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December 2013

Waste Not, Want Not : “Waste Banks” in Indonesia

Randy Salim's picture

When you’ve grown so used to tossing all manner of garbage into the trash bin, without giving a second thought to whether it is organic or non-organic waste, it’s easy to not care where your garbage ultimately ends up. But the reality is that, in Indonesia, your garbage gets mixed together with the garbage of millions of households, creating mountains of toxic waste too large to contain in municipal landfills.
As experts in the field would vehemently argue, solid waste management is not the sole responsibility of a municipal government, but a collective one. As populations grow and consumption patterns increase, more and more solid waste is created– and landfills can only take so much waste!
So what to do? The World Bank in Indonesia is currently exploring how to improve solid waste management, and scaling up ‘waste banks’ is one option.  Recently I went on mission with the Solid Waste team to see these waste banks at work.

Observing Turkey's ambitious FATIH initiative to provide all students with tablets and connect all classrooms

Michael Trucano's picture
there's something electric on the horizon in Turkey
there's something electric on the horizon in Turkey
Uruguay. Peru. The U.S. State of Maine. South Korea. Portugal.

A number of places around the world have made very large, (hopefully) strategic investments in technology use across their formal education systems featuring so-called "1-to-1 computing", where every student has her own laptop or tablet learning device.

(I provided an annotated list of such places in an earlier EduTech blog post on Big educational laptop and tablet projects -- Ten countries to learn from).

One of the largest national initiatives of this sort is largely unknown outside that country's borders. To the extent that Turkey's ambitious FATIH project is known around the world, it is probably as a result of headlines related to plans to buy massive numbers of tablets (news reports currently place the figures at about 11 million) and interactive whiteboards (over 450,000 will be placed in classrooms, labs, teacher rooms and kindergartens). The first big phase of the project began in 2011 with 52 schools receiving tablets and interactive whiteboards as a sort of pilot project to test implementation models, with results (here's one early evaluation report) meant to inform later, larger stages of (massive) roll-outs.

The project's acronymic title, FATIH (which stands for Fırsatları Artırma ve Teknolojiyi İyileştirme Hareketi, or 'Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology'), deliberately recalls the conqueror of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Speaking at the project's inauguration, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan noted that, “As Fatih Sultan Mehmet ended the Middle Ages and started a new era with the conquering of İstanbul in 1453, today we ended a dark age in education and started a new era, an era of information technology in Turkish education, with the FATİH project.”

What do we know about FATIH,
how might it develop,
and how might lessons from this development
be of interest and relevance to other countries
considering ambitious plans of their own to roll out educational technologies?

Unrealized Potential: Women Working Abroad

Jeni Klugman's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day)

Gender discrimination, combined with migrant status, can make access to appropriate employment harder for female migrants. Employment tends to be segregated and migrant women are often pushed into low-skilled and traditionally female occupations, such as domestic work or garment factory work. Even when women with secondary or higher education migrate, women struggle to find jobs appropriate for their qualifications. “The OECD indicates that much of the growth in the employment rates of migrant women occurs in low-skilled occupations and that qualified migrant women face much larger gaps in employment and occupational attainment than their counterparts born in their country of residence.”
A recent Gallup study surveyed 19,000 adults in former Soviet republics. The results indicate that the majority of men and women migrants improve their economic situation. However, in general migrants are less likely to work in their main profession abroad, and women migrants even less so. Female migrants reported fewer benefits than males in several respects, including improving their professional qualifications and job prospects back at home, where the gender gap is double digits.

The Promise of Financial Inclusion

Mahmoud Mohieldin's picture

The following post first appeared on the Huffington Post.

Half the world's adults, approximately 2.5 billion individuals, do not have an account with a formal financial institution. Lack of access to finance is disproportionately skewed towards the poor, women, youth, and rural residents. Defined as the proportion of individuals and firms that use financial services, financial inclusion is increasingly seen as critical for ending extreme poverty and supporting inclusive and sustainable development. It provides people with the tools to invest in themselves by saving for retirement, investing in education, capitalizing on business opportunities, and confronting shocks (Global Financial Development Report, 2014). According to the World Bank Group's newly launched Global Financial Development Report 2014 on Financial Inclusion, most of the unbanked cite barriers such as cost, lack of documentation, distance, lack of trust, or religious reasons.

Prospects Daily: Ukraine’s dollar bonds extend record gains, U.S. housing starts at a 5-year high, India’s central bank leaves key interest rates unchanged

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets… Global stocks inched higher on Wednesday along with the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields as investors awaited the Federal Reserve decision on the future of its stimulus program.  The benchmark MSCI world stock index gained 0.4% as Japan’s Nikkei 225 index and German’s DAX index climbed 2% and 1.5%, respectively, helped by weakening yen and robust German business sentiment.  U.S.

The Danger of Stories

David Evans's picture
Who doesn’t love a great story? In development, we have wonderful stories to tell. We tell stories about children going to school because of cash transfers in Tanzania and about women in Costa Rica who are empowered through their jewelry businesses. The World Bank recently sponsored a day of development storytelling. Armendáriz de Aghion and Morduch recount the following story of a microcredit borrower from Mexico:

“Consider the story of Mrs. Braulia Parra, who lives with a family of seven in a poor neighborhood in Monterrey, Mexico, in a home with cardboard walls and dirt floors. Illiterate and inexperienced in the workplace, Mrs. Parra took her first $150 loan from ADMIC, a local microlender. The loan allowed her to buy yarn and other sewing supplies to make handsewn decorations. Each week she sells about one hundred handmade baskets, dolls and mirrors, going door-to-door in her neighborhood. After ten loans, Mrs. Parra had earned enough to install a toilet in her modest home, as well as an outdoor shower. Building a second floor was next in her sights.”

These stories inspire us, but we have to be careful. Stories are dangerous.

People's IDA: Leveraging Migration for Development Financing

Dilip Ratha's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day)

We have just received the good news that IDA17 has received a record $52 billion in financing over the next three years. Securing these donor commitments has not been easy because of the weak and uncertain economic environment in many donor countries.

Considering the difficulties of increasing aid commitments in the future, there is a need to look for alternative or innovative sources of financing for development. Can migration provide some help?

Long Live The Internal Market! (But How Competitive is the EU?)

Matija Laco's picture
A vibrant private sector - with firms investing, creating jobs, and improving productivity - is absolutely essential for promoting growth and expanding opportunities. In order to support the private sector, however, governments need to step in and remove obstacles to growth and job creation. Although macroeconomic stability and sustainability are unquestionably necessary for spurring business activity, the quality of the business regulation also matters.
Collectively, the 10 indicators in Doing Business 2014 are a great tool for assessing the ease of doing business in countries and measuring the quality of their regulations.

The results can be surprising for some countries in the European Union (EU): Would you ever consider that the most difficult country to start a business in the EU is Austria? That Italy is the worst place to pay taxes? That one of the top countries in protecting investors is Slovenia? Or that Poland is the global runner-up in providing information about credit?

Policy Coherence on Migration and Development

Susan Martin's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day on December 18)

Achieving policy coherence regarding migration and development requires more effective data, analysis, monitoring and evaluation of the interconnections between the two phenomena. Progress has been made by the World Bank, OECD, UN Population Division and others in improving the collection and publication of data on international migrants and remittances but more needs to be done in this area. There are still gaps in the production of good data for policy making. While aggregate data are improved, not all countries produce precisely the same information and some countries collect almost no data on migration or its linkages to development. The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has repeatedly called upon governments to introduce modules on migration into censuses and household and labor surveys. Some of these modules are being tested to determine the best ways to collect needed information. Encouragement of even greater progress in this area is essential to promoting policy coherence. So too are improvements in the collection and use of administrative data on migration and development and their inter-linkages.