Technical Assistance and Implementation: Locally Driven, Enduring Results

Abt Associates addresses the world’s most pressing problems – from infectious disease to climate change, from energy access to economic growth – using sound technical assistance and implementing programs that achieve results.

We enable local stakeholders to drive their own solutions. Our approach reflects the diversity of our staff and the work we do across cultures, geographies, and sectors. We identify pathways to policy change, tap the strengths of commercial markets for social good, fortify value chains, strengthen accountability, and stabilize systems. We have expertise across a range of subject areas.

Capacity Building

A central part of Abt’s mission is increasing the skills and knowledge of individuals, institutions, and communities. We foster the creation of effective leaders, assist organizations to better meet the needs of the most vulnerable citizens, and develop, document, and apply best practices, resources, and methods in capacity building. We use individual and group work, blended learning approaches, cascading mentoring and training, supportive supervision, mapping exercises, brainstorming, role-play, eLearning, and symposia design.

Health Center staff in Jordan present the results of interventions supported by the HSS II Bridge project that improved the quality of and access to family planning services for Jordanian families.
Photo credit: HSS II Bridge
Our Impact: In Jordan’s Health System Strengthening Project II (HSS II) project, Abt assisted the ministry of health and its partners in the development of health policies, strategies, operational plans, clinical standards and training materials. HSSII provided training and technical expertise to build the capacity of managerial and clinical staff of the Ministry of Health, the Royal Medical Services, and the Jordan University Hospital to initiate and then sustain program improvements.

Our Impact: For the U.S. Department of Education’s i3 program, Abt served as technical assistance provider to the evaluators, providing critical guidance in planning and strategy development. Through topical webinars, professional development sessions and one-on-one support, researchers learned new skills and produced more rigorous results. Better evaluations means effective educational reforms stemming from the more than $1 billion investment in grantee awards.

Demonstration Programs

With an eye towards more effective government programs, we test and evaluate effects of changes to program implementation in real time settings.
Our Impact: Abt is leading a large-scale demonstration and evaluation program to determine whether retaining disability benefits spur beneficiaries to work. The results of the nine-year Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) project will be used to determine whether and how rules for Social Security Disability Insurance should be changed. The demonstration involves two stages of random assignment and evaluation, with a million beneficiaries spread over multiple sites to generate evidence about the effects of the $1 for $2 benefit offset. Abt’s work to recruit beneficiaries, inform them about the benefit offset, and collect and report earnings to the Social Security Administration is vital to testing this policy to determine if a benefit offset can encourage work for disability beneficiaries.

Learning and Diffusion

Abt gathers evidence and packages knowledge that is tailored for and accessible by specific audiences. This ensures that information to inform decisions is available in the right place at the right time. Our goal is to avoid re-creating the wheel when confronting a problem and instead to build on what is known.

We excel at peer learning networks that combine collaborative space, expert facilitation, and compelling communications to accelerate exchange of new ideas. We develop state-of-the-art online platforms, comprehensive database clearinghouses, and dynamic linkages to social media.

Our Impact: The National Community of Practice on Local Housing Policy was established to build knowledge about how to develop effective local housing strategies in high-cost areas. Abt is harvesting the deliberations of the core group to strengthen local housing policy across the U.S. through creation of guidebooks, online training, and teaching curricula.

Our Impact: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Block Grant Assistance (OBGA) engaged Abt to create the Explore CDBG series of online technical assistance and communication products to raise awareness about how Community Development Blog Grant funds can be used to address community needs. The materials are aimed at grantees, community development professionals, program managers, and administrators who work on CDBG-funded projects in more than 7,250 local governments. We solicited user-generated content via grantee-submitted project profiles and social media to spark creativity and help grantees learn from their peers and ultimately make the best possible use of the block grant program.

Governance and Policy

By strengthening public management processes, Abt enables decision-makers to hear the voices of those affected and navigate fundamental changes. Governance reform requires both top-down and bottom-up approaches, integrating national frameworks with local reality. We advocate for use of data and recruit and train citizen advocates to ensure accountability. Our efforts emphasize participatory governance models and transparency to transform communities.

Our Impact: As Indonesia decentralizes virtually every function of government, it is striving to ensure that village leaders have the capacity to manage front-line services, budgets, and spending. Through the KOMPAK project, Abt is working with more than 650 local government representatives from 215 districts to discuss policy planning. Among our innovations: 2,100 people from 22 provinces used a mobile web-based simulation game to pinpoint where governance training is falling short. We are assisting with the rollout of a mobile app to help village officials carry out their expanded responsibilities

Our Impact: Through AfyaInfo in Kenya, the Ministry of Health was empowered to manage a transformed, unified, and integrated Health Information System. To strengthen governance, we used change management techniques to secure buy-in and empower management of a unified Health Information System in Kenya. We supported the government’s efforts to design a system built on end-user needs and functionality to ensure its acceptability and position it as the sole source of health data for all stakeholders.

Read more about Abt’s work in governance.

Public-Private Partnerships

Our partnerships provide the foundation for enduring solutions, with complementary technical, political, and financial resources. Abt brokers alliances through interventions and policies that motivate, measure and reward.

Our Impact: The Abt-led, USAID-funded 4th Sector Health project was dedicated to catalyzing regional, multi-country partnerships with corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The project formed 10 partnerships covering 14 countries and leveraged the investment of more than $18 million of private funding in activities that addressed USAID’s priority health issues in Latin American countries. Activities initiated through partnerships under the project reached more than one million beneficiaries over five years.