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The Reading List: May 8

Sameer Vasta's picture

Every day, there are a ton of really great articles and posts on the web that pique our interest here at the Web Program Office. We've decided to start a delicious.com account to keep a track of a few of them that we'd like to share.

Every Friday, I'm going to try and post a selection of the links from our delicious.com account so you can get a quick snapshot of what we're reading this week. Here goes:

 

What have we learned from OLPC pilots to date?

Michael Trucano's picture

CC licensed photo courtesy of Daniel Drake via Flickr It's been four years since the The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project (known then as the '$100 laptop) was announced.   According to recent unconfirmed news reports from India, one quarter million of the little green and white OLPC XO laptops are now on order for use in 1500 hundred schools on the subcontinent.  Four years on, what have we learned about the impact of various OLPC pilots that might be of relevance to a deployment in India?  Thankfully, preliminary results are starting to circulate among researchers.  While nothing yet has approached what many consider to be the gold standard of evaluation work in this area, some of this research is beginning to see the light of day (or at least the Internet) -- and more is planned.

2 weeks to Go!

Aaron Leonard's picture

Dear readers,

Proposals for the 2009 Global Development Marketplace are due in 2 weeks! There is still plenty of time to apply. We hope you take advantage and submit your idea today. The competition, funded by the GEF and other DM partners, aims to dentify 20 to 25 innovative, early-stage projects addressing climate adaptation. Winning projects receive up to US$200,000 in grant funding for implementation over two years.

The competition focuses on three sub-themes: 
  1) Resilience of Indigenous Peoples' Communities to Climate Risks
  2) Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits
  3) Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management

For more information and to apply, visit our website at www.developmentmarketplace.org. The application deadline is May 18, 2009.

www.developmentmarketplace.org

Education and Technology in an Age of Pandemics

Michael Trucano's picture

image used according to the terms of its Creative Commons license; image courtesy of Edgar Antonio Villaseñor González via FlickrFor some people in other parts of the world, it was the picture of two top Mexican futbol teams playing earlier this week in an empty Estadio Azteca (one of the world's largest capacity stadiums) that made clear the severity of the current swine flu outbreak.  While the sporting passions of the 100,000 missing spectators could presumably satisfied by watching the game on TV, it was less clear how to immediately satisfy the learning needs of over seven million students who were sent home after their schools were ordered closed.

Many educational reformers have long held out hope that computers and other information and computer technologies (ICTs) can play crucial and integral roles in bringing about long-needed changes to education systems.  Indeed, many see the introduction of ICTs in schools as a sort of Trojan horse, out of which educational reform and innovation can spring once inside the walls of the traditional (conservative) education establishment. While not denying the potentially transformational impact of ICT use to help meet a wide variety of educational objectives, history has shown that bringing about positive disruptive change isn't achieved by simply flooding schools with computers and related ICTs.

As a result of swine flu, many Mexican schools are experiencing quick, disruptive change of a different sort right now.  How might technology be relevant in cases like this?  Given the status quo, the use of technology in schools isn't enough to bring about systemic change.  But: How might ICTs be useful, even transformational, when this status quo is severely disrupted by some other exogenous factor ... like a pandemic disease outbreak?

On video players and video services.

Sameer Vasta's picture

If you've taken a look at our Meetings blog, you may have noticed a series of videos called "VOICES" that we've been posting all week. The videos feature quick interviews with some of the people attending the 2009 Spring Meetings (from inside and outside the Bank) shot by simple handheld Flip Video cameras.

Wrapping up the 2009 Spring Meetings.

Sameer Vasta's picture

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

The 2009 Spring Meetings have now come to a close. We hope that you enjoyed getting a quick look at some of the events and announcements coming out of this year's Meetings, and that this blog was a useful way to get quick snippets of information and insight from this past weekend's proceedings.

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominiqu Strauss Kahn, Managing Director. International Monetary Fund. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank This blog will stay live in its current state (as will the Spanish version) until the next round of World Bank meetings, most probably the Annual Meetings taking place this fall. Until then, feel free to go through the archives, or click through the daily highlights (in the sidebar to your right) to get targeted information about some of the big events and announcements that took place.

I also encourage you to visit our Videos section on the blog, where you'll be able to find all the short interviews we did with some of the people attending the Spring Meetings, asking them about the Bank's role in the current financial crisis. Feel free to embed those videos on your own sites if you find them interesting — and if you can, let us know when you do!

I'll sign off now, but if you have any questions or feedback about the blog and why we decided to pilot it for this set of Meetings, feel free to use the contact form or leave us a comment. Thanks!

World Bank Group and development partners team up on infrastructure investment

Angie Gentile's picture

Flanked by the finance and development ministers of France and Germany, World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick launched two initiatives today that together are expected to mobilize more than $55 billion in financing for infrastructure projects over the next three years.

The multibillion dollar initiatives—the Infrastructure Recovery and Assets (INFRA) platform and Infrastructure Crisis Facility—were created to address the falloff in funding for the construction of roads, water systems, power generation and distribution, and other critical infrastructure.

There is no doubt infrastructure plays a huge role in economic growth and development, Zoellick said.

“In this crisis, we will need more and more to identify creative ways to mobilize additional financing. This facility sends an important market signal,” encouraging the private sector to continue infrastructure investment and development.

April 25, 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. (l-r) Christine Lagarde, Minister of Finance, France; Roger Morier, World Bank; Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Hannfried von Hindenburg, IFC; Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Development Minister, Germany. Credit: Simone McCourtie, World Bank

France and Germany became the first to sign on to the Infrastructure Crisis Facility with commitments of about $660 million through German development bank KfW and roughly $1.3 billion through French development bank Proparco.

INFRA is designed to help countries offset the negative effects of the financial crisis on their infrastructure services and investment programs, with up to $45 billion available over the next three years. Assistance will be global, but Africa is expected to see a large share of the funding.

The Infrastructure Crisis Facility, administered by IFC, a private sector branch of the Bank Group, is expected to attract more than $10 billion to help bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

At today’s signing, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul appealed to industrialized countries to support the initiative and take into account the situation in developingFrench Finance Minister Christine Lagarde countries. “They’re not responsible for the crisis. We have a special responsibility to be at their side.”

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde added: This is a time “when we can put our money where our mouth is and commit to deliver…I think the World Bank has done an outstanding job dealing with issues that are difficult. This is a good illustration of how projects should be conducted. They should be focused where they can actually make a difference.”

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On a related note, I caught up earlier today with the Bank’s director for energy, transport and water, Jamal Saghir, who said the Bank’s Board has approved $9 billion in infrastructure projects already this fiscal year. That puts the Bank 47 percent ahead of the amount of infrastructure funding approved this time last year.

Saghir gave a shout-out to staff, who he credited with working hard to speed up project implementation to respond to the crisis.

For more information

 


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