Abt Associates delivers innovative, audience-driven communications and dissemination strategies to create positive social change. Our team of experts designs, implements and manages a wide range of approaches to engage and excite audiences while promoting learning and sharing knowledge.

Our communications expertise is enhanced by our extensive experience applying rigorous research, monitoring and evaluation techniques in health, agriculture and other service delivery sectors.

Methods

Our range of participant-driven, human-centered, and user-experience (UX) techniques includes:

  • Immersion sessions to simulate the user “journey”
  • Observation
  • Participatory engagement

We utilize our in-house skills—as well as our strategic collaborations and partnerships with design firms—to creatively solve problems using human-centered design. We begin by immersing ourselves in the lives of the target audience to deeply understand their needs. Our multi-disciplinary team of subject matter and design experts uses this knowledge to identify opportunities for design and to prototype possible solutions. Our approach generates innovative results and end products that are tailor-made for both our clients and their audiences.

Relevant Experience

Cambodia Harvest II Project

Client:  United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Abt is a prime on the USAID Cambodia Harvest II project, which is part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. The project aims to improve both food security and incomes for farmers in the horticulture sector. Harvest II is using a combination of human-centered design and value chain analysis tools by actively involving the buyers (suppliers and other actors) both in the identification of key supply-side constraints and the creation of innovative solutions to increase sales, jobs, and investment.

Enhancing Microbicide Uptake in High-Risk End Users (Project EMOTION)

Clients:  United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and Microbicide Product Introduction Initiative (MPii)

Abt Associates is one of the implementing partners for Enhancing Microbicide Uptake in High-Risk End Users (Project EMOTION), a PEPFAR/USAID-funded effort to increase demand for, use of and adherence to HIV prevention products for high-risk young women in Africa. Abt and local partner Matchboxology pioneered the application of rigorous scientific multiple mixed-methods research methodology to the use of Human Centered Design to identify target audiences, the barriers to and facilitators of behavior change and core components for the intervention and clinical trial phases of the project.

Health Finance and Governance (HFG) Project

Client:  United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Abt is the prime contractor on the global, USAID-funded Health Finance and Governance project, which is designed to expand access to health care and lead to better health outcomes. In response to USAID interest, the HFG project is using Human Centered Design to inform the creation and dissemination of a third edition of the Health System Assessment Approach How-To Manual. Abt is conducting field work with USAID Mission and Ministry of Health stakeholders, analyzing and using the results to create a digital platform with our partner, Training Resources Group (TRG).

Jordan Communication, Advocacy and Policy (JCAP) Activity

Client:  United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Abt Associates is the prime contractor on the USAID Jordan Communication, Advocacy and Policy (JCAP) Activity. The Activity’s overall strategic objective is to increase the use and continuation of family planning (FP) and reproductive health services as a safe, effective and acceptable way to ensure a healthy family, build a sustainable community and maintain a secure Jordan. JCAP is using Human Centered Design and other co-design techniques to prototype a set of interventions aimed at promoting awareness of family planning options, including increasing the adoption and continuous usage of modern FP methods among married women of reproductive age in Jordan.

Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP)

Client:  United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Abt is the prime implementer of the USAID-funded Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP). The program works with the Mexican government to improve its economic competitiveness by making data more transparent, strengthening Mexico’s capacity to investigate anti-competitive practices and helping citizens actively improve their country’s regulatory environment. Abt worked with Mexico’s Center for Private Sector Economic Studies to establish an online platform as a government watchdog for citizens and businesses, known as the Observatorio Regulatorio. We developed the platform’s indicators using UX methods, collecting data directly from civil servants through innovative gamification techniques that generated record-high response rates. The platform served as a precursor to the pending General Law for Regulatory Improvement, which requires states to improve regulatory transparency and accountability.

Contact Us

Lindsay Hughes, PhD
Senior Associate/Scientist
International Development Division
Rockville, MD

(301) 634-1858
Lindsay_Hughes@abtassoc.com

Enhancing Lives Through Human-Centered Design

Abt Associates

Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, harnessing the power of data and grounded insight to bring people from vulnerability to security worldwide.  We think boldly to deliver solutions that cross disciplines, methods, and geographies. Abt provides impact through research, evaluation, and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development.