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June 2016

Globally, periods are causing girls to be absent from school

Oni Lusk-Stover's picture
Also available in: Español  |  Francais
Student at primary school in Freetown Sierra Leone. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

A UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals as much as twenty percent of a given school year.

Many girls drop out of school altogether once they begin menstruating. Should young women miss twenty percent of school days in a given year due to a lack of facilities or a lack of information or a lack of sanitary products?

Reducing inequality by promoting shared prosperity

Nobuo Yoshida's picture

This is part of a series of blogs focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and data from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators.

In more than half the countries with data, the poorest 40 percent are achieving faster growth

Sustainable Development Goal target 10.1 aims to progressively achieve, by 2030, sustained income growth among the poorest 40 percent of the population at a rate higher than the national average in every country. This echoes the World Bank’s goal of promoting shared prosperity, although the World Bank does not set a specific target for each country but aims to foster income growth among the poorest 40 percent in every country.

Quote of the week: Novak Djokovic

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Novak Djokovic“If you can channel it in the right way, fear will turn to strength.”

- Novak Djokovic, a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 in men's singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals.  He is generally considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a top 5 player in the Open Era (since 1968). Djokovic has won 10 Grand Slam singles titles and has held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 172 weeks.

‘Neoliberalism’ and its excesses: After a sudden cloudburst of controversy, clear IMF insights on the 'disquieting' drawbacks of free-market dogma

Christopher Colford's picture

Hot off the presses, this month’s edition of the journal “Finance and Development” has been generating both heat and light – and is helping propel a welcome reconsideration of some central elements of the long-dominant but now-disputed Washington Consensus.

The always-thought-provoking journal from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank’s Bretton Woods sibling, sparked some unusually intense debate recently by publishing a well-documented analysis that poses a succinct and straightforward question — “Neoliberalism: Oversold?

That line of inquiry is surely familiar to all those who have been following the debate — supported by meticulous data from such scholars as Thomas Piketty (“Capital in the 21st Century”), Chrystia Freeland (“Plutocrats”) and Branko Milanovic (“Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization”) — over the intensifying economic inequality that is now corroding many societies, in both the developed and developing worlds. Yet the very invocation of the inflammatory term “neoliberalism” seems to have triggered an intense, if brief, summer storm.

Granted, the word “neoliberalism” is somewhat ill-defined, and, as the article’s authors point out, it is “a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies.” And, true, it’s unusual to see such a freighted question being asked by the IMF, which has often been seen as a main driver of the Washington Consensus. Yet, no doubt about it, putting “neoliberalism” in the headline makes for a mighty arresting article.

The Older Refugee and Community Resilience

Omer Karasapan's picture
thomas koch / Shutterstock.com

In terms of forced displacement relative to a country’s population, Syria is among the worst tragedies since World War II. Nearly half of the country’s population has been forcibly displaced. There are 4.8 million refugees, largely in neighboring Turkey (2.7 million), Lebanon (1.05 million) and Jordan (640,000). Over 1 million Syrians that have applied for asylum in Europe since 2011, with 900,000 applying in 2015.  In addition there are nearly 7 million internally displaced Syrians, accounting for 40% of the population still in Syria.
 

More than a short-term escape: Sustainable empowerment solutions for girls and women in Zambia

Sarah Haddock's picture
In rural Zambia, women who live in poverty struggle every day to make ends meet and feed their families. In the words of one woman, “to tell the truth we are poor. Any money I make from piece work goes to buying relish, washing soap and bathing soap, I hardly have anything left for anything else...My husband doesn’t work apart from doing a little here and there in our farm, also (my) boy goes to school, so there are school fees to think of.”
 

Success when we deemed it failure? Revisiting sites and services 20 years later

Sumila Gulyani's picture
Between 1977 and 1997, the World Bank supported “sites and services” projects in 27 cities across India
A freshly-minted architect stood staring at a sea of toilets. Row after row of them, on small “housing plots” meant for low-income families who would build their house incrementally as their incomes and savings grew. The neighborhood was “planned” and provided with services—under a World Bank-supported “sites and services” project—to serve as the anti-thesis of and an antidote to the slums that were, at the time, increasingly becoming the only housing option for low-income families.

It was 1980 and the architect, Barjor Mehta, was deeply disappointed. There were no houses, no people and no chance that they would ever come, given the seemingly god-forsaken location—in an area called Arrumbakkam—so far from the city center in Madras (now Chennai). Having just completed his thesis on housing, he wrote a scathing news article in the Times of India denouncing the sites and services approach. Barjor wasn’t alone in his critique, and by the mid-1990s the World Bank had almost entirely abandoned such projects.

In October 2015, Barjor, now Lead Urban Specialist at the Bank, invited me to revisit Arumbakkam and other neighborhoods developed, between 1977 and 1997, under four Bank-supported sites and services projects: With my colleagues Kate Owens and Andrea Rizvi, I visited 15 of the 28 sites developed in Chennai and Mumbai. We also reviewed archival material, analyzed satellite images, and recently presented our preliminary findings. Now, Barjor and I agree that previous assessments of failure may have been both premature and erroneous. Why?

When progress can’t wait, mediate

Jeff Delmon's picture
Photo by Flickr user uberof202

In public private partnerships (PPPs), it’s easy to forget that third “P,” but it’s this concept of a partnership that ensures the health and sustainability of the public-private relationship. Conflict can undermine the PPP relationship, or be used to strengthen it – and that’s why mediation is an important option for PPPs.

Mediation is simply a facilitated negotiation.  It is a very flexible format for resolving differences in international infrastructure projects, as each mediator can structure the process in the manner most appropriate to the situation.  Resolution achieved by mediation is not limited to remedies provided by law, allowing for bespoke settlements that satisfy both parties.


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