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Poverty

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:

The latest poverty numbers for Afghanistan: a call to action, not a reason for despair

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو

The just-released Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey (ALCS) paints a stark picture of the reality facing Afghanistan today. More than half the Afghan population lives below the national poverty line, indicating a sharp deterioration in welfare since 2011-12.[1]  The release of these new ALCS figures is timely and important. These figures are the first estimates of the welfare of the Afghan people since the transition of security responsibilities from international troops to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in 2014.

While stark, the findings are not a surprise

Given what Afghanistan has gone through in the last five years, the significant increase in poverty over this period is not unexpected. The high poverty rates represent the combined effect of stagnating economic growth, increasing demographic pressures, and a deteriorating security situation in the context of an already impoverished economy and society where human capital and livelihoods have been eroded by decades of conflict and instability.

The withdrawal of international troops starting in 2012, and the associated decline in aid, both security and civilian, led to a sharp decline in domestic demand and much lower levels of economic activity. The deterioration in security since 2012, which drove down consumer and investor confidence, magnified this economic shock. Not surprisingly, Afghanistan’s average annual rate of economic growth fell from 9.4 percent in the period 2003-2012 to only 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2016. With the population continuing to grow more than 3 percent a year, per capita GDP has steadily declined since 2012, and in 2016 stood $100 below its 2012 level. Even during Afghanistan’s years of high economic growth, poverty rates failed to drop, as growth was not pro-poor. In recent years, as population growth outstripped economic growth, an increase in poverty was inevitable.

په افغانستان کې د فقر په هکله د وروستیو ارقامو او شمېرو خپراوی: د عملي او مخنیوونکو اقدامونو لپاره خبرتیا، نه د ناهیلۍ رامنځته کول

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری

د افغانستان د احصائيي مرکزي ادارې لخوا په افغانستان کې د ژوند د وضعیت د څېړنې سروې موندنې په دغه هېواد کې د شته واقعیتونو به هکله یو مشرح انځور څرګند کړی. ترلاسه شوي معلومات دا څرګندوي، چې د افغانانو له نیمایي څخه زیات نفوس د فقر د کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، چې دا حالت د ۲۰۱۱ – ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کلونو[i] په پرتله د ټولنیزې- اقتصادي اوضاع په لا خرابېدلو دلالت کوي. د دغې سروې د تازه ارقامو او معلوماتو خپراوی په ډېر مناسب وخت کې ترسره کېږي، ځکه چې دا ارقام او اړونده تحلیلي ټولګه ېې د افغانستان د خلکو د هوساینې وضعیت وروسته له هغه چې په ۲۰۱۴ کال کې له نړیوالو ځواکونو څخه د افغانستان امنیتي ځواکونو ته امنیتي مسوولیتونو لېږد ترسره شو، په تفصیل سره څېړلۍ ده.
که څه هم د دغې سروې موندنې ناهیلۍ کوونکې دي، خو د حقیقت پربنسټ دي

دې حقیقت ته په پام سره، چې افغانستان په تېرو پنځو کلونو کې له زیاتو پېښو سره مخامخ شو او ډېرې لوړې او ژورې ېې تجربه کړې، نو ځکه په اوس وخت کې د فقر او بیوزلۍ د بې ساري زیاتوالي تمه هم کېدله. د فقر لوړه کچه د اقتصادي فعالیتونوله کمښت، د نفوس د زیاتوالي او د امنیتي وضعیت له خرابېدلو سره مستقیمه اړیکه لري. له بلې خوا د داسې یوې ټولنې جورښټ، چې اقتصادي بنسټونه ېې د اوږد مهاله جګړې او بحران له امله ویجاړې شوې وي او بشري ځواک او معیشتي برخې ېې د ټیکاو او امنیت د نه شتون له امله خورا زیانمنې شوي وي، پرته له کوم شک څخه، چې د فقر ټغر هم پکښې ډیر پراخ پاتې کېږي.

د ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کال په لومړیو کې د نړیوال ایتلاف د ځواکونو په تدریجي وتلو سره، او په ورته مهال د افغانستان د ملکي او پوځي څانګو د مالي مرستو کمېدل، د اقتصادي فعالیتونو او د خصوصي سکټور خدماتو لپاره د تقاضا کچه ېې په شدت سره زیانمنه کړې  ده. له ۲۰۱۴ کال وروسته د امنیتي وضعیت خورا خرابوالۍ د دې لامل شو، څو د پانګوالو او مستهلکینو باور په سیاسي اوضاع باندې را کم شي، او له دې امله یو ستر اقتصادي ټکان رامنځته شو. پرته له کوم شک څخه د افغانستان اقتصادي وده، چې له ۲۰۰۳ څخه تر ۲۰۱۲ کلونو پورې شاوخوا ۹،۴ سلنه وه، وروسته له هغه چېد ۲۰۱۳ تر ۲۰۱۶ کلونو په ترڅ کې امنیتي وضعیتخورا خراب شو، نو له امله ېې اقتصادي وده هم ۲،۱ سلنې ته را ټیته شوه. د نفوس د کچې د ۳سلنې، کلنۍ وده سره جوخت، د ناخالص کورني تولید په حساب د سرانه عاید کچه له ۲۰۱۲ کال راپدېخوا په دوام داره بڼه را ټيته شوې ده، څرنګه چې د ۲۰۱۲ کال په پرتله په ۲۰۱۶ کال کې د ۱۰۰ امریکايي دالرو په اندازه را ټیټه شوې ده. د یادونې وړ ده، چې حتي په هغو کلونو کې چې افغانستان یوه ښه اقتصادي وده لرله، د فقر او بېوزلۍ په کچه کې هراړخیز لږوالی رامنځته نه شو، ځکه، چې د اقتصادي ودې محور د هېواد په بېوزلو سیمو کې د فقر په کموالي تمرکز نه درلود. پر دې سربېره، په وروستیو کلونو کې له اقتصادي ودې څخه د نفوس د کچې د ودې چټکوالی، د دې لامل شوی، څو د فقر لمن نوره هم پراخه شي.

نشر آمار و ارقام اخیر پیرامون وضیعت فقر در افغانستان: هشدار برای اقدامات عملی و پیشگیرانه، نه ایجاد نا امیدی

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو

نشر سروی وضعیت زندگی درافغانستان توسط اداره مرکزی احصائیه یک تصویری کلی از واقیعت های موجود را در این کشور برملا میسازد. آمار و ارقام ارایه شده حاکی از آنست که بیشتر از نصف افغانها در زیر خط فقر زندگی مینمایند، که این حالت نشان دهنده تشدید وخامت اوضاع اجتماعی- اقتصادی نسبت به سالهای ۲۰۱۱-۲۰۱۲ میلادی[i] میباشد. نشر یافته ها و ارقام تازه این سروی در زمان مناسبی صورت میگیرد، چنانچه که این ارقام نخستین بسته معلومات تحلیلی پیرامون چگونگی وضعیت رفاه مردم افغانستان را پس از زمان انتقال مسؤولیت های امنیتی از نیروی های بین المللی به نیرو های امنیتی افغانستان در سال ۲۰۱۴ فراهم میسازد.

باوجود اینکه یافته ها این سروی نا اُمید کننده اند، اما مبتنی بر واقیعت اند

باتوجه به آنچه که در افغانستان در طی پنج سال گذشته اتفاق افتاده و این کشور مسیر پر فراز و نشیب پیموده، افزایش چشمگیر فقر در این مقطع زمانی دور از انتظار نبود. میزان بُلند فقر رابطه مستقیم با رکود فعالیت های اقتصادی، افزایش تراکم  نفوس و بدتر شدن وضعیت امنیتی دارد. از سوی دیگر ساختار های اقتصادی افغانستان طی سالیان متمادی در اثر جنگ و ناامنی از هم فروپاشیده و منابع بشری و معیشتی آن بنابر بی ثباتی و نا امنی به شدت آسیب دیده باشد، بدون شک که ریشه های فقر بستر گسترده دارد.

با شروع تدریجی خروج نیرو های بین المللی در اوایل سال ۲۰۱۲ میلادی، و کاهش همزمان کمک های مالی به بخش های نظامی و ملکی، میزان عرضه و تقاضا به خدمات و فعالیت های اقتصادی و سکتور خصوصی نیز به شدت کاهش یافت. بدترشدن اوضاع امنیتی پس از سال ۲۰۱۴؛ باعث کاهش اعتماد سرمایه گذاران و مسهلکین نسبت به اوضاع سیاسی گردید و این وضعیت بالنوبه یک شوکه اقتصادی بزرگ را ایجاد کرد. بدون شک میزان رُشد اقتصادی افغانستان که طی سالیان ۲۰۰۳ الی ۲۰۱۲ همه ساله در حدود ۹،۴ درصد بود، در اثر بدتر شدن اوضاع امنیتی در جریان سالهای ۲۰۱۳ الی ۲۰۱۶ به ۲،۱ درصد کاهش یافته است. همزمان با رُشد ۳ درصدی میزان نفوس در سال، میزان درآمد سرانه به حساب تولید ناخالص داخلی از سال ۲۰۱۲ بدینسو به طور دوامدار کاهش یافته است، چنانچه که  در سال ۲۰۱۶ به اندازه ۱۰۰ دالر امریکایی کاهش در مقایسه به سال ۲۰۱۲ گزارش گردیده است. شایان ذکر است که حتی در طول سال های که افغانستان رُشد اقتصادی مطلوب را تجربه کرد، کاهش قابل ملاحظۀ در میزان فقر رونما نگردید، زیرا محور رُشد اقتصادی در کاهش فقر بر محلات فقیر این کشور متمرکز نبود. رویهمرفته با پیش افتادن افزایش رُشد نفوس از رُشد اقتصادی در طی سال های اخیر، افزایش میزان فقر غیر قابل اجتناب بود.

Redefining women's empowerment in Bangladesh

Sabah Moyeen's picture
 

What does empowerment really mean? The Northern Area Reduction Initiative (NARI) project has forced me to ask this question several times. And the answers are apparently not as neat and foldable into the pre-set indicators as one would think.
 
Bangladesh’s garment industry has been at the heart of the country’s export boom ever since the first factory opened in 1976. Today, the industry accounts for 80% of Bangladesh’s total exports. 85% of the workers in the garments sector are women. The NARI program aims to facilitate the entry of skilled women into this sector. However, this program is not just about technical skills aimed at churning out yet another RMG worker. The girls learn how to adjust to life outside their homes and villages, open and manage bank accounts, and learn about their rights and responsibilities as workers. They also negotiate contracts and rent, understand what sexual harassment is, and learn how and where to report it. They build networks, allow ideas to form on the basis of newly discovered confidence and self-esteem. Some graduate and join the earmarked jobs, often in positions several steps ahead of what they would have been offered without the training.

It’s time to #PressForProgress for Sri Lanka’s women!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்
 
Starting today, March 8, we at the World Bank are embarking on a year-long effort to rally the government, our development partners, the private sector and the public to see how we can really deliver results for Sri Lanka’s women.
Starting today, March 8, we at the World Bank are embarking on a year-long effort to rally the government, our development partners, the private sector and the public to see how we can really deliver results for Sri Lanka’s women.    

International Women’s Day is always an important marker in my calendar and this year’s theme #PressForProgress couldn’t be more exciting.
 
Starting today, March 8, we at the World Bank are embarking on a year-long effort to rally the government, our development partners, the private sector and the public to see how we can really deliver results for Sri Lanka’s women.    
 
What’s the urgency?
 
Simply put, Sri Lanka is trailing behind many countries in its development bracket when it comes to working women. 
 
Did you know that 214,298 women over the age of 15 are unemployed in Sri Lanka today?  Sri Lanka’s female labor force participation or FLFP rate has stubbornly remained in the mid-thirties for the last two decades; out of an estimated 7.3 million people who are considered ‘economically inactive’ 73.8 percent are women, while just 26.2 percent are men.
 
It is clear this challenge is too great for any ministry, development partner or corporate office.
 
But why do Sri Lankan women need to get to work?
 
Because this country’s prosperity depends on it!  Sri Lanka is getting older before getting rich. Without a labor force the country cannot be competitive nor can it deliver on basic services that require revenue to be generated.
 
So, the question is, what will it take to really deliver change for Sri Lanka’s women? What are the challenges? How can we help motivate those able to energize change that will benefit women?    
 
The World Bank is ready to join the government, private sector, development partners and the citizens of Sri Lanka in supporting tangible initiatives which address the realities on the ground. We are going to advocate widely.
 
So, let’s start with a few important announcements. We want to learn from you. Tell us where we should start, and what specific issues need attention. We want to know what your challenges are, and who inspires you most.

இலங்கையில் பெண்களின் முன்னேற்றத்திற்காக உழைப்பதற்கான காலம் இது!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල
 
Starting today, March 8, we at the World Bank are embarking on a year-long effort to rally the government, our development partners, the private sector and the public to see how we can really deliver results for Sri Lanka’s women.
இன்று மார்ச் 8ம் திகதி தொடக்கம் உலக வங்கியைச் சேர்ந்த நாம் ஆரம்பித்துள்ள இந்த வேலைத்திட்டத்தினூடாக  நாட்டின் அரசாங்கம், அபிவிருத்திப் பங்காளர்கள், தனியார் துறையினர் மற்றும் பொதுமக்களையும் இணைத்துக் கொண்டு எங்ஙனம் இலங்கைப் பெண்களின் நிலையை முன்னேற்றும் விடயத்தில் சாதகமான பெறுபேறுகளை உண்மையாகவே அடையமுடியும் எனப் பார்க்கின்றோம்.

சர்வதேசப் பெண்கள் தினம் ,எனது நாட்காட்டியில் எப்போதுமே முக்கியத்துவம் மிகுந்த நாளாகும். அந்தவகையில் 'முன்னேற்றத்திற்காக பணியாற்றுவோம்' #PressForProgress என்ற இவ்வருடத்திற்கான தொனிப்பொருள் பெரும் உற்சாகத்தைத் தருவதாக அமைந்துள்ளது என்றால் மிகையாகாது.
 
இன்று மார்ச் 8ம் திகதி தொடக்கம் உலக வங்கியைச் சேர்ந்த நாம் ஆரம்பித்துள்ள இந்த வேலைத்திட்டத்தினூடாக  நாட்டின் அரசாங்கம், அபிவிருத்திப் பங்காளர்கள், தனியார் துறையினர் மற்றும் பொதுமக்களையும் இணைத்துக் கொண்டு எங்ஙனம் இலங்கைப் பெண்களின் நிலையை முன்னேற்றும் விடயத்தில் சாதகமான பெறுபேறுகளை உண்மையாகவே அடையமுடியும் எனப் பார்க்கின்றோம்.
 
ஏன் இந்த அவசரம்
 
எளிமையாகக் கூறுவதென்றால், தொழில்புரியும் பெண்களைப் பொறுத்தமட்டில் இலங்கை அதனையொத்த அபிவிருத்தி வீச்சிற்குள் இருக்கின்ற பல நாடுகளுடன் நோக்குகையில்  பின்தங்கிய நிலையில் காணப்படுகின்றது. இலங்கையிலுள்ள 15 வயதிற்கு மேற்பட்ட பெண்களில் 214, 298 பெண்கள் தொழிலற்றவர்களாக இருக்கின்றனர் என்பது உங்களுக்குத் தெரியுமா? 
 
இலங்கையின் தொழிற்படையில் பெண்களின் பங்கேற்பு வீதமானது கடந்த இருதசாப்தங்களில் 30களின் மத்தியிலேயே முன்னேற்றமின்றிக் காணப்படுகின்றது.  பொருளாதார ரீதியாக வினைத்திறன் அற்றவர்கள் எனக் கருதப்படுபவர்களாக கணிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ள 7.3 மில்லியன் மக்களில் 73.8 சதவீதமானவர்கள் பெண்களாக காணப்படும் அதேவேளை ஆண்களின் எண்ணிக்கை 26.2 சதவீதமாகக் காணப்படுகின்றது.  

ම‍ෙය ශ්‍රී ලාංකික කාන්තාවට “දියුණුව පි‍ණිස වැඩ කිරීමට“ කාලයයි.

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்
 
Starting today, March 8, we at the World Bank are embarking on a year-long effort to rally the government, our development partners, the private sector and the public to see how we can really deliver results for Sri Lanka’s women.
මාර්තු 8වන දින, එනම් අද දින පටන් ලෝක බැංකු වේ අප සැම රජය, අපගේ සංවර්ධන හවුල්කරුවන්, පුද්ගලික අංශය සහ මහජනතාව හා එක්ව, වසරක් මුළුල්ලේ කර්තව්‍යයන් ප‍ෙළ ගස්වමින් ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය කාන්තාව වෙත සැබැවින්ම ප්‍ර‍තිඵල හිමිකර ද‍ෙන්නේ ක‍ෙසේ දැයි විමසා බලන්න‍ෙමු.  

ජාත්‍යන්තර කාන්තා දිනය සෑම කලකම මාගේ දින දසුන‍ෙහි සුවිශේෂී සලකුණකි. ම‍ෙවර එහි තේමාව වන ‘#දියුණුව පිණිස වැඩ කරමු’ යන්න උද්යෝගය දනවන්නක් නොවේ ද?
මාර්තු 8වන දින, එනම් අද දින පටන් අප ලෝක බැංකුව‍ මගින් සමාරම්භය ලබන මෙම වැඩසටහන, රජය, අපගේ සංවර්ධන හවුල්කරුවන්, පුද්ගලික අංශය සහ මහජනතාව හා එක්ව, වසරක් මුළුල්ලේ කර්තව්‍යයන් ප‍ෙළ ගස්වමින් ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය කාන්තාව වෙත සැබැවින්ම ප්‍ර‍තිඵල හිමිකර ද‍ෙන්නේ ක‍ෙසේ දැයි විමසා බලන්න‍ෙමු.

කඩිනම් අවශ්‍යතාවය කුමක් ද?

සරලව ගත් කල, සේවා නියුක්තික කාන්තාවන් අංශයෙන් ශ්‍රී ලංකාව ගමන් කරන්නේ එහි සංවර්ධන කලාපයේ අන‍ෙකුත් රටවලට පසුපසිණි.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වයස අවුරුදු 15ට වැඩි කාන්තාවන් අතුරින් 214,298 ප්‍ර‍මාණයක් විරැකියාව‍ෙන් පසුවන බව ඔබ දන්නවා ද? පසුගිය දශක දෙක මුළුල්ලේ ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කාන්තා ශ්‍ර‍ම බලකා සහභාගීත්වය සියයට තිස් ගණන්වල පවතින්නේ ගණනය කර ඇති “ආර්ථික වශයෙන් අක්‍රීය“ මිලියන 7.3ක ජන සංඛ්‍යාවක් අතුරින් 73.8% ප්‍ර‍මාණයක් කාන්තාවන් බව වාර්තා වන පසුබිමක ය. පුරුෂයන් විෂයෙයහි එය යන්තමින් 26.2%ක අගයකි.

ඕනෑම එක් අමාත්‍යංශයකට, සංවර්ධන හවුල්කරුවකුට හෝ කලාපීය කාර්යාලයකට මෙය අභිමුඛ විය නොහැකි අභියෝගයක් බවට අටුවා ටීකා අනවශ්‍ය ය.

නමුත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකික කාන්තාවන් සේවයට එක් විය යුත්තේ ඇයි?

ඒ රටෙහි සෞභාග්‍යය ඒ මත පදනම් වන නිසා ය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාව පොහොසත් වීමට ප්‍ර‍ථමය‍ෙන් වියපත් වන රටකි. නිසි ශ්‍ර‍ම බලකායක් නොමැතිව රටට තරඟකාරී විය නොහැකි අතරම අපේක්ෂිත ආදායම ජනනය කිරීමට අවශ්‍ය මූලික සේවාවන් ලබා දීමට ද නොහැකි ය.

එසේ නම් ගැටළු වනුයේ, ශ්‍රී ලාංකික කාන්තාවන්ට ව‍ෙනසක් ළඟා කරලනු පිණිස කුමක් අවශ්‍ය වේ ද? අභියෝගයන් කවරේ ද? කාන්තාවන්ට ප්‍ර‍තිලාභ හිමි වන අන්දමේ ව‍ෙනසකට ශක්තියක් වීමට හැකියාව සහිතව උද්යෝගීමත්ව සිටින්නන්ට අපගේ සහය ලබා දිය හැක්කේ ක‍ෙසේ ද?

ලෝක බැංකුව, රජය, පුද්ගලික අංශය, සංවර්ධන හවුල්කරුවන්, සහ ශ්‍රී ලාංකික පුරවැසියන් සමග අත්වැල් බැඳ ගනිමින් මිහිපිට සත්‍යයට ආමන්ත්‍ර‍ණය ක‍ෙර‍ෙන සැබෑ ප්‍රාරම්භයන්ට සහය වීමට සූදානමින් පසු වෙයි. අපි පුළුල් ලෙස උපදෙස් සැපයීමට බලාපොරොත්තු වෙමු.

ඉතින්, වැදගත් දැනුම් දීම් කිහිපයකින් පටන් ගනිමු. අපට ඔබග‍ෙන් ඉගනගැනීමට අවශ්‍යව ඇත. කියන්න, අප ආරම්භ කළ යුත්තේ කොතැනින් ද සහ කවර සුවිශේෂී  කරුණු කෙරෙහි අවධානයක් යොමු කළ යුතු ද කියා. ඔබට ඇති අභියෝග මෙන්ම ඔබව වැඩි වශයෙන්ම දිරි ගැන්වූයේ කවුරුන් ද යන්නත් අපට දැන ගැනීමට අවශ්‍යව ඇත.
 

Sri Lanka at 70: Looking back and forward

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
A view from the Independence day parade.At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation.
A view from the 2018 Independence Day parade. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation. Credit: World Bank

Like many Sri Lankans across the country, I joined Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day festivities earlier this month. This was undoubtedly a joyful moment, and proof of the country’s dynamism and stability. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation.
 
The country’s social indicators, a measure of the well-being of individuals and communities, rank among the highest in South Asia and compare favorably with those in middle-income countries. In the last half-century, better healthcare for mothers and their children has reduced maternal and infant mortality to very low levels.
 
Sri Lanka’s achievements in education have also been impressive. Close to 95 percent of children now complete primary school with an equal proportion of girls and boys enrolled in primary education and a slightly higher number of girls than boys in secondary education.
 
The World Bank has been supporting Sri Lanka’s development for more than six decades. In 1954, our first project, Aberdeen-Laxapana Power Project, which financed the construction of a dam, a power station, and transmissions lines, was instrumental in helping the young nation meet its growing energy demands, boost its trade and develop light industries in Colombo, and provide much-needed power to tea factories and rubber plantations. In post-colonial Sri Lanka, this extensive electrical transmission and distribution project aimed to serve new and existing markets and improve a still fragile national economy.
 
Fast forward a few decades and Sri Lanka in 2018 is a far more prosperous and sophisticated country than it was in 1954 and, in many ways, has been a development success story. Yet, the island nation still faces some critical challenges as it strives to transition to another stage of its development and become a competitive upper middle-income country.
 
Notably, the current overreliance on the public-sector as the main engine for growth and investment, from infrastructure to healthcare, is reaching its limits.  With one of the world’s lowest tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios -- 12% in 2016, down from 24% in 1978 —Sri Lanka’s public sector is now facing serious budget constraints and the country needs to look for additional sources of finance to boost and sustain its growth.
 
As outlined in its Vision 2025, the current government has kickstarted an ambitious reform agenda to help the country move from a public investment to a more private investment growth model to enhance competitiveness and lift all Sri Lankans’ standards of living.
 
Now is the time to steer this vision into action. This is urgent as Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most protectionist countries and one of the hardest to start and run a business. As it happens, private foreign investment is much lower than in comparable economies and trade as a proportion of GDP has decreased from 88% in 2000 to 50% in 2016. Reversing this downward trend is critical for Sri Lanka to meet its development aspirations and overcome the risk of falling into a permanent “middle-income trap.”

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