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August 2016

Blog post of the month: Abdul Sattar Edhi – One man can change the world

Sonia Jawaid Shaikh's picture

Each month People, Spaces, Deliberation shares the blog post that generated the most interest and discussion. In July 2016, the featured blog post is "Abdul Sattar Edhi – One man can change the world" by Sonia Jawaid Shaikh.

It is almost impossible to think of a welfare system without state resources and intervention. But one man, Abdul Sattar Edhi, is single-handedly responsible for creating an unparalleled mini-welfare state system within the state of Pakistan.

In the early 1950s, a young Edhi started begging on the streets of Karachi to buy a battered old van to be used as an ambulance. In 2016, the non-profit Edhi Foundation had over 1800 ambulances stationed across Pakistan – all via public donation. Most Pakistanis will call an Edhi ambulance, rather than a private or state run service in case of an emergency. Edhi’s air ambulances were the first responders when an earthquake struck northern Pakistan in 2008. The reach of Edhi services during emergencies also extends to other parts of South Asia such as Nepal after the recent earthquake.

Over the years, Edhi expanded his work across many areas. His foundation runs homes for women, rehabilitation centers, workshops for skills based learning, dispensaries, soup kitchens, orphanages, welfare centers, missing persons services, refugees assistance, animal center, morgues and burial services including graveyards, child adoption services, and homes for mentally challenged across the country. Thousands of Pakistani children have Edhi and his wife Bilquis Edhi as parents on their official documentation. Edhi services are accessible and open to all but devoid of religious and governmental support in any monetary form.

Trends in returns to schooling: why governments should invest more in people’s skills

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
We've rounded up 25 Tweets, posts, links, and +1's on South Asia-related development news, innovation, and social good that caught our eye this week. Countries included: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. 

The jobs challenges of urbanization in India and Pakistan

Michael Kugelman's picture
Pomegranate farm. Tajikistan. Photo: Gennadiy Ratushenko / World Bank

 In 2010-14, we were facing a challenging task: develop a new approach to increase institutional and leadership capacity in Tajikistan’s public sector, including internal capability to initiate reforms. 

How do you build government capacity in a low income fragile state  in a way that would fit with the country context?

If you are familiar with the Western part of the former Soviet Union and have never been to Tajikistan, you are in for a surprise. The differences with countries such as Ukraine or Georgia are staggering.  To put things in the global perspective, Tajikistan has a GDP per capita lower than Cameroon, Djibouti and Papua New Guinea. The country suffered a civil war that lasted five years (1992-1997), resulted in massive internal displacement and decimated civil service. Despite establishing formal governing institutions after the war, institutional capacity remains weak.

The biology of budgeting: to strengthen accountability, think ecosystems

Paolo de Renzio's picture

There are few better ways to reveal whether a government’s rhetoric matches reality than examining how it raises and spends public money. Are funds being spent on the things it said they would be? Are these investments achieving the outcomes that were intended? In short, are government budgets accountable?   

The traditional model for how accountability functions is rather simple. "Horizontal accountability" describes the oversight exerted over the executive arm of government by independent state bodies such as parliaments and supreme audit institutions. "Vertical accountability" describes the influence citizens hold through the ballot box. 

Between elections and outside of formal institutions, however, opportunities for influencing how governments manage public resources are limited. As a consequence, this simple vertical/horizontal model has proved increasingly inadequate for capturing how budget accountability works (or doesn’t) in the real world; this is especially true in developing countries, where democratic processes and formal oversight institutions can be somewhat fragile and ineffective. 

One year on, the SDGs provide reason for hope

Paula Caballero's picture
Photo credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak



With the adoption of a universal development agenda and growing commitments to fight climate change from all corners, 2015 will be remembered as a high water mark for international cooperation. Almost a year later, when the news is dominated by violence and nationalism, it’s tempting to give in to pessimism about global trends. But I find reason to hope when I see the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gaining traction.

The SDGs were the result of the most collaborative and inclusive process in UN history and signal a very real shift in the way people think about tackling development challenges to deliver a viable future for both the planet and its people. There is growing understanding that the two are indelibly linked.

SDGs, Climate Agreement and Transport: From global commitments to accountability

Nancy Vandycke's picture

As part of our discussion on creating jobs and expanding social protection in post-conflict and fragile states, we focus in on the Middle East — specifically Yemen. As is the case in sub-Saharan Africa, fragile states must contend with high youth unemployment, scarce formal sector jobs, weak institutions, and a lack of social protection, on top of the loss of lives, assets, education, and disruption from the conflict itself. The JKP recently spoke with Abdullah Al-Dailami, Acting Managing Director of the Social Fund for Development (SFD),  who says that a major emphasis now is providing access to financial and non-financial services to help people engage in self-employment.

Quote of the Week: Julius Malema

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“We must smell so we show commitment to the revolution? We must go and stay in a shack and then get into a bus to show that we are revolutionary? That’s incorrect. That’s actually vulgarising the revolution, because both the socialist struggle and what the Economic Freedom Fighters represent is not sameness — like we must dress alike, we must walk alike, we must sing alike, we must dance alike.  I dress properly. I dress anyhow I wish and no one can tell me how to dress.”

-Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a South African political party, which he founded in July 2013.He previously was a member of the ANC, helped propel Jacob Zuma forward to be President of South Africa, and served as President of the African National Congress Youth League from 2008 to 2012. 

Malema was convicted of hate speech in March 2010 and again in September 2011. In November 2011, he was found guilty of sowing divisions within the ANC and was suspended from the party for five years. On February 4, 2012, the appeal committee of the ANC announced that it found no reason to "vary" the disciplinary committee's decidion to suspend Malema from the party, but did find additional evidence in aggravation of the circumstances, leading them to impose the harsher sentence of expulsion from the ANC. On April 25, 2012, Malema lost an appeal to have his expulsion from the ANC overturned, and his expulsion took immediate effect.

Ensuring a sustainable development path

Augusto Lopez-Claros's picture

I’ve suggested recently that although high economic growth in recent decades has greatly improved average life expectancy, infant mortality, and other leading indicators policymakers and development practitioners were still worried about the sustainability of these trends and whether people in developing countries would eventually enjoy the high standards of living of high-income countries. This, against the background of a planet under increasing stress, particularly as a result of climate change. In this blog, I explore some of the actions needed to sustain our global economy.

Chart: Carbon Emissions 60% Higher per Person Than in 1960

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for more than 80% of total greenhouse gas emissions globally, but only 12% of emissions are currently covered by explicit carbon prices. The High Level Panel on Carbon Pricing has called on the international community to double this figure to 25% by 2020 and increase it again to 50% within a decade. Read more. 

IBNET: Water and sanitation utility costs, charges and performance data at your fingertips

Alexander Danilenko's picture
Moldova Power Lines

Надежное и доступное по цене электро- и теплоснабжение – это вопрос, вызывающий серьезную озабоченность как граждан, так и представителей деловых и правительственных структур Молдовы. Эффективность и надежность энергетического сектора страны зависят от способности Молдовы диверсифицировать источники поставок энергетических ресурсов и внедрить надлежащую структуру тарифов, которая бы способствовала инвестициям в энергетику. В настоящее время почти 98% потребляемых энергоресурсов импортируется, при этом более 80% электроэнергии и весь природный газ закупаются у единственного поставщика.

В рамках поддержки развития энергетического сектора страны Всемирный банк недавно провел исследование в сфере тарифов на электроэнергию и теплоснабжение в Молдове. В исследовании представлен прогнозируемый диапазон повышения тарифов и приводится анализ, насколько увеличатся расходы различных видов домашних хозяйств на электроэнергию и отопление. Исследование затрагивает проблему защиты социально уязвимых слоев населения посредством программы Ajutor Social, а так же рассматриваются пособия на оплату отопления – в том числе и объемы подобных социальных выплат. 

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