This time of year is when the World Bank has its annual community connections campaign (CCC), where staff are encouraged to contribute to a range of local and international charities. Likewise in Washington the Federal Government runs the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which just ended last week. World Bank staff have a choice of 289 charities to choose between; Federal workers have over 4000. So how to choose if you want to have an impact?
Getting On With It.
The 194 national negotiating teams earned their salaries in Durban. But well over half of the 20,000 at the meeting weren’t negotiators at all. What were they up to?
Some were reporting and some were protesting, but most were busy sharing best practices, doing deals, presenting new technologies and findings, and urging negotiators to “get on with it”. They included hundreds of technology firms, financiers, NGOs, academics, development professionals and governments.
The message from this group was: There’s a world of action out there that’s growing and vibrant. It will continue, but to reach the required scale, governments and negotiators must provide a regulatory environment that is transparent, predictable, and consistent.
In analyzing returns to schooling and in evaluating educational policies, ‘soft skills’ – personality traits like conscientiousness, openness and diligence -- often get under-valued or neglected. This is in part because so much value is placed on standardized test scores in education systems. It’s also because soft skills that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains are considered too hard to quantify.
Earlier this year, over 1700 participants from over 90 countries attended eLearning Africa (previous blog post here) to share lessons and make contacts at what has evolved into perhaps the continent's premier annual knowledge sharing event related to the use of ICTs in education. Not surprisingly, given that the event took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania led the way in terms of attendance by its nationals, followed by its East African neighbors, with South Africa and Nigeria not too far behind.
One nationality was largely noticeable through its absence: the Chinese. Why do I mention this? Outside the conference, signs of growing cooperation between Tanzania and China (and India, whose Prime Minister was in Dar the same week on a state visit) were hard to miss, and indeed, the increasing 'presence' of China across Africa is undeniable, and the topic of much reporting, scholarly interest and discussion, including at the World Bank. Looking around the conference itself, this cooperation wasn't immediately in evidence related to international cooperation around the use of educational technologies. Participating in and listening to many conversations at the event, however, one got a bit of a different story related to potential cooperation going forward between China and a number of African countries on ICT/education issues.
Sonal Kapoor is a young social entrepreneur who is changing the world by using innovative ideas. Her dedication and her unbendable will led her to become the founder of Protsahan India Foundation. This foundation is a non-profit organization that encourages education and social development through art and creativity for at-risk street children. In addition, Sonal was one of the six youth delegates from South Asia selected to participate at the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington, D.C.
As another year comes to a close, it seems a good time to look at what actually happened to international capital flows to developing countries in 2010 and what that may tell us about how they are likely to have shaped up in 2011.