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Tanzania

Improving learning and life skills for marginalized children. Scaling the Learner Guide Program in Tanzania (Patrick Hannahan, Jenny Perlman Robinson, and Christina Kwauk, Brookings)

This report focuses on one of the scaling labs launched in Tanzania in 2018 in collaboration with the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). It examines the process of implementing, adapting, and scaling the Learner Guide Program, which delivers life skills and mentorship provided by local female secondary school graduates (Learner Guides) to secondary school students as part of an 18-month volunteer program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST) and the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG).

Improving learning and life skills for marginalized children (brookings.edu)

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Artificial Intelligence

The wellness industry’s risky embrace of AI-driven mental health care (Alexandrine Royer, Brookings)

If you need to treat anxiety in the future, odds are the treatment won’t just be therapy, but also an algorithm. Across the mental-health industry, companies are rapidly building solutions for monitoring and treating mental-health issues that rely on just a phone or a wearable device. To do so, companies are relying on “affective computing” to detect and interpret human emotions. It’s a field that’s forecast to become a $37 billion industry by 2026, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly forced life online, affective computing has emerged as an attractive tool for governments and corporations to address an ongoing mental health crisis.

The wellness industry’s risky embrace of AI-driven mental health care (brookings.edu)

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Afghanistan

The challenge of addressing the health care needs of Afghan evacuees (Stuart M. Butler and Nehath Sheriff, Brookings)

Over 130,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan as United States and allied troops left the country at the end of August, with more individuals and families expected to leave Afghanistan in the next few months. Many will eventually be settled in this country, though that will be a complex processing challenge and will require the coordination of multiple support programs.

The challenge of addressing the health care needs of Afghan evacuees (brookings.edu)

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USA

With only 194,000 jobs added, September’s jobs report disappoints (Kristen Broady and Anthony Barr. Brookings)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September jobs report, released last week, showed a decrease of 0.4 percentage points in the U.S. unemployment rate, from 5.2% in August to 4.8% in September. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 194,000 in September, compared to a monthly average of 561,000, and the number of unemployed people fell by 710,000.

With only 194,000 jobs added, September’s jobs report disappoints (brookings.edu)

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USA

A roadmap to developing inclusive regional economic indicators (Alan Berube and Nicole Bateman, Brookings)

In 2020, Brookings Metro ran an Inclusive Economic Indicators Lab to help three regions—Indianapolis, Memphis, and Orlando—develop compelling and influential indicators projects that use metrics to drive more inclusive local economic outcomes. Like their counterparts in an increasing number of U.S. cities and metro areas, Lab participants embraced a vision of economic success defined by not only the quantity of economic growth, but also the distribution of that growth among a region’s residents—particularly those who have historically faced economic exclusion.

A roadmap to developing inclusive regional economic indicators (brookings.edu)

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USA

The value of qualitative data for advancing equity in policy (Tiffany N. Ford and Annelies Goger, Brookings)

In response to President Biden’s Executive Order calling for a “whole-of-government equity agenda,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report in July that provides guidance to federal agencies about what methods they can use to assess the extent to which their work advances racial equity and supports underserved communities in the U.S. The report is ground-breaking in its recognition of “administrative burden” and lack of stakeholder engagement as factors that exacerbate inequality, such as when citizens interact with government technology and eligibility processes. Yet, the OMB report falls short of explicitly recommending the use of qualitative methods (or a combination of qualitative and quantitative investigations, also known as “mixed methods”) to assess equity. This is a missed opportunity as qualitative data can reveal nuances of experiences that quantitative analysis alone cannot.

The value of qualitative data for advancing equity in policy (brookings.edu)

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USA

Has COVID disrupted the postsecondary pipeline? (Lauren Bauer, Veronica Clevenstine, Wendy Edelberg, Elisabeth Raczek, and Winnie Yee, Brookings)

Among young adults (ages 16-24), recovery from the COVID-19 recession has looked quite different from previous recessions and from the experiences of older Americans.

For those between the ages of 16 and 24, labor force participation has been falling for some time, accounting for 56 percent of the decrease in the aggregate labor force participation rate (LFPR) between 2000 and 2018, according to a Hamilton Project Report from 2020. In the past, recessions have tended to temporarily accelerate those trends; typically, during recessions and in their aftermath, there are declines in labor force participation among young people and increases in school enrollment. The reason is intuitive and predicted by economic theory: weakness in labor demand lowers the opportunity cost of not working while the future gains from greater education remain unchanged.

Has COVID disrupted the postsecondary pipeline? (brookings.edu)

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Afghanistan Pakistan USA

Post Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice (Madiha Afzal, Brookings)

With the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan, Pakistan may have come closer to achieving its long-sought “strategic depth” with respect to its western neighbor, with a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. But the Taliban’s victory is also seriously testing Pakistan’s long fraught bilateral relationship with America. For the last 20 years, U.S.-Pakistan relations have been defined by the needs of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. With that war having ended with an outcome as ignominious as a Taliban takeover, the relationship is at a clear crossroads. The outlook isn’t positive. Here’s where things stand.

Post Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice (brookings.edu)

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USA

Fed should keep labor markets tight for a more inclusive economy (Anthony Barr and Kristen Broady, Brookings)

The United States Federal Reserve has a dual mandate from Congress: maintain price stability and pursue maximum employment. A new strategy announced in August 2020 by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell called for a more inclusive employment mandate aimed at boosting employment for workers in low- and moderate-income communities, often people of color. This is in keeping with the Fed’s response to the pandemic’s effect on the economy, which has used aggressive bond purchases and other tools to keep the labor market as tight as possible, thereby preventing a landslide into recession-level unemployment.

Fed should keep labor markets tight for a more inclusive economy (brookings.edu)

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