I am constantly startled by references to “population growth” as a cause of a number of development challenges. Whether it’s urbanization, food security, or water scarcity, all too often “population growth” is cited as a cause for pessimism or even a reason not to strive for progress. I can almost see Thomas Malthus grinning at me from the shadows.
It gets worse. I recently reviewed a paper where higher fertility among minorities was touted as an explanation for their poverty! A few months ago, a respected professional wrote asking why we weren’t doing more on family planning, since fertility in Africa would pretty much stymie any efforts to provide infrastructure-based services! I hear statements to this effect routinely from policy makers in charge of infrastructure ministries and projects (“how can we keep up with the population?” or “nothing we do will be enough unless we control the population”) but am always amazed when I hear them from scientists of different hues.
So I thought I’d try to set the record straight:
... and the winner is an entry from the California Institute of Technology! Michael Hoffman received the prize for the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" from Bill Gates himself on August 14, 2012 in Seattle. The award winning technology model is based on a self-contained, sun-powered system that recycles water and breaks down human waste into storable energy.
I’ve got a paper I want you to read, particularly if you work for an NGO or other lobbying outfit. Not because it’s good – far from it – but because reading it and (if you work for an NGO) observing your rising tide of irritation will really help you understand how those working in the private sector, government or the multilateral system feel when they read a generalized and ill-informed NGO attack on their work.
The paper in question is from a reputable institution (Manchester University’s Brooks World Poverty Institute) and authors (Nicola Banks and David Hulme), and is about ‘the role of NGOs and civil society in development and poverty reduction’. Here’s the abstract:
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Building a Toilet Fair - Day 1
“Usually, Sunday would see the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Seattle campus empty save for a duck or two, and maybe a few zealous weekend workers. However, this last week was another story entirely. The campus was buzzing as exhibitors from around the world started to set up toilet prototypes for the upcoming Reinvent the Toilet Fair.
The Reinvent the Toilet Fair held August 14-15, 2012 at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Wash. showcases innovations from around the world that are creating a new vision for the next generation of sanitation. The fair aims to inspire collaboration around a shared mission of delivering a reinvented toilet for the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safe and affordable sanitation.
Here's a look behind the scenes during day 1 of transforming our campus into a toilet fair.” READ MORE
Teddy Roosevelt, the U.S. President from 1901-1909, was an unlikely conservationist. He traveled to the Western states as a big game hunter in 1883, and during his time there saw the disappearance of the last large herds of bison, along with widespread damage and destruction to wildlife. It made an indelible impact.
With his firsthand experience of nature and as a witness to its decimation, his interest in preserving flora, fauna and animals grew as he ascended the political hierarchy, and he’s now known in some circles as the “Conservationist President.”
It’s a well-deserved honorific: as 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest Service and established 51 Federal Bird Reservations, four National Game Preserves, 150 National Forests, and five National Parks. He enabled the 1906 American Antiquities Act, which he used to proclaim 18 National Monuments. In total, Roosevelt protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land in the United States during his presidency.
What does this have to do with PPPs? Everything. Because it’s almost impossible to do conservation the old way, as Roosevelt pulled it off, which is essentially declaring a place off limits. You just can’t do that anymore. Instead, virtually everything I’ve ever been able to do in the field of conservation over the last decade has had a very big element of public-private partnerships, and all the big nonprofits understand this right now.
The Digital Youth Summit (DYS) is a technology focused conference that takes place annually in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the lead up to the summit, we bring to you the first of our Speaker Spotlights featuring Aurélie Salvaire. The upcoming DYS is on April 27-28, 2018. Register now here.
Aurélie Salvaire (AS) is a French author and social entrepreneur passionate about gender and narratives. She has been working for the past 10 years in the social innovation field, collaborating with Oxfam, Ashoka, Unreasonable Institute and Impact Hub. She is also a very active speaker and trainer, promoting greater diversity and shedding light on lingering stereotypes through her platform Shiftbalance. She recently shot a 28 minutes documentary on masculinity in Pakistan called Maard Ban (Be a man).
Tell me a little about what you are working on now? How did you get started?
AS: Majority of my activities is now on Shift balance – Our NGO was initially registered in Spain, but our activities are worldwide. We do lot of trainings and workshops mostly on leadership and empowerment for young girls around the world.
We have been working mostly in Pakistan the last year with different schools, universities, and companies, teaching young girls about storytelling - how to tell their stories, how to be more confident in the public and how to believe in themselves.
I recently shot a documentary on masculinity called “Maard Ban” as a part of the “Be a Man” series. Our book, “Balance the world”, published and designed in Pakistan, is an anthology of solutions to balance the world. The idea of transforming everybody into a balance maker is what drives me - to be sure that everybody at their own level can contribute to gender equity.
What do you think is the future for youth in the tech industry?
AS: We know that 80% of the jobs will require technological skills. We know that technology is shaping our future, so it’s extremely important that young people get involved in tech so that the technology in future is shaped for their needs. For me, one of the great assets is that technology breaks hierarchies. 60% of the population is under 30 years old in Pakistan. This makes them very accessible to technology and open to what is going around in the world, and they will shake the structures of power.
La vision de la Banque mondiale est claire : c’est un monde sans pauvreté. Là où il y a de l’intégrité, les projets produisent des résultats et les pauvres en bénéficient. En cas d’échec, le développement est retardé et les pauvres en pâtissent. C’est pourquoi, à la Banque mondiale, nous partons du principe qu’il n’y a pas de développement sans primauté du droit. Dans le souci de résultat, d’ouverture et de responsabilité qui habite la Banque mondiale, nous veillons à préserver l'intégrité dans nos opérations. Il y a, au cœur de notre stratégie, la volonté de supprimer les conditions qui entament la sécurité internationale et font prospérer la corruption.
Si l’urbanisation a déjà permis de réduire la pauvreté au Rwanda, le pays pourrait exploiter davantage le potentiel que recèle le développement urbain en améliorant les liaisons routières et de transport. Tel est le principal constat d’un tout nouveau rapport intitulé Reshaping Urbanization in Rwanda: Economic and Spatial Trends and Proposals.
La baisse de la pauvreté monétaire au Rwanda entre 2002 et 2012 s’est accompagnée d’un recul de la pauvreté « multidimensionnelle » (a), un indice qui rend compte des privations dont souffrent les ménages sur le plan de la santé, de l’éducation et du niveau de vie — un ménage est considéré en situation de pauvreté multidimensionnelle s’il n’a pas accès à l’électricité, s’il a perdu un enfant né d’une mère âgée de 15 à 35 ans ou si un enfant ne fréquente pas l’école jusqu’à la 8e année de scolarité.
People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.
On the flip side, an urgent response to provide clean water or some relief to those affected is often neither sustainable nor scalable.
During a visit to Chapai Nawabganj we discovered that the Horizontal Learning Program enables rapid response - without undermining a sound policy position.
While visiting Meherpur municipality in Bangladesh last week, we learnt that 15 people had recently died in the nearby Amjhupi Union Parishad (UP) from arsenicosis. In a village meeting with the District Commissioner and UP Chairman we discovered that the citizens were drinking from both wells marked green (safe) as well as red (unsafe) because they were not confident that either of these sources had been correctly marked.
We were overwhelmed with the need for an immediate response but aware that any top-down solution could at best be partial. However, because of the Horizontal Learning Program (initiated by Union Parishads, facilitated by the Government of Bangladesh and supported by development partners) we were aware that local solutions to this problem had been developed by other Union Parishads.
At around 11 pm that night, it was resolved that a three member team from Amjhupi Union Parishad would join us to visit the nearby Ranihati Union Parishad of the neighboring Chapai Nawabganj Upazila (sub-district) to see how they had solved this problem. The solution was surprisingly simple, low cost and comprehensive.