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April 2012

The Nairobi Mini World Cup

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

Imagine you are a poor child from Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, and have a dream to become a soccer star. Some young players come close to this dream when the International School (ISK) in Nairobi hosts its annual “Nairobi Mini World Cup”.

The Mini World Cup started after ISK’s Principal of the Elementary School, Patricia Salleh Matta, introduced a Saturday sports program three years ago and opened the school not just to its own students but to many communities around the school. 

My 11-year-old son Marco and I have a passion for soccer (we call it football). In order to advance the game at ISK, where he goes, I got involved in coaching and eventually became the school’s “Soccer Commissioner.” As such, my main task is to organize soccer tournaments. The highlight of our year is the annual "Nairobi Mini World Cup," which has become a fixture for many schools and soccer clubs in the city.

Dueling Development Visions: Shaping the World Bank for the Future

Michael Woolcock's picture

As candidates for the presidency of the World Bank have been the focus of attention in recent weeks, divergent views have been exchanged regarding what ‘development’ actually is, how it should be conducted, and how efforts to bring it about should be assessed. Beyond the geo-strategic issues, how these questions are answered inexorably shapes what kind of leader one thinks should head up the world’s largest multilateral development agency, what kind of agenda that agency should pursue, and what kind of skills its staff should have.

Ten things about computer use in schools that you don't want to hear (but I'll say them anyway)

Michael Trucano's picture

I don't want to hear thisAt an event last year in Uruguay for policymakers from around the world, a few experts who have worked in the field of technology use in education for a long time commented that there was, in their opinion and in contrast to their experiences even a few years ago, a surprising amount of consensus among the people gathered together on what was really important, what wasn't, and on ways to proceed (and not to proceed).  Over the past two years, I have increasingly made the same comment to myself when involved in similar discussions in other parts of the world.  At one level, this has been a welcome development.  People who work with the use of ICTs in education tend to be a highly connected bunch, and the diffusion of better (cheaper, faster) connectivity has helped to ensure that 'good practices and ideas' are shared with greater velocity than perhaps ever before.  Even some groups and people associated with the 'give kids computers, expect magic to happen' philosophy appear to have had some of their more extreme views tempered in recent years by the reality of actually trying to put this philosophy into practice.

That said, the fact that "everyone agrees about most everything" isn't always such a good thing.  Divergent opinions and voices are important, if only to help us reconsider why we believe what we believe. (They are also important because they might actually be right, of course, and all of the rest of us wrong, but that's another matter!) Even where there is an emerging consensus among leading thinkers and practitioners about what is critically important, this doesn't mean that what is actually being done reflects this consensus -- or indeed, that this consensus 'expert' opinion is relevant in all contexts.

Social Media at the World Bank: Opening up the Spring Meetings With Live Interviews, Your Questions

Jim Rosenberg's picture

5 Questions in 5 Minutes

The twists and turns of the global economy have been the focus of conversations in board rooms, backyards and everything in between since 2008. A new dialogue has emerged about the future – including how to protect the very poorest, create economic opportunity and ensure equality. Amid this, the upcoming Spring Meetings will convene a conversation on several of these themes, including social safety nets, job growth, access to finance and gender equality.


Memorable Chats with Those Who Have "Been There, Done That"

Antonio Lambino's picture

Peter Oriare (in blue and white shirt) during the 2011 World Bank-Annenberg Executive Course in Communication and Governance Reform held in Washington, D.C. I was recently in a fascinating conversation with Yenny Wahid, peace advocate and former special adviser on political communication to two Indonesian Presidents.  We were attending the closing dinner of BMW Foundation’s 10th Europe-Asia Young Leaders Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia a few days ago.  Over an eclectic spread of local and foreign delicacies, we had a wide ranging discussion on what Southeast Asian countries can learn from each other in areas such as governance and anti-corruption, interreligious dialogue, and the role of political communication in engaging citizens and cultivating informed public opinion on issues of public consequence.  We also talked about the broader challenges of cultivating social and political norms in sustaining support for public policies that tend to be contentious and controversial.

Gender in the Pacific: Can a report help improve equality?

Katherine Patrick's picture

As a junior member of the team who produced the forthcoming East Asia and Pacific companion to the World Development Report 2012 “Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific”, I was excited to present its findings in the Pacific. After spending months reading, writing, reviewing and revising our findings and content, I had a plethora of questions waiting to be answered about the impact of our work:  How would our audience receive it? Will our findings, based on painstakingly collected data and research, be adapted to the reality of gender and development in their country?  Will they be able to use these reports to continue working toward gender equality in all aspects of life? Will our reports help people, namely women, lead more productive and fulfilling lives?

Last month I went to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji with the rest of the team to share and discuss our findings with members of government, the media, civil society, students and our donor partners.

Open up the Space: Leveraging Mobile Tech for Financial Inclusion

Ignacio Mas's picture

This post is part of our Closing the Gap: Financial Inclusion blog series, which shares the views of selected experts and practitioners on different financial inclusion topics.

An M-Pesa Agent in Kenya. (Credit: Emilsjoblom, Flickr Creative Commons)The internet did not grow by having established old media companies jumping at the fantastic new opportunities offered by the new medium. For a long time they resisted giving their customers the convenience of immediate online access to their products; they resisted letting their customers tinker with the format (the newspaper, the CD, the TV series) when all they wanted was a component of it (an article, a song, a sketch); they were loathe to trade off lower margins for higher volumes. And when they finally started offering their content digitally, they were more interested in using the new medium to restrict their customers’ options than to enhance their customers’ sense of control: whereas before I could loan a book to a friend under a broad fair use clause, now I can’t easily share my e-book without being made to feel like an e-criminal.

Media companies were too focused on the risk of losing what they had: certain revenue streams and a certain relationship with their customers. It took industry outsiders (Apple iTunes, Amazon) to figure out a commercial path to bring the old players into the new online world.

Why should it be any different with banking for the poor? Why should we expect established banks to see opportunity where they have never seen it before? Why should we expect them to want to disrupt their comfortable business model, attractive margins and well-worn practices – which are what leads them to ignore the majority of the population in developing countries?

Call for Applications: 2012 Summer Institute in Communication and Governance Reform

Johanna Martinsson's picture

The World Bank’s External Affairs Operational Communications Department, the World Bank Institute’s Governance Practice, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California are currently accepting applications for the 2012 Summer Institute in Communication and Governance Reform, to be held from June 16 to 27, 2012, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

The 12-day course will equip participants with knowledge about the most recent advances in communication and proven techniques in reform implementation. Participants will develop core competencies essential to bringing about real change, leading to development results in a wide range of sectors.  The course seeks to impart critical skills in the following key areas:

Celebrating Earth Month…One step at a time

Artessa Saldivar-Sali's picture

Earth Day Network logo

Happy Earth Month from the Sustainable Cities team! While Earth Day isn’t until April 22nd, we must spend some time this month to think about what this celebration of the natural environment means for us, staunch urbanites.

Like many environmental initiatives, Earth Day was actually proclaimed by a city – San Francisco, California - and the occasion was celebrated with other US cities in 1970. Earth Day went international in 1990, and now it’s celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.


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