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May 2013

Mothers of Pain

Marc Shotten's picture
The name of the woman in the picture is Viviam Perrone. Her fourteen-year-old son Kevin was killed by a drunk driver via a hit-and-run in Argentina, her home country. If that were not enough, her husband died of a stress-induced heart attack in the days leading up to the trial of the driver (who had been tracked down), leaving her alone to raise her two other children.

Anyone Fancy a Post-2015 Wonkwar? Me v Claire Melamed on the Biggest Development Circus in Town

Duncan Green's picture

I’ve been good friends with Claire Melamed for ages, but recently we’ve found ourselves on opposite sides of the post-2015 debate. As ODI’s growth and inequality supremo, Claire is deeply immersed in the ever-proliferating discussions, whereas I decided early on that I had massive reservations about the whole process. So for your amusement (and who knows, perhaps enlightenment), we’ve decided to air our differences in public. I’ll kick off,

Claire responds, and we hope that will produce a load of comments and a life and death struggle for the last word (which I shall of course win, because it’s my blog).

What’s my beef? The post-2015 discussion typifies the kind of ‘magical thinking’ that abounds in aid circles, in which well-intentioned developmentistas debate how the world should be improved. These discussions and the mountains of policy papers, blogs etc that accompany them, are often based on what I call ‘If I ruled the World’ (IRW) thinking. IRW, then I would do X, Y, Z – Rights for (disenfranchised group of your choice)! More Infrastructure! Better Data! Jobs!

Mosquito Nets in Kenya: Driving Africa’s Fastest Reduction in Infant Mortality

Kavita Watsa's picture


Growing up in India, mosquito nets were an essential part of life. I slept under them as a child in Bangalore, with their ropes tied to bedposts, doors, closets, window grills—anything that would offer support at the right height. It was like pitching a tent every night, and the occasional dramatic collapse would result in much helpless laughter. Later, going to college on the banks of the slow-flowing Koovam river in Madras (now Chennai), I tucked myself under a net in my dormitory at about 6 p.m. to avoid the twilight assault of mosquitos from the water. In fact, particularly after a bad attack of malaria when I was a child, a lot of my life was lived perforce under a mosquito net, until electric repellent gadgets reached the market and nets somewhat lost their popularity.

Recently, sitting in Halima Ibrahim’s house in Majengo, a neighborhood in the coastal city of Mombasa, and talking about the new mosquito nets her family had just received from the Kenyan government, I felt instantly at home in her tiny living room. It was packed from corner to corner with family and friends, all brimming with opinions about nets old and new. Everybody talked about malaria and what a problem the disease was in the community. The nets that had just been distributed to them free of cost would make a huge difference, they said, protecting them from being bitten by mosquitos, and saving them considerable expense. Many of the families on the street simply could not afford to buy durable and effective nets at the prices they commanded in the local market.

The power of commercial lending: Myth or reality?

Jacques Morisset's picture

Let's think together: Every Sunday the World Bank in Tanzania in collaboration with The Citizen wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a few questions.
Banks play a critical role in economic development, as success stories are difficult to find without a big increase in commercial lending over time. Countries like Korea, Malaysia and China saw their credit to GDP ratio surge by 40 percentage points during the 1990s. On the African continent, similar stories are emerging in Cape Verde, Senegal and Nigeria, though arguably at a lower rate than in Asia.

Tanzania’s financial sector has been growing rapidly over the past few years, almost doubling size between 2006 and 2012. As a result of the good performance of the national economy and the gradual liberalization of the financial sector, there are today 45 commercial banks, local- and foreign-owned, competing for costumers. This growth has translated into higher lending activities as reflected in the following statistics:

- Total banking credit surged from 11.3 per cent of GDP in 2006 to over 24 per cent in 2011. This last ratio is still below the regional average of approximately 45 per cent of GDP and far from the level achieved by Kenya (52 per cent).
- The recent increase in lending activities is partly the result of higher borrowing by the Government, which grew by 5.5 percent of GDP between 2006 and 2011, and now accounts for almost 20 percent of total credit in the economy.
- Private credit expanded from 12.9 per cent of GDP in 2006 to 20.3 per cent in 2011.

Overview of the India DM 2013 Finalists

Parvathi Menon's picture

The 2013 India DM is focused on identifying social enterprise projects that have the potential to scale the impact of their work in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Read more about the eligibility criteria for the 2013 India DM.

The call for proposal was launched in January 2013 and we received over a 190 proposals in response. After a series of rigorous, merit based evaluations by a panel of development experts from inside and outside the World Bank, 30 projects were shortlisted for the due diligence and capacity building diagnostic. Seven teams comprising of senior assessors from the World Bank, Innovation Alchemy and independent subject matter experts have been traveling all across the country in the last two weeks to meet with the teams at the head office as well as in the field to identify the gaps in the model (if any) and determine how the World Bank could support these projects in addressing them, if they won the grant funding.

Following the in-depth evaluation and needs assessment review of the projects, 20 projects have been invited to showcase their projects at the Development Marketplace event in Bhopal on 1st May 2013.

An Introduction to the finalists

The projects include a very rich and diverse range of products & services targeted to impact the base of the pyramid in these states. Models built around low-cost infant warmers; mobile science labs for rural schools and mobile phone based information & case research systems demonstrate innovative application of technology. Other programs target complex social challenges such as adolescent girl trafficking; connecting school drop out youth to skills & jobs; managing tuberculosis treatment in very poor communities and facilitating use of organic fertilizers. And some of the projects demonstrate extensive experiments in enhancing business models, such as a hybrid model for facilitating bee keeping, exploring sustainable business through carbon credits, agro forestry and rural productivity hubs for farmer collectives.

Of the twenty finalist projects, seven of them are registered for-profit organizations, twelve projects have a non-profit base and one operates as a hybrid. Six of the finalist projects are targeting Madhya Pradesh for scale and replication; seven projects are targeting their work in Jharkhand; 4 in Chhattisgarh and 3 projects intend to work in more than one target state.

Four projects are intended to directly impact women and another four projects are seeking to impact children, including one that is focused on the girl child. Apart from that projects are designed to impact tuberculosis patients in poor communities, farmers, rickshaw drivers and the youth.

Projects Targeting Jharkhand

  • SOUTH VIHAR WELFARE SOCIETY FOR TRIBALS – Combating human trafficking by empowering adolescent girls and improving their health status.
  • ALTERNATIVE FOR INDIA DEVELOPMENT – Delivery of banking/ financial inclusion products/ services to excluded families by combining Panchayat kiosk banking outlets and Self Help Group strategies.
  • WATER LIFE INDIA – Sustainable community water systems for safe drinking water.OpAsha-2
  • EMBRACE INNOVATION – Deployment of Embrace infant warmers in low-resource government hospitals and measuring impact over time.
  • OPERATION ASHA – Implementation of eCompliance to supplement their treatment/ prevention of tuberculosis and turn the tap off on Multi-Drug Resistant TB in Jharkhand’s tribal regions.
  • DIMAGI SOCIAL INNOVATION – Working on using/ developing technology to increase the quality of services provided by community health workers.
  • IMERIT TECHNOLOGY SERVICES – Empowering marginalized women by training them in IT-based livelihoods.

What happens when large ruminants (and some training) meet poverty traps

Markus Goldstein's picture
Can we break poverty traps?   An interesting new paper by Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, and Munshi Sulaiman adds to this emergent literature with a definitive “yes we can.”     Bandiera, et. al. evaluate a program run by the NGO BRAC which provides a significant infusion of capital, coupled with training, for Bangladeshi women.  

From Net to Gross Capital Flows

Sergio Schmukler's picture

The financial crises of the last three decades have spurred a very large interest on international capital flows. Although most of the work in the topic has concentrated on the behavior of net capital flows, much less is known about the behavior of gross capital flows (the difference between capital inflows by foreigners and capital outflows by domestic agents).

The overwhelming focus on net flows represents a serious shortcoming because gross flow are much larger and much more volatile than net flows, and their size and volatility have been growing substantially faster, as we discuss in a recently published paper and Vox column (Broner et al., 2013a and b).

It is time to shift the attention from net capital flows to gross capital flows.

Deadline extended! The Tech Awards is now accepting applications for 2013.

Dougg Jimenez's picture

Please note that deadline to submit your applications for the Tech Awards has been extended to May 8th!
 


Know someone who is changing the world?
Encourage them to apply to the Tech Awards 2013!

Photo Credit: Charlotte Fiorito"There is not a group that you would rather
be stuck on an island with than The Tech Awards laureates.
" -Michael MacHarg, Simpa Networks,
laureate, The Tech Awards 2012

The Tech Awards, a signature program of The Tech Museum, is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

In 2013, The Tech Awards will honor 10 international innovators who are applying technology to confront humanity’s most urgent challenges. The Tech Awards honors individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies who are using technology to significantly improve human conditions in 5 awards categories. The technology used can be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology.

DataDive Q&A with Data Ambassadors: Identifying Fraud and Corruption with Technology

Itir Sonuparlak's picture

This post is part of the Q&A Series with the Data Ambassadors from DataDive2013. You can also read an interview with the fraud and corruption data ambassadorsa recap of Data Dive 2013, and watch the presentations from the weekend.

Photo credit: Itir Sonuparlak

During DataDive 2013, each project had an assigned data ambassador, a leader to guide and direct the research and efforts of the teams. In the days following the DataDive, we spoke with two of the data ambassadors from the fraud and corruption related projects to learn more about their experiences. Read their responses below and join the conversation in our comments section.

  • Taimur Sajid develops financial models to asses risk for a financial firm and acted as a data ambassador during the DataDive.
  • Marc Maxson is an Innovation Consultant with Global Giving and brought his Heuristic Auditing Tool to the DataDive.

 

Media (R)evolutions: Change in Percentage Internet Users and Democracy Scores, 2002-2011

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 differently from today's, and will have very little resemblance to yesterday's.

This week's Media (R)evolutions: Change in Percentage Internet Users and Democracy Scores, 2002-2011.

Note: "On the vertical axis is the change in percent of a country's population online over the last decade.  The horizontal axis reflects any change in the democratization score- any slide toward authoritarianism is represented by a negative number."


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