Syndicate content

Sustainable Communities

How to boost female employment in South Asia

Martin Rama's picture
What's driving female employment in South Asia to decrease


South Asia is booming. In 2018, GDP growth for the region as a whole is expected to accelerate to 6.9 percent, making it the fastest growing region in the world. However, fast GDP growth has not translated into fast employment growth. In fact, employment rates have declined across the region, with women accounting for most of this decline.

Between 2005 and 2015, female employment rates declined by 5 percent per year in India, 3 percent per year in Bhutan, and 1 percent per year in Sri Lanka. While it is not surprising for female employment rates to decline with economic growth and then increase, in what is commonly known as the U-shaped female labor force function (a term coined by Claudia Goldin in 1995), the trends observed in South Asia stand out. Not only has female employment declined much more than could have been anticipated, it is likely to decline further as countries such as India continue to grow and urbanize.

The unusual trend for female employment rates in South Asia is clear from Figure 1. While male employment rates in South Asia are in line with those of other countries at the same income level, female employment rates are well below.
From the South Asia Economic Focus
Source: South Asia Economic Focus (Spring 2018).

If women are choosing to exit the labor force as family incomes rise, should policymakers worry? There are at least three reasons why the drop in female employment rates may have important social costs. First, household choices may not necessarily match women’s preferences. Those preferences reflect the influence of ideas and norms about what is women’s work and men’s work as well as other gendered notions such as the idea that women should take care of the children and housework. Second, when women control a greater share of household incomes, children are healthier and do better in school. Third, when women work for pay, they have a greater voice in their households, in their communities, and in society. The economic gains from women participating equally in the labor market are sizable: A recent study estimated that the overall gain in GDP to South Asia from closing gender gaps in employment and entrepreneurship would be close to 25 percent.

#IndiaWeWant Photo Contest: Shortlisted Entries

Roli Mahajan's picture

The World Bank in India ran the #IndiaWeWant photo competition through our Facebook and Twitter channels, where we invited participants to share photographs capturing the key development priority for India. The #IndiaWeWant photo competition was open for a month and we have received many compelling entries. 

Now it is time for us to choose our winners.

We asked a jury of three members comprising professional and development photographers -- Michael Foley, Anirban Dutta, Anupam Joshi-- to come together and do the honours.

Here are the #IndiaWeWant entries that have made it to the longlist. They will be deliberating over these soon and selecting the WINNER as well as the 9 others, as stated in the rules.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below and if one of your entries has been selected then please do send us an email ([email protected]) with the actual photograph and your details (Name, Phone Number).
 

Banking on women’s empowerment for a sustainable and stronger India 
The global efforts for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals could be accelerated by synergising women's empowerment with environmental conservation. 
Since past 32 years, Barli Development Institute for Rural Women (BDIRW) has been empowering rural and tribal women through organising free 6-monthly residential training program covering literacy, organic-farming, solar-cooking, health and tailoring&cutting. More than 8200 women have been empowered, who are changing the sustainable development horizons of their families and tribal communities (www.barli.org#IndiaWeWant 
In Picture: The women-trainees from Alirajpur (Dhauli, Rita, Angita, Karmi) planting trees in BDIRW campus (Indore, India) 
Photo credit: Yogesh Jadhav
 
For India, developing priority should be the education of girls in rural areas. They enrolled in school in beginning but they are not able to make it till the end, either they are forced to marry at the age of 10 or 13. In future, they are illiterate mothers who cannot read and write properly and also they become a victim of domestic violence as they are unaware about their rights. #IndiaWeWant
Photo Credit: Neha Rawat
To me, development is more than improvement in nation's GDP. It must be conceived as a multidimensional process, involving changes in the entire spectrum through which human capabilities are expanded, like education, healthcare, social participation or the freedom to make choices. The primary objective of development is to benefit people and improve the quality of life, which can only be achieved if all marginalised and excluded groups are equal stakeholders in the process alongwith active involvement in the planning, execution and monitoring of development programs.
The couple below selling lights which are battery operated but thankfully their smiles are not.#IndiaWeWant
Photo Credit: Maneka Naren Yadav‎

It’s time to end malnutrition in South Asia

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.
Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across South Asia as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.

In Sri Lanka, as in the rest of South Asia, improving agricultural production has long been a priority to achieve food security. 

But growing more crops has hardly lessened the plight of malnutrition. 

Chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don’t have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices. 
And children and the poorest are particularly at risk.

South Asia is home to about 62 million of the world’s 155 million children considered as stunted-- or too short for their age. 

And more than half of the world’s 52 million children identified as wasted—or too thin for their height—live in South Asia. 

Moderate-to-severe stunting rates ranged from 17 percent in Sri Lanka in 2016 to a high 45 percent in Pakistan in 2012–13, with rates above 30 percent for most countries in the region.

Moderate-to-severe wasting rates ranged from 2 percent in Bhutan in 2015 to 21 percent in India in 2015–16, with rates above 10 percent for most countries in the region. 

The social and economic cost of malnutrition is substantial, linked to impaired cognitive development, chronic disease, and lower future earnings.

And sadly, much remains to be done to ensure children across South Asia can access the nutritious foods they need to live healthy lives. 

From Japan to Bhutan: Improving the resilience of cultural heritage sites

Barbara Minguez Garcia's picture
This page in: 日本語
 Barbara Minguez Garcia 2018
When it comes to their heritage buildings, both Bhutan and Japan have one common enemy: Fire. A view of Wangduephodrang Dzong in Bhutan which was destroyed by fire in 2012. Credit: Barbara Minguez Garcia 2018

About 2,749 miles, three countries, and a sea separate Kyoto, Japan, and Thimphu, Bhutan. The countries’ languages are different, and so are their histories.

But when it comes to their heritage buildings, both nations have one common enemy: Fire.

And to help prevent fire hazards, there’s a lot Bhutan can learn from Japan’s experience.

To that end, a Bhutanese delegation visited Tokyo and Kyoto last year to attend the Resilient Cultural Heritage and Tourism Technical Deep Dive to learn best practices on risk preparedness and mitigation, and apply them to Bhutan’s context.

Such knowledge is critical as Bhutan’s communities live in and around great heritage sites.

In South Asia, poor rural women have begun to set up lucrative new businesses

Adarsh Kumar's picture

Across South Asia, our agriculture and rural development projects are helping transform the lives of poor rural women. From daily wage laborers they are now becoming entrepreneurs who generate jobs for others. Over the last decade, these projects have supported an estimated 5 million micro and small entrepreneurs, most of whom are women.
 
Asha, from Udaipur District in Rajasthan, used to sell vegetables in a nearby town.   Over time, this traditional village woman observed that flowers were in demand near the town’s main temple for use as ritual offerings. With encouragement from Manjula, a micro enterprise consultant under the Bank’s Rajasthan Rural Livelihoods Project (RRLP), Asha began cultivating marigolds on part of her family farm where millets had always been grown.  Manjula helped Asha draw up a basic business plan for a floriculture enterprise, taught her how to estimate potential expenses and earnings, and the way to maintain accounts. Asha now sells flowers at more than three times the price of her traditional millet crop, and her annual income has increased by 35%. She has devoted a larger area of her farm to floriculture, and started a nursery to grow flower saplings to sell to other aspiring marigold farmers.  Asha is now looking to expand her sapling nursery by renting more land, for which she is seeking a bank loan.

Outside Kathmandu in Nepal, Ambika Ranamgar used to work for building contractors, cutting marble and laying tiles in houses under construction. Then she struck out on her own. With encouragement and support from a community mobilizer under the Nepal Poverty Alleviation Fund (NPAF), Ambika took a loan of Rs. 80,000 ($740) to buy her own equipment, including a marble-cutting machine and a generator to power the machines during the city’s frequent power cuts. She then scouted for work visiting local hardware stores, and gradually began to get more clients. Ambika’s income has now more than doubled from her daily wage of Rs. 600 to reach between Rs. 1,000 to 1,500 rupees per day. She is now focused on getting more business and managing her supplies and workers.  At the time we visited her, Ambika had employed five workers, including her husband, and was busy laying the flooring for two houses.

 nepal - Anamika Ramgar

More women need to shape Pakistan’s digital future

Uzma Quresh's picture
Annie Gul from Codematics tells the audience of what is required to have more women digital entrepreneurs in KP
Annie Gul from Codematics tells the audience of what is required to have more women digital entrepreneurs in KP

“I have always enjoyed studying computer and human physiology since childhood, that’s why I jumped at the opportunity of developing a scientific application with KPITB’s support. This app has even helped my younger brother understand different body organs and their functions in a fun way. The KPITB’s ‘early age programming’ program has supported many girls from public schools, who would otherwise have never received this chance of realizing their dream of developing apps.”

Such compelling words came from Hafsa, a 13-year-old female student of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) public school as she addressed about one thousand young men and women at this year’s Digital Youth Summit (DYS) in Peshawar.

Girls like Hafsa are becoming the face of DYS, an annual event that brings the spotlight on young talent and their digital innovations.

I heard similar passionate accounts during my two-day interaction with KP youth as they shared candidly how they had transformed challenges into opportunities through hard work and perseverance.

DYS has brought together the next generation of digital entrepreneurs since 2014 to educate and inspire youth in a conflict-affected region where 50 percent of people are age 30 or under.

Such forums also provide a space for youth to voice their aspirations and claim for greater and more meaningful socio-economic inclusion.   

And while Hafsa’s impassionate story of progress resonated with everyone in the room, it stood as a stark reminder that Pakistan still has a long way to go to achieve an equal digital future for both men and women.

Indeed, statistics about women’s employment in KP and FATA are alarming as only 14% of women in KP and 8.6% of women in FATA work for pay.

Fittingly, DYS discussed different gender issues and offered solutions to boost female digital entrepreneurship.

இலங்கையின் தோட்ட பகுதிகளில் கல்வி மற்றும் ஆரம்பகால சிறுபராய பராமரிப்பை மேம்படுத்தல்

Shalika Subasinghe's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
இலங்கையில் தோட்டத் தொழிற்துறையானது தேயிலை,றப்பர் அல்லது தெங்குத் தோட்டங்களை உள்ளடக்கியதாகவும், அரசாங்கத்தாலோ, பிராந்திய தோட்ட நிறுவனங்களாலோ, தனி நபர்களாலோ, குடும்பங்களாலோ நிர்வாகிக்கப்படுவதாகவோ, சொந்தமானதாகவோ இருக்கின்றன.
 
இலங்கையின் சனத்தொகையில் 4 வீதமான மக்கள் பெருந்தோட்டங்களில் வாழ்கின்றனர்.  கடந்த தசாப்தத்தில் இலங்கையில், வறுமை விகிதம் கணிசமானளவு முன்னேறியிருந்தாலும் கூட, பெருந்தோட்டங்களில் வாழும் மக்கள் மிகவும் வறிய சூழ்நிலையிலேயே வாழ்கின்றனர்.
 
ஹட்டன், மத்திய பிரிவின் மவுண்ட் வெர்னன் தோட்டத்தில், ஒரு பழைய சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி மையம் (CDC) ஒன்று வீதிக்கு மிக அருகுமியில், சிறுவருக்கு அங்கிங்கே அசைவதற்கும் இடமில்லாதளவு மிகச்சிறிய இடவசதியோடு காணப்படுகிறது.
 
மிக அண்மைக்காலம் வரை மிக மோசமான நிலையில் வசதிகளற்றுக் காணப்பட்டது. அண்மையில் உலக வங்கியால் நிதி வழங்கப்படும் இலங்கை இளம் பராயத்து சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தித் திட்டத்தின் நிதியுதவியில் மூலமாக புதிய இடவசதியுடன் கூடிய CDC யைக் கட்டியெழுப்பும் வரை இந்நிலை தான் காணப்பட்டது.
 
மவுண்ட் வெர்னன் தோட்ட, மத்திய பிரிவின் ,  பிரைட்டன் முன்பள்ளி சிறுவர்கள் திறப்பு விழா நாளின்போது அனைவரையும் வரவேற்கத் தயாராகிறார்கள். படப்பிடிப்பு:  ஷாலிகா சுபசிங்க 

நிர்மாணப் பணியானது பூர்த்திசெய்யப்பட்டு 2017 ஒக்டோபரில் சமூகத்திடம் கையளிக்கப்பட்டது.
 
கிட்டத்தட்ட 20 சிறுவர்கள் தினமும்  சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி மையத்துக்கு சமூகம் தருகின்றனர்.
 
சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி அதிகாரியான கமல தர்ஷினி, சிறுவருக்கு புத்தம்புதிய இடமொன்று புதிய தளபாடங்கள், விளையாட்டுப் பொருட்களுடன் கிடைத்ததில் திருப்தியுற்றுள்ளார். அந்தச் சிறுவர்கள் வெவ்வேறு நிறங்களில் விருப்பம் கொண்டவர்களாகவும் சிறுவர் மையத்துக்கு தினந்தோறும் வருவதற்கு ஆர்வமுடையவர்களாக இருப்பதாகவும் அவர் உணர்கிறார்.
 
அந்த சிறுவர்களில் ஒருவரின் உறவினரான S.ராஜேஸ்வரி "புதிய சிறுவர் மையமானது பல மாற்றங்களைக் கொண்டுள்ளது.காற்றோட்டமானது. குழந்தைகள் விளையாடுவதற்கு இடவசதியும் உள்ளது. நீர் மற்றும் மின்சார வசதியும் உள்ளது" என்று குறிப்பிடுகிறார்.

இரண்டு வயதான தக்க்ஷிதாவின் தயாரான M.கௌரி "அங்கே சிறுவர்க்கான இரண்டு நவீன மலசல கூடக் கிண்ணக் கழிப்பறைகள் உள்ளது மகிழ்ச்சியைத் தருகிறது. எனது மகன் அங்கேஇயற்கை உபாதைகளைத் தீர்த்துக்கொள்ள விரும்புகிறார்"என்றார். அத்துடன் "வெளியேயுள்ள விளையாடும் பகுதி வேலியினால் அடைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.தக்ஷிதா பாதுகாப்பாக இருப்பார் என்பது மகிழ்ச்சியைத் தருவதோடு அவர் அருகேயுள்ள தேயிலைச் செடிப் பற்றைகளுக்குள் தொலைந்துவிட மாட்டார் என்பதில் மகிழ்ச்சி" என்று மேலும் தெரிவித்தார்.
 
சிறுகுழந்தைகள் அறையானது பாலூட்டுவதற்குத் தனியான இடத்தைக் கொண்டுள்ளதுடன், பால் மா கொடுப்பதை விட தாய்ப்பால் கொடுப்பதே சிறப்பானது என்பதை பிரசாரப்படுத்தும் இரு பெரிய சுவரொட்டிகள் தமிழிலும் சிங்களத்திலும் காணப்படுகின்றன.
 
கமலா 2010இல் தன்னுடைய சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி டிப்ளோமாவைப் பெற்றதுடன் இன்னொரு புதிய கற்கை நெறியை இவ்வருடம் தொடரவுள்ளார்.
 உதவி சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி அலுவலராகவுள்ள யமுனா பெருந்தோட்ட மனிதவள அபிவிருத்தி அறக்கட்டளை (PHDT) யால் நடத்தப்படும் சிறுவர் அபிவிருத்தி டிப்ளோமா நெறியைத் தொடர்கிறார்.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වතුකරය සඳහා වඩා හොඳ මුල් ළමාවිය රැකවරණ ක්‍ර‍මයක් හා අධ්‍යාපනයක් ඇති කිරීම

Shalika Subasinghe's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
තේ, රබර් හා පොල්වලින් සමන්විත ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වතු අංශය, රජය, ප්‍රාදේශීය වැවිලි සමාගම්, තනි පුද්ගලයින් හෝ පවුල් විසින් පාලනය කරනු ලබන හෝ හිමිකාරිත්වය දරනු ලබන්නකි.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ජනගහනයෙන් 4% ක් පමණ වතුකරයේ ජීවත් වෙති. පසුගිය දශකය තුළ ශ්‍රී ලංකාව පුරා දරිද්‍රතා අනුපාතයන් සැලකිය යුතු ලෙස ධනාත්මකව නැගෙද්දී, වතුකරයේ ජීවත්වන ජනතාව තවමත් රටේ ඉහළම දරිද්‍ර‍තාවයෙන් පෙළෙන ජනතාව අතර සිටිති.

හැටන්හි, මවුන්ට් වර්නන් වතුයායේ මැදි කලාපය තුළ මහා මාර්ගයට සමීපයෙන් ඇති පැරණි ළමා සංවර්ධන මධ්‍යස්ථානය (CDC) දරුවන්ට ඇවිද යන්නට හෝ අවකාශ රහිත, ඉතා සීමිත ඉඩකඩක පිහිටා තිබිණ.

මෑතක් වන තුරුම මෙහි පහසුකම් අලුත්වැඩියාවට ලක්ව තිබුණේ නැත.
 
මවුන්ට් වර්නන් වතුයායේ මැදි කලාපයේ ශිෂ්‍යයින්ගේ බ්‍ර‍යිට් පෙර පාසල් දරුවන් විවෘත කිරීමේ දිනයේ දී සෑම කෙනෙකුම සාදරයෙන් පිළිගැනීමට සූදානමින් සිටිති. ඡායාරූපය : ශාලිකා සුබසිංහ

ඒ, ලෝක බැංකුවේ මූල්‍ය අනුග්‍ර‍හයෙන් වන ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මුල් ළමා විය සංවර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘතිය යටතේ ඉඩ පහසුකම් සහිත, නව ළමා සංවර්ධන  මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් (CDC) ඉදිවන තුරු ය.
ඉදිකිරීම් කටයුතු අවසන් කර 2017 ඔක්තෝබර් මාසයේදී එය ප්‍ර‍ජාව වෙත පිළිගන්වන ලදී.

දැන්, සෑම දිනකම දරුවන් 20 කට ආසන්න පිරිසක් ළමා සංවර්ධන මධ්‍යස්ථානය වෙත පැමිණෙති.

දරුවන්ට අලුත්ම පුටු, මේස හා සෙල්ලම් බඩු සහිත නවතම මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් හිමි වීම පිළිබඳ ළමා සංවර්ධන නිලධාරිනී කමලා දර්ශනි සතුටු වන්නී ය. විවිධ වර්ණවලට ඇලුම් කරන දරුවන් සෑම දිනකම මධ්‍යස්ථානයට පැමිණීමට උනන්දු වන බව ඇයට පෙනී ගොස් ඇත.

එක් දරුවකුගේ නැන්දණිය වන එස්. රාජේශ්වරී පවසන්නේ "නව මධ්‍යස්ථානය බොහෝ වෙනස්කම් සහිතයි. එය වාතාශ්‍ර‍ය සහිතයි වගේම ළමයින්ට සෙල්ලම් කරන්නට වැඩි ඉඩකුත් තිබෙනවා. විදුලි සහ ජල පහසුකමුත් තිබෙනවා. " යනුවෙනි.

දෙහැවිරිදි දරුවකු වූ දක්ෂිතගේ මව වන එම්. ගෞරී පවසන්නේ "කුඩා, ජලයෙන් පිරිසිදු වන, ජල මුද්‍ර‍ත වැසිකිළි දෙකක් මෙහි තිබීම අගනා දෙයක්. මගේ පුතා මෙහේ වැසිකිළිය පාවිච්චි කරන්න කැමතියි. ඒත් එක්කම පිටත සෙල්ලම් පිට්ටනියට වැටක් යොදලයි තියෙන්නේ. දැන් දක්ෂිත ආරක්ෂා සහිතව ඉන්න බවත් එයා පිටත තේ පඳුරු තියෙන පැත්තට නොයන බවත් මම දන්නවා.“ යනුවෙනි.

Improving early childhood care and education in Sri Lanka’s plantations

Shalika Subasinghe's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்
In the Mount Vernon Estate Middle Division, Bright Preschool, children are getting ready to greet everyone on the day of the opening of the new facilities. Credit: Shalika Subasinghe
In Sri Lanka, the plantation sector comprises tea, rubber or coconut plantations managed or owned by the state, regional plantation companies, individuals, or families.

About 4 percent of the Sri Lankan population live in plantations. And while poverty rates have improved significantly in the last decade across Sri Lanka, people living in plantations are still among the poorest in the country. The Mount Vernon Estate, Middle Division, Hatton had an old Child Development Center (CDC) closer to the road with very limited space for the children to move around.

Until recently, the facilities were beyond repair.

That is, until the World Bank-funded Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development Project provided financial assistance to build a spacious new CDC.

The construction work was completed in October 2017 and handed over to the community.

Nearly 20 children now attend the CDC every day.

Kamala Darshani, the Child Development Officer in charge is pleased that the children now have a brand new center with new tables, chairs, and toys. She finds that the children love various colors and feels that the children could benefit from attending the center every day. 

 

Promoting better nutrition in Bhutan

Izabela Leao's picture
 Izabela Leao / World Bank
School children singing and dancing in Samtse Dzongkhag. Photo Credit: Izabela Leao / World Bank

Bhutan is no ordinary place.

A landlocked Himalayan kingdom tucked in a mostly rugged mountainous terrain between India and China, it measures prosperity by assessing its citizens’ level of happiness by way of a Gross National Happiness index.

Equally striking, Bhutan’s constitution mandates that 60 percent of its national land be preserved under forest cover, making Bhutan the world’s only carbon-negative country.

Bhutan’s geography – with land rises ranging from 200 meters in the southern foothills to 7,000 meters in the high northern mountains – consists of three major agro-ecological zones that allow for a rich biodiversity and seasonal foods.

This natural wealth, however, comes with its caveats as Bhutanese living in isolated rural areas can’t access a reliable diverse diet throughout the year.

"Many families in rural Bhutan practice two meals rather than three meals a day," reports Ms. Kinley Bidha, Tarayana Foundation Field Officer in Samtse Dzongkhag. "Some for cultural reasons, others due to a shortage of food, others due to a shortage of land too farm," she adds.

Overall socio-economic development in the last three decades has led to a rapid improvement in health and nutrition outcomes in Bhutan – the country’s infant mortality rate declined to 30 per 1,000 live births in 2012 down from 90 per 1,000 in 1990; while the rate of stunting in children under 5 years declined 24 percent from 1986 levels.

Nonetheless, the lack of variety of foods in diet remains a key concern, especially for pregnant and nursing women as well as young children. And while most families feed their children complementary food, fewer than a quarter of parents provide them nutritious meals essential to their health.

In addition, 67 percent of Bhutanese adults consume less than the recommended five servings (or 400 grams) of fruits and/or vegetables per person a day [National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2015].

When consumed, vegetables consist for the most part of two national staples, potatoes and chilies, which hardly provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Keeping regional variations in mind, between 16 and 34 percent of children under 5 are stunted—or too short for their age—seven percent of children are underweight, 35 percent of children of age 6-59 months and 44 percent of women of reproductive age are either anemic or iron deficient. Exclusive breastfeeding rates for six-month-old children remain at a low 50 percent (NNS, 2015).  

Damages caused by malnutrition during pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life are irreversible and contribute to stunting and lower immunological and cognitive development, and predispose to adult-onset diseases (including metabolic syndrome).

Thankfully, the negative impact of malnutrition on Bhutan’s economy is now better understood and has become a priority to promote its national development.

Pages