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Social Development

Training the Burkinabe in Building Timber-Free Housing Alternatives

Karen Vega's picture

The WB team were welcomed to Boromo (a province of Bales located two hours from Ouagadogou) by a team from Association La Voute Nubienne; a French non-governmental organization(NGO) with field offices in Burkina Faso. Their team is composed of 11 Burkinabes and a French team member, who trains masons to construct timber-free houses using the Nubian Vault technique.

A Nubian Vault house is made from locally available materials and is designed to use no wood. Because the ceiling is raised into a vault it keeps the living space significantly cooler than a typical box shaped house with a tin roof. This design originated from upper-Egypt and is a good example of south-south technology transfer.

The project, funded by the Development Marketplace, is a pilot that will test out a strategy to identify local champions and potential clients for the Nubian Vault houses.

Let’s keep an eye out for social entrepreneurs and innovators

May Wazzan's picture

While most of us working on development issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, will probably know at least a couple of examples of renowned social enterprises or ventures in the region, I am not sure we have all truly come to know the real magnitude and potential impact of this sector in general.  Looking through the pretty widespread literature and case studies on social entrepreneurship, MENA is sadly under-represented. Why, one wonders.

Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential

Svava Bjarnason's picture

The headlines are sobering:
• The Arab World has 25% youth unemployment – the highest in the world – and female youth unemployment is even higher reaching over 30%
• The economic loss of youth unemployment costs US$40 to $50 billion annually – equivalent to the GDP of countries like Tunisia or Lebanon
• One third of the population in the region is below the age of 15 – a further third is aged 15 to 29.
• Two thirds of young people surveyed believe they do not have the skills required to get a good job

It is widely held that the revolutions taking place across the Middle East have been fuelled by a generation of youth who are over-educated or poorly-educated and unemployed.  Education for Employment (e4e) is an initiative that seeks to ‘realize Arab youth potential’ by providing education opportunities that focus on employability. The World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Islamic Development Bank commissioned research for 22 countries across the Arab World with ‘deep dive’ research undertaken in 9 countries.  The report found that demand for e4e solutions is substantial and yet supply is nascent.  It also identified that critical enablers are missing, such as quality and standard setting, funding mechanisms, internship opportunities and information for young people on the value of different types of education.

CommGAP Launches "Accountability Through Public Opinion"

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

CommGAP is delighted to announce the publication of its third edited volume, "Accountability Through Public Opinion: From Inertia to Public Action." The book is edited by CommGAP's Program Head Sina Odugbemi and Taeku Lee, Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Authors from development practice and academia discuss in 28 chapters how citizens can hold their governments accountable, and how genuine demand for accountability can be created.

The idea for the book was born at a CommGAP workshop in 2007 in Paris on "Generating Genuine Demand with Social Accountability Mechanisms." A few years later, we proudly present a compilation of essays that are relevant for current events in the Middle East and in North Africa as much as for any efforts to strengthen citizen's agency vis a vis their governments.

Development Marketplace in India supports the vision and ‘can-do’ spirit of social entrepreneurs

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Satyan Mishra, founder of DrishteeDrishtee is a network of over 14,000 rural enterprises that provides villages in India with access to internet connections, consumer products and critical community services.

Brainchild of Indian national Satyan Mishra, the Drishtee model is perfecting a “last mile delivery system” to reach villages that governments are unable to.

Mishra’s success was due in part to the faith that Global Development Marketplace (DM) — a Bank sponsored partnership that provides grant funding to support testing and scaling up of innovative ideas — had in his idea. In 2003 he received a $68,100 from DM allowing him to transform a budding idea into reality and scale up into three states: Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.

Are Citizen Service Centers Viable?

Sabina Panth's picture

In my earlier blog post, I had conceived the idea of 'fee-based service centers' that can be run through public-private partnership with the goal of improving citizens’ access to, and delivery of, government services.  The concept was considered in the context of sustainability of demand for good governance practices in relation to the aid dependency culture of civil society organizations.   Recently, I became aware that such ‘fee-based service centers’ do prevail and, in fact, have caught the attention of policymakers and development experts.

Civil society talks food price volatility, support to farmers

Sarah Holmberg's picture



As the Bank reported earlier this week, global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world. Rising prices have pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty since last June.

Bangladesh: Mapping climate change and food security

Sarah Holmberg's picture

In a blog post by Molly Norris and Joshua Powell for the End Poverty in South Asia blog, they talk about Bangladesh as "ground zero" at the intersection of climate change and food security.

"The country is widely recognized as one of the places most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate, which strains food systems alongside rapidly growing and urbanizing populations. Yet, despite these dual challenges, the World Bank expects Bangladesh will meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015," they write.

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Bangladesh: Mapping climate change and food security

South Asia's picture

Bangladesh food security projectBangladesh can be described as “ground zero” at the intersection of climate change and food security.

The country is widely recognized as one of the places most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate, which strains food systems alongside rapidly growing and urbanizing populations. Yet, despite these dual challenges, the World Bank expects Bangladesh will meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.

Given the impact of the global food crisis and numerous natural disasters, how is Bangladesh managing this feat? And can we map the country’s progress?

Ring the Bell and Stop the Violence

Sabina Panth's picture

Media has long been a powerful force for empowerment.  New media content is constantly being created with the purpose of encouraging citizens to address issues at the local, national and international levels.  One such example is India’s Bell Bajao (Ring the Bell) campaign, which has used new media channels to catch the attention of local youth on the important issue of domestic violence and encourage them to become a part of the solution.


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