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March 2013

As water disappears from the Arab world, data is falling from the sky

Tracy Hart's picture
        World Bank | Arne Hoel

A ground-breaking study released last month shows how the Middle East is losing its fresh water reserves. Prepared jointly by NASA and the University of California Irvine, and published by Water Resources Research, the report offers a range of alarming statistics on both the amount and rate of the region’s water loss.

Using an iPad to increase your productivity: a roundup

Adam Wagstaff's picture

It's a while since I blogged about the iPad. I thought it might be useful to pull all my tips on this handy little gadget (including some new ones) together in one post. I'm going to focus for the most part on using it to improve productivity, but there will be some thoughts at the end on using the iPad to have a little fun.  

Get yourself a keyboard and stylus

There's a lot you can do without these add-ons, but they'll dramatically increase your productivity.

There are lots of keyboards on the market — here's a nice review. I waited until the Brydge came out. The Brydge team had functionality in mind, but what sold me was the design — it makes your iPad looks (almost) as cool as the MacBook Air but gives you the advantages of the iPad. 

Lessons Learned from Water Cooperation in the Nile Basin

Gustavo Saltiel's picture

This year’s World Water Day (March 22) focuses on cooperation around water, so it’s a good time to reflect on lessons that those of us working on cooperation in international waters can learn from the experiences and accomplishments in water cooperation in the Nile Basin.

How to Build Local Government Accountability in South Africa? A Conversation with Partners

Duncan Green's picture

This is what a good day visiting an Oxfam programme looks like. I skim the interwebs (and this blog) to put together some thoughts on a given issue from our experience or what others are writing (‘the literature’). Then sit down with local Oxfamistas and partner organizations (who are usually closer to the grassroots than we are) to compare these bullet points with their reality. Last Friday, it was ‘how can NGOs build the accountability of local government.’ My ten minutes covered:

Risk-taking men, time-constrained women: What gender gaps mean for financial inclusion

Do men and women use financial services differently? This is the question we set out to answer when we conducted six country studies on gender finance in sub- Saharan Africa.

The purpose of our study was twofold. First, we wanted to explore the reasons behind differences in usage of financial products. Second, based on these underlying reasons, we wanted to formulate workable intervention strategies that we could recommend as gender-sensitive financial sector policy approaches for policymakers and stakeholders. The countries we studied included Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. Based on 50 to 75 interviews per country with individuals from both urban and rural areas, we analysed how and why men and women are using credit, savings and insurance products.

Media (R)evolutions: What Happens in an Internet Minute?

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.


Why the Arab awakening depends on social entrepreneurs

Iman Bibars's picture

This blog was originally posted in The Guardian, for the full blog, click here.

Social enterprise is naturally democratic and plays an important role in finding solutions to the social upheaval of the Middle EastA protester waves the national flagin front of the burnt out National Democratic Party building of former President Mubarak's ruling party in November 2011. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP
A protester waves the national flagin front of the burnt out National Democratic Party building of former President Mubarak's ruling party in November 2011. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP

For two years, I have resisted use of the term Arab Spring to describe the events that have been unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa. It is an unrealistic label to use, its application verging on naïve, even lazy, in this situation. Spring is a time where something with strong roots, carefully nurtured, flourishes and grows. We are not there yet; I hope that we may be soon.

What the world witnessed in the initial 18 days of uprising and subsequent political and social developments was a rediscovery of our ability to effect change, a realisation that mass protest is one way to make our collective voice heard.

1 River Basin, 9 Countries, 1 Vision

Amal Talbi's picture

World Water Day 2013 Logo

1 basin, 9 countries, 1 vision was in a brochure of one of the Council of Ministers meeting of the Niger Basin. The first time I saw that brochure I smiled as I right away thought about 9-1-1, the emergency telephone number used to respond to emergency circumstances in North America. It made me think about the numerous challenges that the Niger Basin faces.

This large Basin of 2 million square kilometers with a complex hydrology, running through nine countries, including its central part in the Sahel, has significantly untapped potential (agriculture, energy, etc.) that represents high stakes for large groups of communities, environmental degradation, and frequent water shocks (drought and floods). The Basin territory is also home to numerous political challenges, including instability and terrorism activities as highlighted by the ongoing events in Mali. Quite daunting when you look at it from this perspective, and it does give a sense of urgency.

Talking to 4,000 Women & Men about Gender: What Surprised Us Most

Stacy Morford's picture

In a new study on gender equality, researchers asked 4,000 people in 20 countries to describe the gender norms in their communities and the influence those norms have on their lives and their every-day decisions. The researchers spoke with men and women, youth and adults, living in villages and cities in developing countries, as well as higher income countries.

Here, three of the researchers describe their most memorable experiences from the interviews and the findings that surprised them the most.