• Assessing Impact, Evaluating Adaptability: A Decade of Radio La Benevolencija in Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC

      Kogen, Lauren (2014-05-05)
      For the past decade, Radio La Benevolencija (RLB) has worked in Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC to provide citizens with tools for recognizing and resisting manipulation to violence and healing trauma. Until now, however, its numerous programs, projects, and contributions had not been synthesized, and its findings had not been evaluated as whole. The Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania conducted an evaluation of RLB’s past ten years of work in the Great Lakes Region. In addition to understanding the aggregate impact of RLB’s programs, this meta-evaluation seeks to investigate what RLB’s work offers to others engaged in this field. We therefore seek to understand the adaptability of RLB’s methodology to other countries and contexts and how the RLB model might be used a prototype for future interventions.
    • Assuring Access to Abortion

      Center for Public Health Law Research (Temple University) (2021)
      Over the spring of 2020, numerous states announced measures suspending abortions in response to COVID-19. Banning abortion during the pandemic is counterproductive. Impeding access to abortion will not help preserve healthcare resources. Moreover, prohibiting access to abortion care exacerbates the strain on the healthcare system. People who lack access to abortions will travel to neighboring states, induce their own abortions, or carry pregnancies to term, which will require prenatal care and assistance in childbirth. Perhaps more importantly, the people hit hardest by suspending abortion care are those for whom the pandemic already has had devastating effects. Lifting restrictions on medication abortion and expanding telehealth abortion services will conserve healthcare resources and improve public health. Recognizing the advantages of telemedicine, some states, as well as the federal government, have relaxed restrictions on remote diagnosis and treatment. However, many of those same states have carved out exceptions for abortion in their telemedicine policies. In addition, people seeking medication abortions still face unnecessary restrictions on access, none of which are applied to comparable office-based procedures. Policymakers can eliminate barriers to safe abortion services now and in the future. “No-touch” terminations, in which all medical supervision happens over the telephone or online, can better accomplish the goals that the present abortion suspensions cannot. Telehealth for medical abortion can ease the burdens on pregnant people, healthcare workers, and health systems in light of the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19.
    • Embracing the TBOR

      Abreu, Alice G.; Greenstein, Richard K. (2017-11-27)
      When Congress codified the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (the “TBOR”) in 2015 the tax bar largely shrugged, but that is a mistake. Section 7803(a)(3) is not just another iteration of the phrase Congress used to christen legislation designed to reign in perceived IRS abuses in the 80’s and 90’s, when Congress enacted three different pieces of legislation that bore the name “Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” Despite their lofty titles, none of those enactments contained a single amendment to the Internal Revenue Code that used the word “right,” or employed the language of rights. By contrast, section 7803(a)(3) actually refers to “taxpayer rights” and lists ten items. Therefore, despite the claims of its promoters that the 2015 legislation simply restates rights already provided by the Code, the codification of the TBOR has the power to transform the tax practice and the relationship between taxpayers and the IRS. In this Article we explain why. Specifically, we make three arguments. First, construing the 2015 codification of the TBOR as a meaningless gesture ignores the well-established canon of statutory construction against surplusage, as well as its important corollary: when Congress amends a statute it intends to change something. Second, the TBOR significantly enhances taxpayers’ normative basis for demanding legal remedies for violations of their rights because it invokes procedural justice, using the language of rights where only government duties existed before. Third, the TBOR may have actually created taxpayer rights. We do not argue that all taxpayer rights should be enforced either all the time or to the same extent, as that could be disruptive or even catastrophic for tax administration and may not be necessary to allow the TBOR to achieve its goals. But we do maintain that the codification of the TBOR can transform the legal environment so that demands for enforcement can be weighed by the courts on a case by case basis, in light of all the facts and circumstances, which include the identity and attributes of the taxpayer. Recent events confirm the importance of the TBOR and suggest that the tide of taxpayer indifference has begun to turn. On November 8, 2017, Facebook filed a complaint against the IRS, citing the TBOR’s “right to appeal a decision of the Internal Revenue Service in an independent forum,” section 7803(a)(3)(E)), as the basis for its request that the court “[i]ssue an injunction or mandamus-like relief ordering Defendants to provide Facebook access to IRS Appeals.” We believe that Facebook is just the first of many taxpayers who will formally embrace the TBOR as a source of rights and as the basis for crafting remedies to enforce those rights.
    • Evaluating media and communication in development: Does evidence matter?

      Kogen, Lauren; Arsenault, Amelia; Gagliardone, Iginio; Winneg, Ken; Buttenheim, Alison (2012-12-14)
      The Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) evaluated BBC Media Action’s (formerly the BBC World Service Trust) impact on the world of global development research and practice. Through an online survey and in-depth interviews with key players in the field, CGCS analyzed the extent to which the organization’s research, workshops, and conferences have influenced and impacted the work of global donors, practitioners, think tanks, and scholars on the subject of the role of media and communication platforms in improving governance outcomes, health outcomes, and humanitarian response outcomes. At the same time, this project provided a broader understanding of how those working in the field are thinking about the role of communication in development, where they see the most potential, and what they see as the major gaps in the research.
    • Half the Sky Movement Global Engagement Initiative: Final Monitoring and Evaluation Report

      Kogen, Lauren; Esenler, Alexandra (2016-01-01)
      The Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) monitored and evaluated the Half the Sky Movement (HTSM)/USAID project “Half the Sky Movement Global Engagement Initiative”from January 2014 to January 2016. This report summarizes the findings from this work. The evaluation sought to 1) assess the impact of the HTSM media interventions and 2) improve and inform future efforts to use media in developing and conflict-affected regions. The evaluation also investigated whether HTSM’s media tools can be packaged as a ‘toolkit’ that can be scaled up and / or used by other NGOs working on issues pertaining to women’s empowerment in developing regions. To implement the evaluation, CGCS relied on two in-country M&E Officers, Kamakshi Khazanchi in India and Benard Moseti in Kenya, who coordinated directly with the NGOs on the ground. In Kenya, CGCS employed research firm Research Solutions Africa (RSA) to carry out in-depth-interviews as well as pre, post, and three-month follow-up test surveys for discussion group beneficiaries at YWLI. India M&E Officer Kamakshi Khazanchi coordinated all beneficiary in-depth-interviews and pre, post, and three-month follow-up test surveys for the Tonk NGOs. Dr. Maureen Taylor, Professor and Director in the School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee, assisted with the development of the project’s Milestone Index for NGO capacity measurement, as well as completed all final evaluation interviews with Kenyan and Indian NGO coordinators and staff members.
    • Latent Print Examination and Human Factors: Improving the Practice through a Systems Approach

      Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis (2012)
    • Missing Voters Project: United States 2016

      Pathak, Elizabeth; Menard, Janelle; Ward, Beverly G.; Margolis, Ellie (2018)
      Missing voters are voting age citizens who did not vote in November 2016. Missing voters reflect the diversity of the United States as a whole. They are of all ages and races, of all educational backgrounds, and they live in every state across our nation. Yet, voting participation rates vary considerably across specific population groups. The purpose of this report is to provide a detailed description of the social and demographic characteristics of America’s missing voters, to inform the widespread grassroots efforts to increase voter participation in the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential election.
    • Missing Voters Project: Young Adults 2016

      Pathak, Elizabeth; Margolis, Ellie; Ward, Beverly G.; Menard, Janelle (2018)
      Missing voters are voting age citizens who did not vote in November 2016. Missing young adult voters reflect the diversity of the United States as a whole. They are women and men of all races and educational backgrounds, and they live in every state across our nation. Yet, voting participation rates vary considerably across specific groups of young adults. The purpose of this report is to provide a detailed description of the social and demographic characteristics of America’s young adult missing voters. Our goal is to inform the widespread grassroots efforts to increase young adult voter participation in the 2018 mid-term and 2020 presidential elections.
    • Overworked and Underpaid: H-2A Herders in Colorado

      Migrant Farm Worker Division of Colorado Legal Services (2010-01-14)
      "Throughout much of rural western Colorado, a virtually unknown and unrecognized workforce toils alone in extreme cold or heat, making approximately $2 per hour. These workers are migrants, legally employed by Colorado ranchers to herd their livestock. They are in the United States as part of a program for temporary foreign labor called the H-2A program, which allows U.S. employers to bring in foreign farm workers if there are insufficient U.S. workers to meet the employers’ needs. Herders work for pay that on a per-hour basis is closer to volunteering than it is to earning minimum wage. They are required to be on-call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, living in small campers without electricity, running water or a bathroom. Colorado’s migrant herders are a crucial part of the ranching industry. Most frequently coming from Peru, Chile and Mexico, herders, who rarely speak English, come to Colorado and other Western states searching for better employment opportunities. In some cases they find these opportunities; in the majority of cases they do not. Colorado Legal Services’ Migrant Farm Worker Division (CLS), with Professor Thomas Acker of Mesa State College, surveyed 93 herders over a two-year period to document a variety of issues, including their pay, their employers’ control over their lives, their living and working conditions, their work contracts and their general opinions about their work situation." -- quoted from Executive Summary
    • Testing a Media Intervention in Kenya: Vioja Mahakamani, Dangerous Speech, and the Benesch Guidelines

      Kogen, Lauren (2013-12-01)
      Susan Benesch, human rights scholar, genocide prevention fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, has, over the last several years, developed an analytical framework for identifying ‘dangerous speech’ that catalyzes violence (Benesch, 2008; 2013). According to Benesch, “hate speech” is a vague term that encompasses many forms of speech, only some of which may catalyze violence under certain circumstances. By creating a set of guidelines “for monitoring speech and evaluating its dangerousness, i.e., the capacity to catalyze violence by one group against another,” Benesch aims to inform policies that reduce incitement to violence through speech while protecting free speech (Benesch, 2013). Among questions about these ambitious guidelines were how they could be used to make audiences more skeptical of incitement and therefore less likely to succumb to it. In the summer of 2012, Benesch teamed up with Media Focus on Africa (MFA) and the cast and crew of a Kenyan television comedy drama series, Vioja Mahakamani (referred to as Vioja throughout this report). The collaboration aimed to “inoculate” audiences against inciting speech, and make them more skeptical of it, by increasing understanding of what constitutes incitement to violence, the psychology behind incitement that helps prepare groups of people to condone or even take part in violence, and its consequences. This was accomplished through two avenues: 1) by applying her ideas through a medium that would entertain and educate the Kenyan public, and 2) by training the cast of the show so that they could become local agents of change, circulating this information outside the context of the television program. This evaluation was partially tasked with examining whether audiences did indeed become more skeptical of inciting speech. As a real-world test of skepticism (i.e., exposing audiences to inciting speech and observing behaviors) was not a feasible or desirable evaluation method, “skepticism” as a concept was investigated by breaking down the concept into its component elements – those which are likely to lead to skepticism. Namely: Did viewers better understand the origins and motivations behind inciting speech? Did viewers better understand the consequences of inciting speech? Were viewers more likely to accept personal responsibility for violent actions arising from dangerous speech? Were viewers more likely to take non-violent actions in response to future perceived injustices (using a hypothetical scenario)? Were viewers more likely to promote love and forgiveness in response to the 2007-2008 post-election violence? Through an evaluation of each of these components, we were able to draw a fuller picture of how the program influenced audiences, and how these influences might affect future behaviors. This report summarizes the findings of that evaluation, led by Dr. Lauren Kogen of the Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
    • The Use of IVR to Support Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Interventions: A Case Study of the VOTO System in Rwanda

      Kogen, Lauren; Smith, Briar (2016)
      Information communication technologies (ICTs), and in particular mobile phones, hold great potential to improve interventions in Africa and elsewhere that seek to provide information to the public. They offer the possibility of amplifying the public’s access to information, strengthening citizen voices, and promoting greater political engagement by the public, all with important implications for peacebuilding. Ushahidi, for example, has received widespread attention for allowing citizens to send reports of incidents during disasters via the Internet or SMS (see, for example, Gao et al 2011); others have seen social accountability efforts, such as monitoring the actions of leaders, facilitated by ICTs (see, for example, Grossman and Hanlon 2014). However, despite much excitement about ICTs, the practical evidence of their effectiveness is lacking, particularly for organizations trying to use ICTs to facilitate governance and peacebuilding outcomes (Gagliardone et al. 2015; Koltzow 2013). There are few evaluations of ICT endeavors in the public sphere that can help other practitioners and scholars understand the best ways to make use of ICTs to promote development outcomes. Many media organizations in the development field are interested in using ICTs, but lack the information they need to do so, including which ICT platforms would be the most appropriate for their projects (Kogen et al. 2012). One ICT platform that is receiving increasing attention is Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR automates interaction with mobile phone users using a wide array of pre-recorded material. Computers detect voice and touch tones during a phone call, and respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio (“IVR” 2013). Such a system offers opportunities both for distributing media content and for collecting feedback and other monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data from media consumers. The aim of this project was primarily to add to the knowledge base on how organizations can use IVR to support M&E efforts, though we also address our observations on using IVR as a distribution tool.
    • Trump's New 'Regulatory Czar': Poised to Lead the Assault on Our Safeguards

      The Center for Progressive Reform (2017-04)
      The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) sits at a critical juncture in the path of regulatory safeguards for health, safety, and the environment. It has a long history of using the lever of cost-benefit analysis to dilute and block safeguards unpopular with industry, and in a variety of ways, politicizing the regulatory process. According to an April 2017 report from CPR, the nomination of George Mason University law professor Neomi Rao to serve as its administrator signals the Trump administration’s determination to buttress OIRA’s role as an impediment to sensible safeguards. The report by CPR Member Scholars Thomas McGarity, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, and Robert Verchick, and CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin, examines Rao’s background and concludes the her modest record of “scholarship and other public statements reflect a deep distrust of federal agencies and their role as policymaking institutions within our constitutional system of government.” The authors note, Rao “has called for more constraints on regulatory agencies – including enhanced centralized presidential control over both executive branch and independent agencies – that would inhibit their ability to carry out their respective missions by instituting new public safeguards and enforcing existing ones. In addition, she has staked out an extremely narrow conception of some human rights, which could lead to a low-balling of rules intended to protect those rights.” Since the early days of the Reagan administration, OIRA has required regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and others to seek its approval before issuing protective rules — thus giving political appointees in the White House great influence over the rules designed to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and more. OIRA rides herd over agencies’ cost-benefit analyses for rules and uses that authority to block or weaken them, often after inviting industry lobbyists to weigh in, repeating objections they’ve voiced to agencies during the development of the rules. Two key factors are likely to distinguish the Trump administration’s regulatory process from his predecessors’, according to the report: “The first is Trump’s’ selection of individuals – such as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt – who are actively hostile to the missions of the agencies they will be running. The other is Trump’s two new anti-regulatory executive orders, which together make deregulation a top policy priority for the administration and a shared commitment among Trump-appointed officials to comply with those orders.” Rao and OIRA are poised to oversee implementation of Trump’s assault on our safeguards, working to assist and direct agencies in dismantling crucial public protections, and perhaps helping them devise ways to insulate the repeal of duly enacted rules from subsequent legal challenge.