Steps for DM&E in Peacebuilding Programming: A Case Study Analysis

Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik, Alliance for Peacebuilding; Jack Farrell, Search for Common Ground; Isabella Jean, CDA Collaborative Learning; Francine Madden, Cpeace

The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium will present a new practical resource: “The Guiding Steps for Peacebuilding Design, Monitoring, & Evaluation.” This tool puts forward seven steps as the minimum that every peacebuilding program must go through to contribute robust evidence and learning to the peacebuilding field as a whole. Participants will work through a real peacebuilding case study to identify where these steps were or were not applied, obstacles to their application, and potential evaluation approaches once implementation has already occurred. This case study session will focus on practical opportunities for DM&E and peacebuilding practitioners to apply these Guiding Steps with their own staff and program stakeholders through exploration of a specific case study and reflecting on how it relates to their own programming. Participants in this session are encouraged to review the Guiding Steps document before the session.

How to be a Champion for Feminist Change in your Organization

Shawna Bader-Blau, Solidarity Center; Emily Bove, Women Thrive Alliance; Noel Schroeder, Women Thrive Alliance

Business-as-usual won’t cut it in international development if we are to reach gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030. In order to create broad systemic changes to end poverty and inequality, we need bold, transformative action. But we can’t support changemakers in the communities we serve until we become changemakers within our own institutions. Progress starts at home! This session will be a collaborative workshop to develop effective and practical strategies for individuals to become champions for feminist change within their organizations. Invited guests from grassroots groups, INGOs, and global networks will share their experiences in shaping organizations to work towards structural change rather than short-term outcomes and model feminist values in their internal and external practices. In small groups, participants will discuss the challenges and opportunities related to creating institutional change, and will leave the session with concrete steps that they can take within the next six months to be a champion for feminist change within their institution. Don’t be deterred by the jargon: individuals at any professional level are invited to participate, share, and learn. Our focus will be transformational change and how it can amplify the good we are delivering as a community at all levels, from our workplaces here in the USA to our programs abroad. You don’t need to identify as a feminist to join: please come and share your insights and ideas!

Improving our Collaborations for Better Development Outcomes

Gavin Charles, Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC); David M. Leege, Catholic Relief Services; Andreanne Martel, Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)

Why and how do you collaborate with Academics? Could better collaborations between civil society organizations and academics improve development programs, practice and outcomes? The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require us to engage with different development actors to have greater impact, and ground our work in timely, relevant research that will help us address pressing contemporary global challenges. The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), the Canadian equivalent to InterAction, launched in 2017-2018 a Regional Observatorio for North America to assess how civil society and academics are collaborating, to determine where and how these collaborations can be improved and be more impactful, and to encourage regional exchanges with organizations and academics on these findings both in Canada and the United States. This initiative aims to build knowledge for better development partnerships and more informed development monitoring in accordance with Target 16 of SDG 17 on multi-stakeholder partnerships. This session aims to share the findings from a comparative analysis of the Canadian and US context and build on participants’ experiences in doing academic-practitioner collaborations.

Information as Aid: Providing Internet Access in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Jono Anzalone, International Services; Colin Chaperon, International Services; Noe Hatchuel, International Services

Noe Hatchuel (Info as Aid Lead) will provide an overview on “Information as Aid” concept with various examples. Then, Colin Chaperon (Field Operations), who recently led Hurricanes Irma/Maria response operation in Puerto Rico, will share his stories, pictures, maps and experiences from the field implementing the concept by providing mobile hot spot to reconnect families immediately after the disaster. (An article for further details.) Jono Anzolone (VP of AmCross International Services) will moderate the session and the discussions overall.

Resilient Children, Resilient Families: Financial Empowerment through Children Youth Saving Groups (CYSG)

Evas Atwiine, ChildFund Uganda; Jenny Malseed, ChildFund International; Tim Nourse, Making Cents International; Moses Otai, ChildFund Uganda

Economic strengthening (ES) interventions traditionally have targeted caregivers, recognizing their critical influence on the families’ financial status, general well-being, and often measures success in terms of families’ increased investment in education, nutrition, and health of their children. Yet, in some instances, an increase in families’ income and investment may not necessarily translate into improved wellbeing of the children and youth in their care. Elements that directly target children/youth are less explored. Practitioners have often assumed that vulnerable children and youth do not have the capacity to save and would sacrifice education for earned income. Practitioners have expressed concern around risks such as increased child labor or reduced participation/enrollment in schools, associated with implementing ES interventions with children and youth. This stance proposes alternatives around the ability of tailored ES interventions to contribute to a healthy and financially sustainable transition of children and youth to adulthood while attending to their immediate needs. There is hope, but little evidence, about the economic and social empowerment effects of CYSGs, particularly with respect to how CYSGs can empower youth to accumulate and ta Child and Youth Savings Groups (CYSGs) are considered cost-effective approach to promote a “saving culture” among young people, increasing resilience and adaptive response to adverse occurrences, especially when CYSGs are linked to activities such as financial literacy, business skills training/coaching, psycho-social support. CYSGs are linked to increased economic resilience, a reduction in risky sexual behavior in adolescents, improved psycho-social wellbeing. What motivates children and youth to save? What are the sources of savings? Do sources of income threaten their wellbeing? Do boys and girls experience CYSGs in the same way? ChildFund and Making Cents International share lessons learned from Uganda.

Sustainable Organizations Start With Leadership

Mia Ellis, Amplify Nonprofits; Jessica Vibberts, Full Potential Ventures

The urgency of many of our global crises coupled with personal commitments of staff to make an impact often lead to leadership behaviors and organizational cultures that erode commitment and performance, or worse, leave leaders and teams burnt out and ineffective. In this interactive seminar, nonprofit leadership and talent experts, Jessica Vibberts and Mia Ellis, will lead participants through research-backed processes of managing energy for high performance and strategies for leaders to integrate new behaviors into organizational culture that lead to more sustainable and effective ways of working. We will counter the belief that better “time management” will fix the never-ending list of important work and to-do’s. Instead we will look at how leaders (and in turn, their teams) can become laser-focused on how and where they expend their energy, and how the use of strategic rest and recovery leads to higher output and outcomes.

TB by Number: How Improved Data will End TB

Charlotte Colvin, USAID; Jennifer Griffin, RTI - MAP-IT; Michael Moore, PATH; Yipin Yadav, Dure Technologies

Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s leading cause of death by an infectious disease. We will explore how accessing more reliable and complete data improves our understanding of the epidemic; for example, by using GIS maps we can identify TB infection hot spots in urban settings to target specific diagnosis and treatment programming; or how tracking patient’s adherence through mobile apps we can improve services. As the epidemic differs by region and community, national, regional and site-specific data and information is needed to achieve epidemic control. Panelists will discuss their innovative use of data and technology to develop programming that participants will be able to link to their own health related work with a greater understanding of the versatility of the tools. The moderator and discussant, from non-TB organizations, will help make the connections from what has been learned in the fight against TB to other development objectives.


4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Beyond the Gift Shop: Innovative Financing for NGOs

Paul Bunje, Conservation X Labs; Damien Howard, Per Scholas; Susan Reichle, International Youth Foundation; Sheerin Vesin, International Youth Foundation

Many NGOs rely on diverse funding streams to achieve maximum, sustainable impact. Beyond the “gift shop,” what are exciting new ways that organizations are using market forces to further their reach? This workshop will share three innovative examples of non-profits who are “selling” products and services that complement their programs and drive change. Panelists will candidly share their stories of building innovative financing to support their organizations, highlighting their challenges and opportunities to illustrate both the necessity and the difficulty of doing so. Speakers will share their expertise from the fields of international development, conservation, and workforce development while focusing on transferable takeaways that attendees can apply to their own organization. Other new vehicles such as development impact bonds and cooperatives will also be discussed.

Climate Information Services for Climate Resilient Development

Audrey Anderson, Mercy Corps; Sarah Henly-Shepard, Mercy Corps; David Nicholson, Mercy Corps

The provision of weather and climate information has the potential for increasing the resilience of rural communities to the impacts of a variable and changing climate. While innovative approaches to generating useful climate information to farmers shows promise, there are gaps in the evidence of their effectiveness. The Mercy Corps-led Climate Information Research Initiative (CISRI) is filling these gaps through (1) a synthesis of existing knowledge, (2) systemic analyses of existing CIS programs to identify bottlenecks and breakdowns, and (3) piloting approaches for evaluating uptake and effectiveness of existing CIS programs. The session will be moderated by Mercy Corps, and may include members of the various research consortium partners. We will begin with a participatory exercise to explore the challenges of implementing effective (user driven) CIS programs and implications for climate resilient development, followed by a facilitated discussion.

Fraud & Corruption: Hands-on Training on Detecting Corruption and Preventing Fraud

Jennifer Mannino, Grant Thornton LLP; William Olsen, Grant Thornton LLP

Humanitarian aid saves lives, reduces suffering, and dignifies the community; however, humanitarian aid also triggers heightened fraud risks and negative publicity. Fraud has translated to an average 5% loss of annual revenue which equates to a $86.5 billion collective loss for the U.S. not-for-profit sector. The goal of this interactive session is to train participants of all levels on the fundamental themes related to fraud while emphasizing specific risk factors prevalent in the NGO and not-for-profit sectors. Understanding the economic and social factors contributing to fraud risk, the NGO fraud environment, and detection best practices will prepare participants for future fraud incidents within their organizations.

Land Tenure Data Collection, Reporting and Capacity Building in Support of the SDGs

Gina Alvarado, Landesa; Thea Hilhorst, World Bank; Jennifer Witriol Lisher, Millennium Challenge Corporation; Caleb Stevens, USAID

Secure land tenure as highlighted in its inclusion in the SDGs has highlighted its key role in poverty alleviation, gender equality, conflict prevention, food security, environmental sustainability and economic growth. Custodian agencies and members of the Global Donor Working Group on Land are supporting country data capacity building and data generation of 1.4.2 and related goal 5.a.1. This will sustainably enhance global capacity to collect and track progress on tenure security, including in support of other land tenure interventions and global reporting such as the VGs. SDG data will be generated and reported by the NSOs to the custodian agencies and UN Statistical Commission in collaboration with National Land Agencies and other stakeholders. This panel discussion will focus upon the current status and reporting needs of SDGs 1.4.2/5.a.1, best practices and experiences in land data collection and continuing advocacy and capacity building efforts.

Looking into the Mirror: INGOs Reflect on Their Localization Commitments

Meghan Armistead, Catholic Relief Services; Vanessa Ortiz, International Rescue Committee

Increasing local ownership of humanitarian and development aid is essential to improving aid effectiveness, supported by international organizations’ commitment to the Grand Bargain. Localization, where national and local actors remain at the forefront, can lead to more successful, just, and sustainable humanitarian and development aid. Moving from the direct implementation of aid projects to facilitating them through mutually-based partnerships with local actors requires significant reflection and change by international NGOs. Localization affects how programs are designed, implemented, evaluated, and scaled. Power dynamics, scarce resources, and limited staff skills are just some of the challenges. Often these discussions are limited to strengthening local partner capacity. However, in this session, representatives from IRC, Mercy Corps, and CRS will share reflections on their organization’s progress and challenges in making the shift from implementer to catalyst, from doer to facilitator. This will be an honest discussion about what it takes to create institutional change and move from rhetoric to meaningful implementation of critical localization commitments.

Mapping Maternal and Neonatal Health Trends: The PREMAND Project

Fernando Ferreyra, Development Gateway; Emily Fung, Development Gateway

The PREMAND (PREventing Maternal and Neonatal Deaths) project, led by the University of Michigan with support from USAID, aims to improve health outcomes through encompassing each Forum theme element: innovation, impact, and inquiry. The session will seek to understand why mortality rates for mothers and newborns in low-resource environments remain high — even where other health metrics have improved. PREMAND supplements existing clinical data with a better understanding of the social and environmental factors that affect outcomes for mothers and infants in northern Ghana. The case study will drive conversation about the multidimensional nature of health — and how its data should be multidimensional too. We will present PREMAND’s prudent and proactive approach in addressing the health sector’s complexities, and in prioritizing citizen voice into data. Most importantly, we will make a case for real data, for real people: providing analytical insights for health providers and clear messaging for local communities.

Measuring the Success of Your Washington, D.C. Advocacy

Kathy Bonk, Communications Consortium Media Center; Eileen Campbell, International Justice Mission, Boston; David Devlin-Foltz , Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program (APEP); Lyric Thompson, International Center for Research on Women

An international NGO can have tangible success as measured by the number of vulnerable people fed, housed and clothed or by the sustainable change brought about by a development program in an underserved community. But how should the effectiveness of an advocacy campaign be evaluated? For some nonprofits, one obvious measure is by the number of contributors that respond to an appeal. However, discerning the influence of advocacy in Washington, D.C., is less straightforward. Legislative goals may be attained after years of hard work by NGO coalitions, intensive work may be required to keep harmful language out of legislation, or shifts in the political winds may imperil funding. What are the various advocacy strategies? How do advocacy directors know which strategy will produce the best results, and when to change strategies along the way? This session will discuss effective advocacy research by organizations such as Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society as well as evaluations within the NGO community based on decades of work in a variety of crises and with an ever-changing cast in the political and policy arena.

Preparedness: Breaking the Cycle of Disaster and Poverty

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Project Concern International; Patty McIlreavy, InterAction; Michael Nyenhuis, Americares; Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Natural Center for Disaster Preparedness

Response and recovery alone are not enough to combat the natural disasters that impact communities with increasing frequency and intensity: preparedness must become an increasing focus if the global community is to help communities break the cycle of disaster and poverty. The humanitarian community has invested significant resources into demonstrating the value of preparedness, yet too often communities are left unprepared for the natural disasters that come their way. This session will explore lessons learned from recent disasters to identify ways for the NGO community to help local communities prepare for and better withstand natural disasters—such as integration of disaster preparedness into broader programming, advocacy and fundraising.

When NGOs Leave - Drivers of Sustainability: The Success and Lessons Learned of Food for Peace Development Programs

Eric Garduno, Catholic Relief Services; Lucas Koach, Food for the Hungry; Dan Norell, World Vision US; Mara Russell, CARE

The USAID-sponsored Food Aid and Food Security Assessment (FAFSA-2) studied the sustainability and exit strategies of 101 Food for Peace Title II development programs. This panel will be comprised of lead PVO Title II implementers and researchers to discuss evidence and lessons learned about the sustainability of program activities after their closure. Panelists will articulate how these lessons can be applied to other development programs and approaches. Audience will be polled on the question: “What is among your biggest challenges to developmental program sustainability?” to help drive our conversation.


8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Humanitarian Community Meeting

John Ging, UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Mark Storella, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Moderator: Patty McIlreavy, InterAction

Each year at the InterAction Forum, the Humanitarian Policy and Practice unit organizes a community meeting for members interested and involved in humanitarian work. Continental breakfast provided. This session is open to all members. The core of the meeting will be a roundtable conversation among three leaders of the humanitarian community from the US State Department, USAID, and UN OCHA. There will be ample opportunity for members to ask questions. If time permits, we will have an open discussion of challenges facing the NGO community in humanitarian response and how InterAction can better respond to these challenges on behalf of the membership.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Big Water: The Vulnerability of Islands

Sarah Henshaw, Global Communities; Ann Hollingsworth, Refugees International; Jerome Lebleu, J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Changes in climate mean we are likely to see an increase in severe weather events, including the increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Island nations are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, and present additional logistical challenges. This session will explore island vulnerability in our changing climate and draw upon previous island responses to identify unique challenges and best practices. Highlighted responses will include the Haiti earthquake, Typhoon Hayian (Philippines), and Hurricanes Irma and Maria (Caribbean).

Building Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity of GBV programs for Humanitarian Professionals

Manuel Contreras Urbina, The Global Women's Institute at GWU; Maureen Murphy, The Global Women's Institute at GWU; Alina Potts, The Global Women's Institute at GWU

The session will explore the gaps in knowledge related to GBV in conflict and humanitarian settings. It will address fundamental elements that should be considered when designing and conducting research on GBV in these settings. The session facilitators will provide examples and share their experiences in managing key ethical, security and methodological challenges when collecting data on GBV. They will also facilitate interactive discussions amongst participants who will provide their own perspective on ethical risks and mitigation strategies. These interactive discussions will include examples of case studies from real world research, monitoring and evaluation efforts that will guide the discussion. The ethical principles that will be discussed include: ensuring that the benefits outweigh the risks; collecting data in a manner that is methodologically sound and minimizes security risks to respondents and the research team; assuring basic care and support services are available and accessible; guaranteeing confidentiality and privacy; obtaining informed consent; monitoring potential unintended consequences after research; and managing community expectations, among other topics. In addition, session facilitators will explore key methodological considerations for designing research, monitoring and/or evaluations on GBV in these settings. They will also facilitate small group discussions amongst the participants and utilize case studies of real world studies to guide discussion. The facilitators will explore the following methodological considerations: establishing temporality; sampling issues; contextualizing methodologies to different settings; ensuring quality of research when planning is put into practice; and adapting research in dynamic settings, among others. Participants will be given a copy of GWI's BPRM-funded manual and toolkit for researching, monitoring and evaluating GBV in refugee and conflict-affected settings.

Collaborating with International Program Staff to Improve Program Evaluation & Grant Reporting

Jessica Culverhouse, Elevate; Liz Fanning, CorpsAfrica; Christina Martin Kenney, Elevate

In international work where an organization has multiple field offices reporting to a single office, there is often a disconnect between development staff who are focused on fundraising, and program staff who are immersed in the field. This disconnect is furthered not only by physical distance but in an inability to understand the day-to-day operations of team members across the globe. Elevate will discuss how fundraisers and international program staff can collaborate effectively to develop a shared understanding of evaluation techniques, collect the right data, and report program outcomes more easily in grant proposals and reports. We will review process-based evaluation techniques, and cover how to develop and implement a framework for successful data collection and communication within your organization. Not only will this help program staff understand their contribution to the larger organizational fundraising efforts, it will also help bridge a larger strategic disconnect and lay the groundwork for future fundraising success.

Everything You Want to Know About the Federal Budget and Appropriations but Were Afraid to Ask

Tom Buttry, InterAction

The USG budget and appropriations process is vitally important to operational INGOs, but often seems opaque to agencies that don’t have dedicated lobbying capacity. This session will explain the budget and appropriations process from agency requests to OMB to Congress and back to implementation. Insights will be shared from key administration and hill staff and community advocates, so you understand how decisions made in the Administration and Capitol Hill affect your agency’s programming.

From Idea to Impact: Lessons Learned from Save the Children's Innovation Program

Kimberly Coletti, Save the Children

Save the Children has been grounded in innovation, disruption and “doing whatever it takes” for children ever since our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, first declared that the world’s children actually have individual rights. This vision, which was radical in its day and continues to propel us forward, served as a foundation for many of the present-day Sustainable Development Goals, and it has been the cornerstone of Save the Children's development approach ever since. Although we have made tremendous progress globally, millions of the most marginalized girls and boys are missing out on advances in health, education and economic inclusion every day. Our evolving world demands new solutions, and we've doubled down and invested in innovation. As the leading expert on children with a footprint in 120 countries around the world, Save the Children has unparalleled strengths as an innovator. Our ability to not just develop and test innovative solutions but also dramatically scale what works allows us to create lasting, systemic change for children. In July of 2016, we asked all our colleagues to join us in embracing innovation in their everyday work, challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box, and coloring outside the lines to make the work they do for children go farther. We launched a innovation pipeline and provided seed funding for our most disruptive ideas. Our colleagues, able and ready for the task got to work, and we have hundreds of ideas to reach our ambition for children and have funded 11 innovation pilots to date. During our session, we'd like to provide an overview of our innovation pipeline, highlight a few innovations we are funding, and share our successes, failures, and lessons learned. We want audience members to have the opportunity to ask questions and feel confident about launching or enhancing their own innovation programs. Check out Boston Consulting Group's article, "Why Nonprofits Must Innovate" featuring Save the Children:

How to Achieve Gender Equality in Fragile and Conflict Affected States?

Zainab Asiimwe, Women for Women International; Kathleen Campbell, Women for Women International; Susannah Friedman, CARE; Ramani Jayasundere, The Asia Foundation - Sri Lanka

According to the World Bank, in the next fifteen years, the share of extreme poor living in conflict-affected situations is expected to rise from 17% of the global total today to nearly 50%. As we’ve seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other conflict-affected countries, women often bear the brunt of conflict, and face increased poverty and gender-based violence. These urgent issues require us to think critically about how we define, design programs, and measure women’s “empowerment”; and ensure that efforts to expand space for women’s voice and agency do not create additional, unsustainable burdens on women, or otherwise cause harm. At this panel, experts from Women for Women International, the Asia Foundation, and CARE will tackle this question using lessons learned from decades of field work.

The Missing Maps Project: Putting 200 Million People on the Map by 2021

Eric Dircksen, American Red Cross; Rachel Levine, American Red Cross

This talk on the Missing Maps Program will address how a growing network of humanitarian actors work on a project that is locally based but done on a global scale using an open data mapping platform called OpenStreetMap (OSM). Launched in 2014, we have had over 45,000 volunteers and hosted over 1,000 mapping events (mapathons) in 60+ countries. As a community, we’ve put almost 60 million people on the map! The American Red Cross, as a founding member of the MM Project, is actively working to map 200 million of the world’s vulnerable people in OSM by 2021; creating open map data and tools for anyone to access, use, and update. This session will have a facilitated mapping demo, by Rachel Levine the Missing Maps Program Coordinator followed by a walkthrough of some of our field mapping tools by Matthew Gibb, GIS Analyst.

Transforming Humanitarian Response: Market-based Programming in Crises

Alison Hemberger, Mercy Corps; Laura Phelan, Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Emily Sloane, The International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Increasingly, humanitarians call for more context-driven programming and crisis responses that leverage the role of local markets in coping and recovery. In this session, technical leaders from three International NGOs—Mercy Corps, the IRC, and CRS—will discuss their efforts to bring a market lens into their organizations’ work. After briefly outlining a new framework for market-based humanitarian response, the panelists will share lessons learned from efforts to improve market-driven programming, and highlight findings on the programmatic and institutional barriers to advancing these approaches. They will cover details from IRC pilots on market analysis, Mercy Corps’ experience using market development principles in humanitarian settings, and CRS leadership in developing frameworks and tipsheets for humanitarian practitioners. The panel will cover practical uses of market information as well as strategies that work with local businesses and institutions to shape humanitarian interventions that can improve the reach and durability of program efforts.

Zambian Nurse and Life Skills Training Program: Increasing Livelihood Opportunities for Youth through E-Learning while Strengthening the Country’s Health System

Koffi Assouan, MasterCard Foundation; Doras Chirwa, ChildFund Zambia; Shelby French, ChildFund International; Elizabeth Getachew, ChildFund International

ChildFund International partnered with the MasterCard Foundation to increase livelihood opportunities for youth in Zambia by implementing a five-year Zambian Nurse and Life Skills Training Program (ZNLTP). Working with key stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the General Nursing Council (GNC), the project aims to increase the capacity of training institutions to accept a greater number of youth in the nursing and clinical officer programs to meet healthcare demands and to increase youths’ life skills in order to negotiate barriers to success in the workplace. The project, now in its fifth year, has been able to achieve this by using technology to offer e-learning to students and additional classes on critical life skills. ZNLTP has been introduced in 11 nursing schools and one clinical officers’ school in Zambia, and has plans to expand further in 2018 to 14 new schools. In September 2017, the first cohort of e-learning students graduated, welcoming 83 new nurses into the workforce. A case study conducted in May 2017 with key informant interviews and focus group discussions in three of the first schools implementing ZNLTP documented the innovative use of technology to pilot pre-service delivery of training to nurses. ZNLTP has succeeded in increasing the capacity of nurse training institutions to accept a greater number of youth in the nursing and clinical officer program and has supported the integration of life skills into the GNC's nursing curriculum. In addition, students in the program have improved their life skills, increasing their chances for successful employment. Lastly, ZNLTP succeeded in shifting the mind-set of key stakeholders and secured their buy-in to support e-learning as a method to train nurses. As a result, the MoH has shown increased ownership and adopted a strategic plan to support e-learning and life skills training, as well as identify public-private partnerships.


1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

#MeToo in the Aid World: How we change to prevent sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment of and by NGO Staff?

Marie De Cenival, Heartland Alliance International; Megan Nobert, CARE Canada; Julie Wood, Heifer International

Long before the global dissemination of the #MeToo or #AidToo movements, NGOs have worked to address and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries by U.N. and NGO staff in humanitarian and development settings. The#MeToo spotlight has served to accelerate traction throughout the sector by increasing the focus on the further work needed to eradicate harassment, exploitation and abuse in all its forms. Efforts towards needed culture changes have occurred, alongside a growing recognition that to make true progress we need to address abuse through complementary solutions. Collective tolerance, based on the idea that one organization alone can resolve the problem, equates to inaction. Thus creating an environment where bad behavior continues due to the resulting tacit acceptability, spoken about only in hushed tones. This session will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges – at the organization and collective level – as well as proposed solutions for preventing abuse, including how to open dialogue internally within organizations to facilitate difficult discussions.

A New Era of Collective Action: How Social Enterprises are Contributing to International Development Outcomes

Liz Miller, Divine Chocolate; Rebecca Savoie, NCBA CLUSA; Thaleon Termain, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative; Emily Varga, U.S. Agency for International Development

This session explores a lesser-known component of public-private partnerships in international development work. Many major corporations are engaged in meaningful development work all over the world, but now there is a new cadre of smaller social enterprises engaging in this field. These socially responsible businesses have long been involved in promoting collective action and social good. These groups include B-Corporations, companies adhering to a high level of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency standards; and cooperatives, groups of people working together for a common goal. This interactive panel focuses on the role these social enterprises are taking in economic recovery and development and how the NGO community can partner with them to achieve sustainable development outcomes. This session includes a panel discussion with voices from USAID and social enterprises that are currently active in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This session will involve small group work and robust conversation.

Challenges and Recommendations to Building Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Service Capacity in Low Resource Emergency Affected Countries: Lessons from the Field

Sonali Gupta, Heartland Alliance International

Emergency contexts not only elicit psychological stress reactions, but the rate of common mental disorders can increase from 10% to between 15 and 20% of the population. In addition, individuals with pre-existing severe mental disorders, typically 2-3% of the population, are especially vulnerable in such settings, often having no access to care. Humanitarian actors recognize the need for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services in such contexts as well as the scarcity of such services in low resource settings. In an effort to bridge the gap between available resources and the need for services, various MHPSS capacity building initiatives have emerged. This presentation will first review existing evidence based approaches to building MHPSS capacity, followed by a discussion of challenges and recommendations for developing MHPSS service capacity using field based examples focused on low resource contexts impacted by conflict.

Leaving No One Behind: Advancing Energy Access in Humanitarian Crises

Kathleen Auth, USAID Power Africa; David Nicholson, Mercy Corps; Krista Riddley, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves; Dan Wolf, International Lifeline Fund

Energy access can transform the lives of those most at risk of being left behind, reduce exposure to harm for vulnerable populations, and transcend the humanitarian-development divide by enabling sustainable solutions. Of the millions of displaced people living in camp settings, around 90% are without electricity access and 80% rely on solid fuels for cooking causing significant risks to their health, safety, dignity and well-being. This session will focus attention on the urgency and benefits of sustainably improving energy access for humanitarian populations in line with SDG 7 (Sustainable Energy for All); educate implementers on the energy access solutions and innovations that can work in humanitarian settings; and set out practical next steps for change. Panelists will discuss the challenges around energy access in humanitarian settings, and will provide recommendations on how to fill this major gap in humanitarian response.

Social Enterprise + NGO: A Unique Resource Development Structure

Marcie Cook, Population Services International (PSI); Byron Dailey, Lane Powell PC; Dave Neiswander, World Bicycle Relief; Bridget Roche, Grant Thornton

Two innovative INGOs with integrated Social Enterprise businesses contributing to their sustainability, resource diversification and leveraging donor investment and impact. Join other senior leaders interested in developing a social enterprise within their INGO structure. Learn success factors, risks/challenges and strategic, legal registration and financial lessons learned in implementing a social enterprise. World Bicycle Relief’s Buffalo Bicycles Ltd., sells to INGOs, businesses and individuals to tackle “last mile” mobility barriers. Their model combines social enterprise with philanthropic programming in health, education and livelihoods. Leveraging donor resources with their social enterprise while deepening impact. PSI runs successful social enterprises by fostering healthcare networks – both in the public and private sectors – that deliver vital health services for women and their families. Their technical expertise, marketing acumen and strong relationships with franchisees has kept them on the cutting edge of healthcare. Lane Powell has a multidisciplinary team focused on providing nonprofit and social enterprise clients with guidance and solutions in all legal areas to help maximize impact. Grant Thornton supports and strengthens not-for-profit organizational effectiveness and execution. Participants will analyze the successes and risks of this model.

The Transforming Power of Living Income

Stephanie Daniels, Sustainable Food Lab; Krishna Govindankutty, Heifer International; Prakash Karn, Heifer International; Gretchen Villegas, Heifer International

In 2014, Heifer International began an intentional process to move farmers beyond subsistence and to close the gap between the $1.90 daily income threshold for extreme poverty as defined by the World Bank to what families really need to thrive. We know that income is critical for family resilience—ensuring that dietary, medical and education needs are met to enable a holistic view that goes beyond a living wage to establish a sustainable living income. Using the Anker methodology, we established benchmarks within country programs. Upon review, we evolved the formula to a standardized method of setting living income benchmarks for communities where we work. Strategically, Heifer has evolved internal processes to facilitate the design of interventions based on bridging the gap between current incomes below poverty line to living incomes that enable sustainable livelihoods. In this session, we will discuss the process of benchmarking and how we have realigned internal processes to focus on resource investments that close the living income gap in the most impactful way.

Who Says You Can't Go Back? Donor and NGO Insights from Evaluating Closed Programs

Justin Fugle, Plan USA; Allison Haselkorn, USAID; Elizabeth Roen, USAID; Holta Trandafili, World Vision US

This session will explore the study of sustainability and sustainment among programs with diverse implementation approaches ranging from infrastructure investment to community mobilization to local systems strengthening. USAID will present on an ex-post evaluation with four case studies that explored whether outcomes from basic education projects were sustained in Uganda, South Africa, Ghana and Namibia. World Vision will present three case studies from ex-post field-work to illustrate how evaluation findings changed its conceptualization of sustainability related to community development and mobilization and shaped subsequent rounds of ex-post evaluation. Both speakers will discuss current status of ex-post evaluations at their organizations and provide recommendations and tips on how to plan and manage a successful ex-post evaluation. Ample time will be provided for discussion using guided questions from the panel, as well as drawing questions and comments from the audience.

Highlights from:  Forum 2018 | Forum 2017 | Forum 2016 | Forum 2015 | Forum 2014 | Forum 2013