Last month, during a visit to the Philippines I had the opportunity to meet some of the 28,000 families* whose lives have been changed by the Manila Water Supply Pilot Project.
We visited Southville in Barangay San Isidro in the Rodriguez Municipality. This neighborhood was built from a government-financed housing project that resettled about 10,000 poor households. They used to be informal settlers, some living along the Manggahan floodway or Pasig River that were affected by the flood caused by typhoon Ondoy (International name: Ketsana).
|Photo by echo0101 through a Creative Commons license|
Most of the world celebrates New Year with fireworks. In Thailand we welcome the New Year, in April, with water. During “Songkran” (Thai New Year), we pour scented water on the hands of our elders as a show of respect and to receive their blessings. It’s also a very festive celebration that’s marked by entertainment, water fights that spill into the streets, and a huge amount of people travelling by road to spend the holidays with their families and friends.
When things get out of hand, the situation becomes a recipe for disaster. During the Songkran week of 2012 alone, according to the government’s Road Safety Directing Center (pdf in Thai), there were 320 deaths and 3,320 people injured by road traffic crashes, mostly from drunk driving. Every Songkran becomes a reminder that road traffic injuries and fatalities are still a major public health and development challenge in Thailand.
Available in English
ประเทศเกือบทั่วไปในโลกฉลองปีใหม่ด้วยการจุดพลุเล่นไฟ ในประเทศไทย เรารับปีใหม่ในเดือนเมษาด้วยชุ่มช่ำของน้ำ ในเทศกาลสงกรานต์ เรามีประเพณีรดน้ำดำหัวผู้ใหญ่เพื่อแสดงความกตัญญูและความเป็นสิริมงคล แล้วยังเป็นช่วงเวลาของความสนุกสนาน ได้เล่นน้ำกันบนท้องถนน ผู้คนต่างเดินทางไปกับเพื่อนผองและครอบครัวกันเป็นจำนวนมากในวันหยุดนี้
แต่เมื่อสังสรรค์กันจนเลยเถิดไป ความสนุกก็กลายเป็นความหายนะได้ จากสถิติของศูนย์อำนวยการความปลอดภัยทางถนน (pdf) สัปดาห์สงกรานต์ปี 2555 มีผู้เสียชีวิต 320 ราย และบาดเจ็บ 3,320 ราย จากอุบัติเหตุบนท้องถนน และส่วนมากมาจากการเมาแล้วขับ ทุกๆ สงกรานต์จึงเป็นเครื่องเตือนใจว่า ประเทศไทยกำลังประสบกับปัญหาหลักในเรื่องการสาธารณสุขและการพัฒนาประเทศจากการเสียชีวิตและบาดเจ็บที่เกิดจากอุบัติเหตุทางถนน
Cũng có ở Tiếng Việt
Doing something useful for my country, Vietnam, always makes me happy. And I’ve tried to get this feeling through my work in developing the transport infrastructure network in Vietnam for over 10 years. Vietnam has come a long way, but there are still many related challenges ahead to make such development sustainable.
I still recall a conversation with a Bank’s specialist on HIV/AIDS a few years ago. We were discussing about the people who have recently availed of the Voluntary Counseling and Testing centers in the Mekong Delta region for HIV tests. She pointed out that they were mostly wives of construction workers employed in infrastructure projects. Sometime later I visited the construction sites and talked to the workers and their managers about the subject. I felt so worried, as their understanding on HIV/ AIDS was quite limited and wondered what could be done to protect this group of people from such a deadly disease?
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Tôi luôn cảm thấy vui khi làm được điều gì đó có ích cho đất nước Việt Nam. Và trong hơn 10 năm làm việc cho Ngân hàng Thế giới, tôi đã luôn nhận được niềm vui đó qua công việc của mình, một công việc giúp cho sự phát triển của ngành giao thông vận tải Việt Nam. Tuy nhiên, bên cạnh những thành tựu mà ngành giao thông vận tải Việt Nam đã đạt được, vẫn còn những thách thức cho sự phát triển bền vững của ngành khiến tôi phải trăn trở.
Tôi còn nhớ vài năm trước khi tình cờ nói chuyện với một đồng nghiệp của tôi là chuyên gia về HIV/ AIDS. Chị nói những năm gần đây ở vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long trong số những người đến xét nghiệm HIV tại các Trung tâm y tế thì đa phần lại là những người phụ nữ có chồng đang làm việc ở các dự án hạ tầng giao thông. Tôi đem chuyện này kể lại cho các công nhân và cán bộ đang làm việc trong dự án của mình ở Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long. Và tôi đã thực sự lo lắng khi nhận thấy vốn hiểu biết về HIV/ AIDS của họ rất hạn chế. Một câu hỏi cứ lớn dần trong tôi: “Chúng ta cần phải làm gì để có thể bảo vệ những con người này khỏi căn bệnh chết người?”.
Available in English
การล่าช้างเพื่อเอางามาขายยังคงดำเนินต่อไป ช้างจำนวนมากถูกทิ้งให้เลือดนองและตายไปในท้องทุ่ง เช่นเดียวกับบรรดาเจ้าหน้าที่ที่ปกป้องรักษาทรัพยากรธรรมชาติของประเทศต่างๆ ในช่วงสิบปีที่ผ่านมา มีเจ้าหน้าที่ลาดตระเวนเพื่อการอนุรักษ์สัตว์ป่าถูกสังหารไปกว่า 1,000 คนใน 35 ประเทศ สหพันธ์ผู้พิทักษ์ป่าระหว่างประเทศ (International Ranger Federation) ให้ข้อมูลว่าจำนวนเจ้าหน้าที่ที่ถูกสังหารทั้งโลกในช่วงระยะเวลาเดียวกันนี้อาจมีมากถึง 5,000 คน
Mongolia’s mining revenues are set to soar in the coming years, but here people talk about the need to save for the future.
Surely building infrastructure, educating young Mongolians, improving healthcare and creating jobs is important? Surely by achieving these development goals Mongolia is providing for the next generation? These are great questions. Mongolia must do these things. But they in turn depend on efforts to prevent boom and bust and provide financial assets for future generations. Saving some of the revenues in good times is part of effective natural resource management.
|Manothip met her first customers at an entrepreneurship fair for young people in Laos.|
How does one turn a creative idea into a profitable business? In my case, it started with a bag.