"We drive cars the same way we ride horses," a Mongolian colleague once told me. It took me a while to process that thought. I can't say I see the grace and beauty of a Mongolian horseman reflected in Ulaanbaatar's traffic. But I don't think that's what he meant. I think he was referring to the freedom of movement that both drivers and riders on horseback enjoy.
[Originally posted at the Development Marketplace Blog]
In my first blog entry, I mentioned that adaptation to climate change spans a vast range of possible actions and that it can seem a rather abstract concept. Adaptation can range from sea walls to drought-resistant crops to social protection for climate shocks. This big range of possible actions makes it hard to nail down: what does any given country, region, or village really need to do to start adapting? Any two people talking about climate adaptation in poor countries probably carry different mental images of the kind of actions they think will be needed.
To pretend that we have all the answers—as some of the numerous reports being written on the topic do—is foolish. We are in the pioneer days of gearing up for climate change and no-one knows what actions will ultimately prove most effective.
Sri Lanka has, for better or worse, been in the news a lot lately. Their cricket team was the target of a violent terrorist attack in Pakistan while visiting for international matches. Back at home, the military is closing in on the last Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, sparking even more violence.
The ongoing financial crisis has (apparently) discredited whole schools of mainstream economics. But what will take its place? Various strands of new and previously fringe schools of thought are vying for the spotlight. Will it be the Marxists? Doubtful.
If access to savings accounts helps the poor manage risk better, the answer may very well be "yes". A new working paper on Transactional sex as a response to risk in western Kenya reports that sex workers engage in better compensated but riskier sex acts following unexpected health shocks. From the abstract:
The global economic crisis is producing, amongst others, a divide between experts/technocrats and public opinion. This is a bill of several particulars. First, the question of language. The crisis and the possible policy responses are being discussed in a technical language so abstruse that if you don't have an MBA in finance or a PhD in Economics you are lost. It appears we have a coterie of insiders...and everybody else. This is not good, as I will soon explain.
Second, there is the question of scepticism. Public opinion is skeptical about what the experts really know about what is going on. Are these not the same experts running the global financial system and who drove it off a cliff? And why can they not agree on anything? For every expert who says countries must throw trillions at the problem is another who says do nothing, just tough it out. What are non-specialists to make of this cacophony?
The Communication Initiative (CI) provides Social Entrepreneurs and development organizations with a useful resource for finding awards and funding opportunities. The site allows users to search for awards/ opportunities by deadline, region, and development issue, and provides descriptions, including criteria, deadlines, and previous winners. When I looked today, there were 21 awards still open (with deadlines after March 11).