Welcome to our 2019 Annual Report

This report is different from our past annual reports, in part because we are different, the world is different, and the ways in which we think about global health and development are different. At the time of publication, the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis with more challenges, and fewer resources to overcome them, than we can even imagine. The impact of COVID-19 is being disproportionately felt by the poorest and most marginalized populations in communities around the world. Research, science, and evidence are more important than ever. Too much is at stake to waste time and money on efforts that sound good but have not been shown to be effective or that are not making a real and tangible impact on the policies and programs that affect people’s lives.

Our streamlined, and what will become a living, annual report shares powerful highlights from 2019 on the impact our research had on critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives—in a more engaging and dynamic format. Through this new format, we aim to focus on what we do best, which is testing ideas to tackle the uncertain challenges that lie ahead, generating evidence to determine what works (and as importantly what doesn’t), and collaborating to ensure that evidence is used to impact lives.

In this 2019 Annual Report, you’ll read about how we are catalyzing the use of evidence to inform policies and strengthen programs in Guatemala, Tanzania, and other low- and middle-income countries, including:

  • How our flagship HIV program has helped change national policy to expand access to HIV services for marginalized populations;
  • How a program to empower indigenous adolescent girls has strengthened government programming to enable them to re-enter school;
  • How our African-led consortium has influenced national and global efforts to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C);
  • How our contraceptive research, development, and partnership efforts have helped introduce one of our most effective contraceptive technologies to women in more than 30 countries; and
  • How our research on the relationship between girls’ education and health has influenced strategic investments of leading donors in the education and gender space.

This year, we also are introducing an interactive map of our current activities, where you’ll see how our researchers and scientists—working across 50 countries, with offices in more than a dozen countries—are partnering with national health ministries, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations to produce relevant and timely evidence to inform policies and programs around the world.

The world’s ability and willingness to protect, let alone advance, the progress made in global health and development over the last 20 years is uncertain. But what we do know is that we have urgent work ahead of us. And now more than ever, we need to invest in evidence to inform and influence policies, programs, practices, and technologies that improve the health and well-being of current and future generations. We simply can’t afford not to.

Julia Bunting

Julia Bunting