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May 2012

Development and Change for LGBT Indians, Nepalese

Elizabeth Howton's picture

Arif Jafar had no choice about coming out as gay. In 2001, he was arrested in the northern Indian city of Lucknow at the AIDS prevention agency where he worked, charged with running a sex club, jailed for 47 days, and named in the newspapers, in a case that helped spark a legal challenge to India’s sodomy law, known as Section 377. (Needless to say, he denies that the AIDS agency was a sex club.)Arif Jafar of the Maan Foundation

“Before jail, I was open, but not that open,” says Jafar, 42, a mosque-going Shiite Muslim who now runs the Maan Foundation, an AIDS prevention group (“maan” means “respect” or “pride”). “Now everybody in the city knows.” Despite the arrest, Jafar (right) says he loves Lucknow and will never leave. “If I ran away, people would start having the perception that I did something wrong,” he says.

Jafar’s case has dragged on for 11 years without coming to trial, but in the meantime, the law criminalizing homosexuality has been overturned in Delhi High Court. Retired Justice Ajit Shah, who wrote the decision, is an unassuming man, greeting us in sandals in his modest apartment. Yet his landmark opinion broke through several centuries of bias and freed up India’s nascent movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to come into its own.

Your thoughts on Brazil-Africa partnerships

Susana Carrillo's picture

Brazil and Sub Saharan Africa: Partnering for GrowthOn June 5, the World Bank will host an event focused on the ongoing relationship between Brazil and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The event will be web streamed. Panelists will discuss Brazil’s experiences in the areas of agriculture, social protection and vocational training, and ways in which African countries can benefit.

Ahead of the event, we’re seeking your questions and comments. Please read the recently launched report Bridging the Atlantic: Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa Partnering for Growth. The report highlights these key points:

Announcing the Apps For Climate Finalists

Tim Herzog's picture

Congratulations to all the developers who submitted entries to the Apps For Climate competition! Judging has now completed, the votes have been tallied, and after much suspense we can announce the finalists. All of the organizers, sponsors and judges were very impressed with the originality and quality of all of the apps that were submitted.

Final prizes—1st through 3rd place, honorable mentions, plus the Popular Choice and Large Organization awards—will be announced at the Apps For Climate awards ceremony on June 28th in Washington DC.

Women – The Untapped Economic Potential in Serbia

Anna Reva's picture

How does Serbia fare on gender equality in the labor market? Did it manage to sustain some of the achievements of the former socialist regime, such as equal access to education opportunities, equal treatment of men and women in the labor law and high employment rates of men and women?  The analysis of the recent labor force and enterprise surveys shows that although men and women have similar education levels and enjoy equal treatment in the labor legislation, there are major gender disparities in access to economic opportunities:

Travelling by bus, car, boat and elephant in Indonesia

Robin Mearns's picture

Last week, a group of around 30 made a transect from West to East across Sumatra, Indonesia, to learn about forests, trees, landscapes, and the people whose livelihoods depend on them. We were often shocked by what we saw. After camping overnight in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau province, we lumbered slowly on the backs of elephants through tracts of newly logged and burned forest land, some planted with rubber, and learned that over half the park area of 83,000 hectares was encroached and deforested. Tesso Nilo has the highest biodiversity index for vascular plants in the world, and is the last remaining habitat in Riau for elephants and the Sumatran tiger. With their habitat shrinking, elephants often stray into surrounding villages, causing significant economic damage. Villagers retaliate by poisoning the elephants. With support from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Indonesia, an elephant ‘flying patrol’ has been established within the park, staffed by skilled mahouts who have trained six elephants to help chase wild elephants away from villages and back to the park, thereby reducing conflict with the local population.

Quote of the Week: Anthony Lake

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“All those who work in the international community on development tend to overstate the impact of what we’re doing. What’s far more important is the performance of governments.”

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, Unicef. As quoted in the Financial Times, May 19, 2012. How aid got smarter, by Simon Kuper.

Can Financial Literacy Help Migrants Save on Remittance Costs?

Bilal Zia's picture

In a new working paper published in the World Bank Working Paper Series, John Gibson, David McKenzie, and I look at exactly this question.

While much of migration policy has been focused on reducing costs of remittances and introducing new and inexpensive transmission channels, relatively little attention has been paid to educating customers on such benefits. After all, this could be pretty low hanging fruit – tell migrants about a cheaper way of remitting and they will switch.

With this thought in mind, we designed an information dissemination experiment for migrant workers in both Australia and New Zealand who had migrated from the Pacific Islands, East Asia, and Sri Lanka. 

Building universities of the future for the youth of today

Will Stebbins's picture
World Bank | Arne HoelUniversities are like gardens, where knowledge blooms like flowers. So says Dr. Hatem Elaydi, whose many years of teaching have not dulled his fascination with the growth and transformation he witnesses and participates in daily. The rewards are never ending. “You see your students winning prizes, finishing their graduate studies, or landing a good job, “ he says, “and wherever you go, you are always stopped by either current or former students, their parents or relatives, thanking you for your help.”

Tunisians lighting the path towards a new social contract

Lida Bteddini's picture
World Bank | Arne HoelIt was an immense spark of light – a flame – that engulfed desperation and oppression in Sidi Bouzid.   Making its way through the alleyways of Sousse, through the olive trees and along the ports of Sfax, and traversing through the streets of Meknassy, the light took hold of Tunisian cities in the same hot-blooded and fiery spirit as the Arabian horses that have roamed its land for centuries before. The light continued on its way along the coast of Monastir, and illuminated the alleyways of Sbikhi, and Chebba, until it cast its radiance on the heart of Tunis. 

Why should Palestinian teens be concerned with solid waste management?

Ibrahim Dajani's picture
In early April 2012, the Jenin Joint Services Council for Solid Waste Management established a Facebook Page called “Flower Cup” from the Arabic Zahrat Al-Finjan, a flower commonly found around the sanitary landfill area in Jenin, West Bank.  The goal of this Facebook Page was for the Jenin Council to reach out to the Northern West Bank community members to raise awareness about the Zahrat Al-Finjan sanitary landfill, in operation since 2007 and constructed with support from the World Bank and the European Union.

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