It’s 40 degrees Celsius and our skin is sticky. There is so much noise, people constantly moving, taxi drivers screaming directions, prices shouted, and sellers calling out to clients. The sun is rising, but inside the market it is completely dark. Pieces of cloth and large plastic bags protect the stalls, the food and the people from the rising heat of the day. The place looks like a beehive of activity.
Mwajuma* was 15 in rural Shinyanga when her parents informed her she would not be going to school anymore – she was getting married. She never objected. Several of her peers had similarly had their schooling terminated and were already busy taking care of their own families. Neither did she object to the fact she was to be the second wife – this too was commonplace among her peers. But the marriage did not last.
Compared to Dakar, from where I traveled to get to my job at the World Bank, the city of Bamako is the image of tranquility, with sultry temperatures and long siestas, as described so vividly by Albert Londres in Terre d’Ebène. An invaluable work for understanding the Mali of the past, and perhaps the present? There has definitely been a shift, but the country is still known for the heat and a certain languor. It depends on imports from neighboring countries for everything, particularly goods and services, “and even fashion, or ideas!” a friend sometimes notes with irony.
I am often asked how I view Côte d’Ivoire’s economic future. One thing is certain: the country will become urbanized. More than half the population already lives in the city and this proportion is expected to reach two thirds by 2050, particularly with the expansion of Abidjan, which will be home to over 10 million people.
The 2018 Law, Justice and Development Week (LDJ) Week competition period coincided with presidential and parliamentary elections in my home country of Zimbabwe. I decided to submit my proposal, as the issue of “Rights, Protection and Development” was a topical issue I had already been reflecting on. Additionally, I have a particular interest in how the law and human rights coincide with economic development in developing and vulnerable states.
Despite adhering to a system of constitutional supremacy, the Constitution remains “a paper tiger” for many citizens. Given the predominance of agrarianism, more than 67% of Zimbabweans reside in the rural areas. The provisions of the Constitution remain an abstract and primarily meaningless concept for many. This is concerning for a system premised on multi-party democracy, universal adult suffrage and free and fair regular elections.
When I tell people that I am a forest specialist, they sometimes assume my work is forest first, people second. But the really exciting part of my job is that better forests make better communities.
There is mounting evidence that forest management improves people’s livelihoods all over the world. Standing forests are worth much more than cut ones and we are setting out to prove this in Mozambique, where protecting forests is among the fastest and most affordable ways to cut emissions and promote sustainable development.
The popular saying“do not judge a book by its cover” teaches a great lesson which can be summed up in one sentence: It is never what we think it is.
This leads me to why protecting the interests of persons with disabilities (PWDs) is important; many times, they are treated as if all they are is their physical or mental challenges. But they are more than just their disability. Every human being, rich or poor, small or big, non-disabled or disabled has a role to play in our lives, and our ability to treat everyone with dignity and respect cannot be overemphasized. Thus, as I explained in my recent proposal in the World Bank Group’s 2018 Law Student Contest for Development Solutions, lack of equal access and opportunity for PWDs will in the long-run impede the necessary development many of us desire in our world.
Laws that protect and defend the rights of poor people are usually too ambiguous, cumbersome and expensive for them to access justice. In many developing countries, particularly in my home country of Nigeria, informal norms, practices and society govern the everyday life of poor citizens.
As the Nigeria government successfully rolled out its vaccination plan in 2018, some parents living in rural areas encountered challenges finding out where, when, or how often their children were meant to receive vaccinations. This confusion caused delayed and repeated immunizations, increasing the risk of infant and child mortality from preventable diseases.
As of the end of 2016, thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers were registered in my home country of Ghana, with more than half of them girls, women and persons with disabilities.
The inaugural World Bank Group Law, Justice and Development Week 2018 Law Student Contest for Development Solutions, was a great opportunity to contribute to the timely discussion on rights, protection and development of vulnerable groups, particularly refugees.