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In Bangladesh, building the skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Mustahsin-ul-Aziz's picture
With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, the landscape of jobs, and the skills required for jobs, are quickly changing around the world. Bangladesh is no exception. Already the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector—the leading export sector employing a significant portion of the workforce— is undergoing major automation, which threatens the loss of jobs by the thousands.

This places significant importance on continuous skills training to prepare the workforce ready for future jobs. For this, what are the policy options for Bangladesh? How can the country move forward to ride the wave of the changing tide while leveraging the burgeoning youth population?

To answer these questions, and contribute towards the skills dialogue, an International Skills Conference was organized recently in Dhaka under the theme “Building Brands for Skills of Bangladesh”. The conference brought together national and international policymakers, skills development practitioners, academics, and researchers, from China, Singapore and India for two days of knowledge sharing and networking.
 
A memo agreement between Bangladesh and China

Organized by the Technical and Madrasah Education Division of the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh and supported by the Directorate of Technical Education and the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP), the conference covered topics ranging from connecting skills and jobs to future proofing technical education institutions to raising the brand of skills of Bangladesh. After two days of knowledge sharing, two important themes emerged:

Five reasons why Sri Lanka needs to attract foreign direct investments

Tatiana Nenova's picture
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.

To facilitate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Sri Lanka is launching this week an innovative online one-stop shop to help investors obtain all official approvals. To mark the occasion, this blog series explores different aspects of FDI in Sri Lanka. Part 2 will explore how the country can attract more FDI. Part 3 will relate how the World Bank is helping to create an enabling environment for FDI in Sri Lanka.

You may have heard that Sri Lanka is intent on drumming up more foreign direct investments up to $5 billion by 2020. At the same time, the government aims to improve the lives of Sri Lanka’s citizens by generating one million new and better jobs.
 
This isn’t a pipe dream. Thanks to its many advantages like a rich natural resource base, its strategic geographic position, highly literate workforce and fascinating culture, the island nation is ripe for investment in sectors such as tourism, logistics, information technology-enabled services, and high-value-added food processing and apparel.
 
What is foreign direct investment and why does Sri Lanka need it?
 
Very simply, foreign direct investment (or FDI) is an investment made by a company or an individual in a foreign country. Such investments can take the form of establishing a business in Sri Lanka, building a new facility, reinvesting profits earned from Sri Lanka operations or intra-company loans to subsidiaries in Sri Lanka.
 
The hope is that these investment inflows will bring good jobs and higher wages for Sri Lankan workers, increase productivity, and make the economy more competitive.  
 
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
 
Attracting more FDI can help achieve that goal and fulfill the promise of better jobs.
 
Here are five reasons why:

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.

Innovative agribusinesses could drive agriculture modernization in Sri Lanka

Andrew D. Goodland's picture

Agribusiness can help drive prosperity in Sri Lanka – and we know just the entrepreneurs to do it. Over the last few months, we have seen over 1000 proposals come pouring in for consideration under the matching grants scheme (MGS) for agribusiness.  Today, the Government will sign the grant documents with the first entrepreneurs to make the cut.



The winning proposals lay out a clear plan for commercial and export-oriented agriculture initiatives that facilitate private sector investment, provide technical assistance, strengthen farmer producer organizations and promote smallholder–agribusiness partnerships.
 
The goal is to increase their competiveness, business orientation and market position in order to make them more attractive business partners in the value chain. It’s an ambitious task, but Sri Lanka’s agri-entrepreneurs have risen to the challenge.
 
Matching grants scheme supports agribusiness
 
The matching grants scheme, implemented by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Primary Industries comes under the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project. Supported by the World Bank, with additional funding from the European Union, the project is implemented through the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Ministry of Agriculture, and five participating provinces including the Northern, Eastern, Central, North-Central and Uva Provinces.
 
A rigorous and transparent selection process was used to create a shortlist. Successful applicants would be offered up to 50 percent of the investment required through the scheme, matched by their own funds or raised from commercial loans.  
 
These small enterprises need the boost. Today, beside a few major agriculture companies, most operators in Sri Lanka are small-scale cultivators who face problems related to low productivity and lack of diversification, absence of market linkages, non-availability of inputs and limited access to credit facilities. Farmers are not organised and tend to focus on low value crops that limit income generation.

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.

Empowering Indian women after a natural disaster hits

Hyunjee Oh's picture
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills. Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills. Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.


This blog is part of a series exploring housing reconstruction progress in Uttarakhand, India.
  
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills.
 
The disaster – the worst in the country since the 2003 tsunami—hit more than 4,200 villages, damaged 2,500 houses, and killed 4,000 people.
 
Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.
 
“The river was fast swelling up,” she said. “It had crossed the danger mark and reached close to our house. We just took our daughter and left with an umbrella and a lantern.”
 
She now owns a new house abuzz with music and her daughter’s laughs.
 
Like thousands of other people in Uttarakhand, Damyanti received support through the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to rebuild her home.
 
This support channeled through the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project (UDRP) also helped build better roads and mitigate future disaster risks in local communities.
 
A key component of the project was to rebuild 2,382 more resilient houses based on the owner-driven housing reconstruction model,  which allows families to rebuild according to their specific needs.
 
This community-driven approach is important as women are typically at greater risk from natural hazards than men, particularly those who are poor and live in low-income countries.
 
There is indeed strong evidence that disasters impact women differently and amplify gender inequalities.
 
Women and men have different perceptions of their surroundings and coping abilities, roles, responsibilities, and resources before or in the aftermath of a disaster.
 
Gender-sensitive approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, adaptation, relief, recovery, and reconstruction can save more lives and promote more gender-inclusive development.  

With that in mind, the  housing reconstruction component of UDRP helped empower women like Damyanti in the aftermath of a disaster in 4 different ways:

Indian agriculture at a crossroads: Smart solutions towards doubling farmers’ incomes

Martien van Nieuwkoop's picture
A few weeks ago, I felt a sense of déjà vu.  I was at a roundtable on agriculture in Delhi, in the same conference hall where, ten years ago, I participated in the consultations on the Bank’s World Development Report 2008 on Agriculture for Development
 
This time we were discussing how India can build a stronger agriculture sector without further harm to the environment or depletion of its natural resources.  The high-level dialogue was attended by senior representatives from India’s Niti Aayog, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, leaders of farmers’ associations from Punjab and Haryana, as well as by researchers, academics, and donors.

We focused on the ‘agriculture-water-energy’ nexus, achieving India’s second green revolution, making agriculture more climate resilient, as well as options to stop the burning of crop residue that is worsening air quality in much of northern India. It was heartening to see the torch bearers of India’s drive towards food security unhesitatingly debate a host of complex and sensitive issues.
 
Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Over the past six decades, India has come a long way from being a famine-prone country to comfortably producing food for 1.25 billion people from finite arable land. Food security firmly in hand, the government is now targeting to double farmers’ incomes by 2022.  Today, with rapidly growing urban food markets, India is emerging as a global agricultural powerhouse.

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