Research and Learning

USAID supports countries to deliver evidence-based interventions and promising maternal and child health and nutrition practices. Our research identifies barriers and solutions to achieving coverage, equity, and quality of those interventions and key practices to prevent child and maternal deaths.

Efforts to increase the coverage, equity and quality of health interventions often do not fully achieve their intended results, especially in low- and middle-income settings facing complex challenges. This is why measuring results, reflecting on lessons learned, and adapting programs is critical to saving children’s and mothers’ lives. USAID uses lessons learned from each of our programs to design more effective, sustainable, and impactful programs in the future.

Our Approach 

USAID supports research and learning in the following three categories:

USAID is strategic in its collaboration with key partners in the countries it supports, and engages these partners in continuous learning—including practical research to overcome persistent barriers, and selection of the right tools—to design, manage, and sustain life saving maternal and child health and nutrition programs and reduce preventable deaths for women, newborns and children.

USAID strategically collaborates with key global and country partners to advance the health metrics learning agenda leading to better measures, better data, better decisions, and eventually better health. We  focus our  data efforts on measures and analysis of the following: child and maternal mortality; the coverage, equity and quality of evidence-based maternal and child health and nutrition interventions; and, barriers to achieving high levels of coverage, equity and quality of these interventions. Improved data sources and analytical approaches allow us to access and link data in innovative ways that foster programmatic insights and decisions for targeted, efficient, and effective programs. The evidence generated through these efforts supports global and country level dialogue and promotes cross-country learning.

USAID builds the capacity of country partners to improve strategic planning, measurement, analysis, reporting, and knowledge translation for enhanced decision making. By building capacity to translate evidence into action, USAID is creating more sustainable programs to effect lasting change. Additionally, USAID’s knowledge management efforts support identification, learning, and dissemination around best practices, connecting global and country level evidence, cross-country dialogues and support for systematic knowledge sharing.

Where We Work

USAID’s monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning investments focus on supporting 25 countries that represent more than 66 percent of maternal and child deaths.

Programs and Partnerships

Mothing smiling holding laughing baby


MOMENTUM— Moving Integrated, Quality Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services to Scale—is a suite of projects that works in partnership with countries to scale up health interventions and improve the overall health and well-being of mothers, children, families, and communities.

mother staring off into distance

Breakthrough ACTION

Breakthrough ACTION ignites collective action and encourages people to adopt healthier behaviors—from using modern contraceptive methods and sleeping under bed nets to improved complementary feeding—by forging, testing, and scaling up new and hybrid approaches to social and behavior change.

Mother spoon feeding baby seated in her lap, while another child to the left smiles

USAID Advancing Nutrition

USAID Advancing Nutrition works to improve the nutrition and health status of vulnerable populations. With a focus on building local capacity, supporting behavior change, and strengthening environments, this project aims to save lives, improve health, build resilience, increase economic productivity, and advance development.

Infants smiling at the camera

Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM)

GHSC-PSM enhances the health care experience in the communities we serve through transformative supply chain solutions by working closely with country partners and suppliers worldwide to promote wellbeing and help countries develop sustainable supply chain systems.

Featured News, Resources, and Stories  

Implementation Research Tips
Implementation research (IR) provides evidence that health decision makers can use to understand what is and is not working in implementing health programs; uncover and adapt to the contextual factors affecting implementation success; test approaches that ensure people receive needed health interventions.

A Guide to Complexity Aware Monitoring Approaches for MOMENTUM Projects
Technical Resource | December 2020

This guidance includes an introduction to the key concepts associated with complexity-aware monitoring, guidance to support application of the approaches to MOMENTUM, a summary matrix to quickly compare selected approaches, a brief overview of each selected approach, and resources to support the use of these approaches.

Harnessing the Power of a Text Message to Save Lives
Success Story | May 2022
In Kenya, the maternal mortality rate is almost 2.5 times higher than the average maternal mortality rate worldwide. This story highlights USAID’s work to support mothers in Kenya with improved access to maternal health services by using digital technology, with support from a local partner, Jacaranda Health.

Making a Lasting Impact on Mothers in Africa
Success Story | May 2021
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, women — and mothers in particular — have borne the brunt of hardships brought about by lockdowns, economic crises, and disruptions to food systems. This story features the different ways that USAID continues to support mothers with access to critical health services amidst the pandemic.

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Newsletter Description

Our quarterly MCHN e-Newsletter highlights updates on USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Programs around the world.