March's top reads: Special Drawing Rights, USAID's reboot, and Gates Foundation's global education strategy

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In March, amid our ongoing coverage of the latest developments in U.S. aid policy, U.K. aid, and COVID-19, we took the opportunity for a refresh — with our new weekly global health newsletter Devex CheckUp, and the relaunch of our daily Newswire, now designed to bring you deeper insights into the day’s top globaldev stories.

Meanwhile, our Pro subscribers got a first look at the “Team Europe initiatives,” aimed at "transformational impact" in dozens of countries and regions over the next seven years. We also took a deep dive into Global Affairs Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's funding for gender equality in 2020.

Here’s a look at our top-read Devex Pro stories for March:

1. How the UN worked with big data to understand violence against women during COVID-19. One of the biggest concerns amid COVID-19 is the increase in violence against women and girls, but it's been a challenge to gather information. Now big data helps shed some light on this "other pandemic."

2. Missing link: Can USAID unite budget and policy? A proposal to reorganize the U.S. Agency for International Development's budget, policy, and evaluation functions is stuck in limbo. Some question if it would address deep-seated issues related to the agency's autonomy.

3. Are EU development contracts concentrated in too few hands? New data sheds some light. EU politicians say the European Commission may be giving too many development contracts to a handful of national aid agencies. Data on indirectly managed funds could support that.

4. What Special Drawing Rights could mean for Africa's COVID-19 response. With the support of the U.S. for a new issuance, it's looking more likely that African nations will have SDRs to help finance vaccine purchases and more for their COVID-19 recoveries.

5. Q&A: The Gates Foundation's evolving global education strategy. In 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it would invest $68 million in global education. The outgoing head of global education strategy discusses what the foundation has learned since then.

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