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December 2016

How can we help smallholder farmers seize opportunities in Africa?

Simeon Ehui's picture
 
Photo by: Dasan Bobo/World Bank

Agriculture is at the heart of addressing poverty in Africa. I was reminded of that during my recent trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where different stakeholders had gathered to explore how to transform smallholder agriculture for growth. The recent End Poverty Day activities in Africa, which focused largely on agriculture, was also a reminder of how central the sector is to ending poverty and boosting prosperity.  Indeed, the different stakeholders I work with on a daily basis—which includes African governments, development partners, civil societies, the private sector and farmers—all agree: Agriculture is important to the future of Africa.

Universal Health Coverage day: Celebrating 15 years of health partnerships and innovations in Cambodia

Somil Nagpal's picture



For many of us who work in the health sector in Cambodia, the Universal Health Coverage Day in 2016 celebrates the beginning of a new journey. The recent launch of the Health Equity and Quality Improvement Project marked the beginning of a new phase in our journey to make Cambodia healthier and happier.

Is it time to move on from Stats and Numbers to Metaphor and Narrative?

Duncan Green's picture

Post Brexit and US elections, I’ve been doing some thinking about how we talk to people. It seems to me that, along with much of the aid and development sector, and quite a few other social change movements, we have been in thrall to the power of numbers and evidence. Everyone is a policy wonk these days.

The trouble is, as this year’s political events have shown, we are in a world of public debate that if not exactly post-truth (truth means different things to different people), feels very post-evidence or post-fact. Actually I think it’s probably always been like that, but people were more willing in the past to defer to experts and their alien language. The death of deference (good thing) means they are now no longer willing to do so (not so sure).

So what does this mean for those of us working on progressive social change? I think we need to at least partly put aside our preference for number crunching and lists of policy recommendations, and make greater use of metaphors or narratives instead.

This goes back to the long-standing discussions on framing – what kind of emotions are we trying to evoke? What is the underlying picture of the world? I would say positive emotions like trust, love, pride and self-reliance, laced with anger at injustice and discrimination.

What kind of narrative or metaphor could capture that? As an example, we could do worse than London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s soundbite that we should be building bridges not walls. That seems to conjure up exactly the right blend of emotions – optimism in the face of a threat.

Five innovative education trends from Korea

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Students in Korea (Photo: World Bank)

Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality. It also lays the basis for sustained growth.  Better schooling investments raise national income growth rates.  In nearly all countries, though to varying degrees, educational progress has lagged for groups that are disadvantaged due to low income, gender, disability or ethnic and/or linguistic affiliation.  However, there is an on-going education revolution occurring. 

Latest from the LSMS: DNA fingerprinting, population mapping, energy access, and surveying forests and livestock

Raka Banerjee's picture


The LSMS team continues to support the World Bank's pledge to collaborate with the 78 poorest countries to collect high-quality national household survey data every three years, to better inform investments and policies to eradicate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. A big part of this effort involves improving data collection methods in key areas. Toward that end, under the aegis of the World Bank’s Household Survey Working Group, we have developed a methodological research plan that focuses on welfare, gender, agriculture, and data processing/dissemination. Work is underway, and LSMS is collaborating with UNESCO, ILO, FAO, and other international organizations to establish standards and validate methods for data collection. As part of this effort, at a recent expert consultation at our Center for Development Data in Rome (hosted with FAO), representatives from development agencies and national statistical offices agreed on draft guidelines for collecting data on food consumption. Currently, there are no internationally agreed-upon standards for household consumption and expenditure surveys, so bringing this agenda forward can greatly improve the quality and comparability of global poverty, food security, and nutrition data.

New Data from Niger and Uganda!

Niger: The data from wave 2 of the Niger Enquête Nationale sur les Conditions de Vie des Ménages et l'Agriculture (ECVMA 2014) are now available. This panel dataset follows from the 2011 survey; 3,614 of the original 3,859 households were re-interviewed. The ECVMA is implemented in collaboration with the Niger Institut National de la Statistique (INS).

Uganda: The Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) 2013/14 data are also available.  This round follows from the 2005/06, 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12 rounds and includes 3,119 households. The UNPS is implemented in collaboration with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
 

DNA Fingerprinting, Drones and Remote Sensing in Ethiopia

CGIAR-Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) implemented two data experiments in collaboration with LSMS, the World Bank, and the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency. One experiment examined data accuracy on measuring improved sweet potato varietal adoption. It compared three household-based methods against DNA fingerprinting benchmark. These included: (i) farmer elicitation, (ii) farmer elicitation using visual-aid, and (iii) enumerator elicitation using visual-aid. Visual-aid protocols were better than farmer elicitation, but still far below the benchmark estimates. Another experiment focused on crop residue coverage measurement. It compared four survey-based (interviewee and enumerator estimations as well as use of visual-aid protocol) and two aerial (drones' images and remote sensing) methods against a line-transect benchmark. The results ranked measurement options for survey practitioners and researchers in conservation agriculture.

Quote of the week: Marina Abramović

Sina Odugbemi's picture
"A few days ago I woke up and I looked at the Guardian and I read the critic saying that my work was honest, remarkable. Then I read the New York Times, who said the complete opposite. Oh my god, did you see that one? This said I was pretentious, outrageous, masochist - completely pretentious and fake. My life has always been too hot or too cold, never in between, and these two articles were exactly like that."

- Marina Abramović is a performance artist. She is based in New York. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience.

Quoted in Financial Times Weekend print edition December 3, 2016 "Lunch with the FT Marina Abramovic" by Jan Dalley.

Photo credit: By Manfred Werner / Tsui [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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In Sub-Saharan African, as malaria rolls back, human capital moves forward: Guest post by Maria Kuecken

This is the eleventh in our job market paper series this year. 

Malaria is preventable and treatable – but it is still deadly. In 2015, there were 214 million cases of malaria and an estimated 438,000 deaths. Nearly nine in ten cases occur in Sub-Saharan African, and the direct and indirect costs of this burden are high.

Chart: What Share of Health Costs are Paid Out of Pocket?

Tariq Khokhar's picture

In many low and middle income countries, out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures are high, and can be a significant financial risk to the poor. Universal health coverage (UHC) is about people having access to needed health care without suffering undue financial hardship.

Sexual harassment robbing many girls of school education

Isabel Santagostino's picture

Sexual harassment is robbing far too many girls of the chance to get a school education, which can be a lifeline to ending economic and social poverty. This was a key issue highlighted at a recent high-level Regional Workshop in Burkina Faso. The event focused on findings of the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law report, specifically those relating to laws affecting women's entrepreneurship and employment in West and Central Africa. It brought together Ministers of Gender and policy makers, civil society organizations, and the private sector. One of the issues raised was how sexual harassment in schools and universities affects girls’ economic opportunities. “At the university, some professors ask students for sexual favors in exchange for good grades,” said a female participant attending the workshop. Burkinabe students are not the only ones facing with sexual harassment. A Zimbabwean female student came face to face with this issue; not once but twice, first from her university administrator and later from a professor offering to help pay her university fees.  School-related gender-based violence is an issue that affects girls worldwide. Globally, it is estimated that 246 million girls and boys are harassed and abused in and around school every year.


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