Vài tháng trước, tôi có chuyến đi Lào Cai - một khu vực có nhiều dân tộc thiểu số sinh sống ở miền núi phía Bắc Việt Nam- để giám sát một cuộc khảo sát thí điểm. Tôi đã tình cờ gặp một người đàn ông lớn tuổi - một người điển hình trong số rất nhiều người mà chúng tôi đã gặp – đó là một người nông dân chỉ vừa đủ sống, có trình độ học vấn tối thiểu chỉ biết nói tiếng dân tộc và hiếm khi ra khỏi bản làng.
Người dân tộc thiểu số chiếm 15% dân số của Việt Nam nhưng chiếm tới 70% nhóm đối tượng cực nghèo (được đo lường theo chuẩn cực nghèo quốc gia). Trong suốt hai thập kỷ tăng trưởng nhanh của Việt Nam, người dân tộc thiểu số ở quốc gia này đã có mức sống được cải thiện lên một cách toàn diện, song thành quả được hưởng của nhóm đối tượng này còn kém xa so với dân tộc chiếm đa số là người Kinh.
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หน้าฝนมาเยือนเมืองไทยอีกแล้ว มาพร้อมกับความทรงจำถึงน้ำท่วมครั้งใหญ่ในปี 2554 ที่ส่งผลกระทบต่อผู้คนกว่า 13 ล้านคน มีผู้เสียชีวิต 680 ราย และสร้างความเสียหาย 46.5 พันล้านเหรียญสหรัฐฯ ผลกระทบของน้ำท่วมที่มีต่อธุรกิจและห่วงโซ่อุปทานของโลกที่มีการบันทึกไว้เป็นอย่างละเอียด และเป็นข่าวพาดหัวตลอดทั้งปี 2555 แต่ว่าคนยากคนจนล่ะเป็นอย่างไรบ้าง?
น้ำท่วมคราวนั้นเปลี่ยนแปลงชีวิตชายและหญิงหลายแสนคน โดยเฉพาะผู้ที่อยู่ในสภาพง่อนแง่นไม่มั่นคงอยู่แล้ว สองปีผ่านไปเกิดความเปลี่ยนแปลงอะไรขึ้นบ้าง?
จากการที่ได้ไปเยือนโครงการพัฒนายกระดับชุมชนแออัดสองแห่งในกรุงเทพฯ ตอนเหนือเมื่อเดือนก่อน ก็ได้พบเห็นเรื่องราวที่เป็นประเด็นสำหรับเมืองอื่นๆ ในเอเชียที่กำลังเผชิญกับการเพิ่มขึ้นของจำนวนประชากรอย่างรวดเร็ว พลังอำนาจของภัยธรรมชาติ และความแปรปรวนของสภาพภูมิอากาศ
You can see it in the smiles on the faces of villagers in Ban Nam Jing, two hours outside of Vientiane the capital of Lao PDR. People's lives are improving. In this village of 158 households incomes have increased thanks in part to the 'Power to the People' (P2P) project supported by the World Bank. The program targets the poor, especially female heads of household, with subsidies to pay for electrical connections.
The villagers I met say initially only wealthier families could pay to be connected. Poorer families were left behind unable to afford the cost with their incomes from producing rice, cassava and rubber. Now with lights at night they are also producing handicrafts and textiles to boost their incomes. There are other benefits, with refrigeration people say they can keep food longer, before it used to rot and they would have to eat it quickly. In addition, their children can now study at night and they have TV for entertainment and to learn more about the rest of the world.
|Watch the video highlighting the report's findings.|
My mother always told me that first impressions are deceptive. Turns out, this is true also when it comes to gender equality.
I lived in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, for six years, working in the World Bank’s country office on social development and gender issues. I still recall arriving in Vientiane, the sleepy city by the mighty Mekong river, and being taken by surprise of how empowered women seemed to be. I noticed women driving their motorbikes in the city, female shop owners serving delicious mango and papaya, and women in the latest business suits hurrying back to the office.
In a country where poverty has decreased by 25% since the 1990s, it was easy to get the impression that women are truly enjoying the benefits of development on equal terms with men. The laws are supportive of women as well. These have clear targets in place that promote women’s human development, economic opportunity, and participation.
|Axel talks about his trip to Myanmar in a video below.|
You can feel the energy in Myanmar today—from the streets of Yangon, in the offices of government ministries and in rural villages. Dramatic political and economic changes are sweeping the country.
|Availability of work has provided new opportunities for people in Honiara.|
We were shooting a film in the main street of Honiara about the Rapid Emplo
|The report says that a highly-educated, healthier and skilled workforce will enhance productivity.|
Economic news coming from the Philippines is surprisingly positive, and this has not gone unnoticed in international circles, judging by the number of inquiries we—the World Bank economic team in Manila that I am now leading—are getting. Our GDP growth forecast for 2012 (included in the new Philippines Quarterly Update report) is a solid 4.6 percent, while the first quarter saw an even more respectable growth rate of 6.4 percent. Other good news: foreign direct investment doubled in the first quarter, exports were up by 18 percent, and two ratings agencies upgraded their outlook on the Philippines.
However, the economy faces two challenges going forward: it will need to defend itself against a global slowdown, and it will also need to create a more inclusive growth pattern—one that creates more and better jobs, because performance on job creation has not been part of the positive news coming from the Philippines for quite a while now.
Timor-Leste has one of the youngest populations in the world, with more than three quarters under 30. Opening pathways for young people – allowing them to get an education, find employment and engage in public life – will be critical for building lasting peace and development.
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|Changes were made in the way village meetings were run so women would participate more.|
Whenever and wherever the Bank supports a project, to “mainstream” gender is one of the goals. The idea is a fairly simple one. Right? Making sure that men and women benefit equally from the poverty reduction activities we support.
There are a number of tools we produce to help us achieve this—Gender Analysis, Regional Gender Action Plans, County Gender Action Plans, Gender Disaggregated Outcome Indicators, Gender Check-Lists, Strategies and Tool-Kits, etc. So looking at the amount of guidance we seem to need one might be forgiven for thinking this is an exceedingly complex task and for wondering whether in reality (i.e. after that board approval is done and the real work of implementation begins) all of the “gender mainstreaming language” doesn’t get a little lost in translation…