Monday, June 20, 2016

Research Methods Training in Kabul, Afghanistan

Future Generations Empowerment (FGE) conducted its first certificate program earlier this month in Kabul, Afghanistan. The training, organized by Future Generations Afghanistan’s Executive Director, Ajmal Shirzai, was designed for government officials at the Research and Policy Department of Afghanistan’s Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs (DMoYA). Trainers, all either alumni or current students of Future Generations Graduate School, focused on four types of research: Applied, Description, Evaluation, and Quantitative .

The applied research section was led by Besmillah Sakhizada (Class of 2013). Sakhizada presented his “Family Health Action Group” research that he has been working on since 2006 in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province. Applied research, he argued, is conducted in response to a specific problem that requires a solution.

Descriptive research, on the other hand, is designed to define the objectives, facts, and characteristics to be investigated. This section was led by Amanullah Hotak (Class of 2013). Hotak discussed how he is using descriptive research to improve local governance in Central Afghanistan through his own NGO, OLSFG (Organization for Local Services and Future Generations).

Evaluation research is the process of determining the value or worth of something. It is oriented toward formal and objective measurement of the extent to which a given action, activity, or program has achieved its original objective. Tahir Khalil (Class of 2014), discussed the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program that he has been leading in six provinces of Afghanistan. The program was recently evaluated by an independent evaluator. Khalil spoke about the evaluator’s planning and execution processes, their key findings, and how they could be implemented.

Lastly, the section on quantitative research was facilitated by Ajmal Shirzai. Quantitative research generates and analyzes numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships. Shirzai explained his research project, "Identification of Positive Deviance Communities in Eastern Afghanistan." This research was comprised of three phases, each phase having three steps. The first phase was the collection and analysis of quantitative data using composite variables for security and development. This session helped the participants to learn how the quantitative data can be converted into qualitative information.

The training was funded through an Alumni Learning & Action Collaboration grant that FGE received in 2015. Future Generations Empowerment is an Afghanistan-based NGO that was formed in 2015 by Future Generations alumni in order to apply their skills and knowledge to community development, good governance, peacebuilding, and environmental conservation for the empowerment of local communities (mainly youths). The group is already planning a similar training for youth groups throughout Afghanistan.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Voices of Future Generations: Baby Sister

In the second episode of Voices of Future Generations, a young girl in Moscow named Alina talks about meeting her baby sister for the first time and teaching her how to speak Russian. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Saving Children’s Lives Through Community-Based Health Interventions: Bringing Together the Evidence for What Works

Beginning in 2007 with support and input from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the World Bank, Future Generations has been actively facilitating and supporting a global systematic review of Community-Based Primary healthcare (CBPHC). To date, thousands of articles have been reviewed and over 650 articles have been included in the review of both child, and more recently added, maternal health interventions that have a community-based component.

The effort is being led by Dr. Henry Perry, a former Future Generations faculty member now at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), with collaboration from Meike Schleiff, Assistant Professor and Director of Research at Future Generations and a doctoral candidate at JHSPH, and many others. The team is currently doing in-depth reviews of neonatal health, maternal health, and health equity with additional analyses to follow.

The study has identified a number of approaches with potential and evidence for high impact community-based work, including the importance of home visiting programs, community case management of child illnesses, participatory women’s groups, and utilization of mobile health teams to provide additional outreach services.

In May 2016, the findings of the systematic review were presented at the CORE Group annual meeting, where a global network of practitioners focusing on improving maternal and child health got to review key findings and also provide feedback and discuss the way forward.

For more information about this exciting and unique systematic review, you can check out previous publications at: You can also contact Meike Schleiff for more information.

Building on the Current Evidence to Strengthen Community-Based Service Delivery Strategies for Promoting Child Survival 

Groundbreaking Review of Community-Based Approaches