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#9 from 2017: Virtual Reality - The Future of Immersive Learning for Development

Sheila Jagannathan's picture

Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2017. This post was originally published on March 7, 2017.  

In the blink of an eye, virtual reality can take you from a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to a first responder’s mission in Nepal, from practicing surgery in NigeriaFormer Bougainvillean combatant, now cocoa farmer Timothy Konovai tries out VR for the first time (World Bank/Alana Holmberg to tracking storms from earth observation satellites across South America. Virtual reality adds a new dimension to the learning experience: presence, the feeling of actually being in another place.
 
Learning from this new generation technology is becoming available at your fingertips for a minimal cost. Although virtual reality is still in its infancy, its cutting-edge approach and storytelling is already impacting development education, where it can draw us closer to the many development challenges we face.
 
What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to technology that generates realistic images, sounds, and other sensory inputs that replicate an environment. A headset completely immerses the individual in the environment being generated. Immersion is a word you will hear quite a bit related to virtual reality: immersive learning, immersive simulations, or immersive applications. The most famous virtul reality tool now is probably Oculus Rift.

What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to technology that generates realistic images, sounds, and other sensory inputs that replicate an environment. A headset completely immerses the individual in the environment being generated. Immersion is a word you will hear quite a bit related to virtual reality: immersive learning, immersive simulations, or immersive applications. The most famous virtul reality tool now is probably Oculus Rift.

#10 from 2017: Campaign Art: Food Waste

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2017. This post was originally published on January 18, 2017.  

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.
 
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), annually around the world 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted. In the world, where about one in nine people do not have enough food (that’s some 795 million people), food waste presents an enormous opportunity for tackling food insecurity.
 
In order to bring more attention to the issue of food loss and waste and promote food loss reduction, FAO is leading the Save Food global initiative, partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and others in the private sector and civil society.
 
#NotWasting

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Is Life Better Now Than 50 Years Ago? The Answer May Depend On The Economy

National Public Radio, USA
The way people perceive their country's economic conditions plays a big role in whether they view their lives more positively now compared with the past, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. Of the nearly 43,000 people surveyed in 38 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North and South America, Vietnam had the most positive self-assessment: Eighty-eight percent of respondents said life is better today in their country than it was a half-century ago.
 
The Conversation
Improved human well-being is one of the modern era’s greatest triumphs. The age of plenty has also led to an unexpected global health crisis: two billion people are either overweight or obese. Developed countries have been especially susceptible to unhealthy weight gain, a trend that could be considered the price of abundance. However, developing countries are now facing a similar crisis.
 

Using Geospatial and Temporal Value Chain Analysis in a Project

Maya Brahmam's picture
Since Geospatial Days are being celebrated at the Bank this week, I wanted to share the experience of my team in using this type of analytic study to provide insight for a Regional Trade and Connectivity Project in Bangladesh. 

My co-team lead, Yuka Makino, and I received funding from the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program to undertake a geospatial and temporal analysis of agricultural supply chains in trade/transport. Our objective was simple: To help integrate rural women into cross-border trading and ease their access to better transportation networks and competitive markets. We also wanted to understand the very low participation of women in the workforce, which has remained low over the last 20 years.

We hoped this analysis would help us answer several questions:  Where are skilled women located? What are the gaps in capacity? Who are the entrepreneurs and what sectors can they focus on? What sectors can be developed along transport corridors?
 

A Market for Values as an Option to Foster Individuality, a Sense of Community and Good Policies

Marco Senatore's picture
How can societies find an agreement on the importance of moral values such as solidarity and of cultural values such as the ability to cooperate, when professions are highly specialized and most relationships are superficial?

The market economy, as it is generally understood, does not endorse specific moral and cultural values. In general, workers are not directly paid and companies do not directly profit based on their will to, say, reduce pollution or inequality. 

What if values were formally a part of our social and economic interactions? A market for values might be the way to do that. Individuals and companies would exchange documents each of which would describe the benefits of applying a given moral, organizational, or cultural value. For instance, Company A that has invested in precision agriculture – choosing environmentalism as a value - would be able to describe how this has improved the use of nutrients.
 


Company A might transfer its expertise on environmentalism to Company B, that in exchange would describe the benefits of another value, perhaps propensity to innovation, such as lower capital investment, thanks to digitization. The insight about environmentalism could then be transferred to Individual C, in exchange for expertise on social justice, and so on.

How can communication generate successful and sustainable reforms?

Umou Al-Bazzaz's picture

For one, communication should be the first step to a reform process by enabling reform agents to begin the process of developing policy initiatives and programs and seeing reform not from the government or institution's perspective but from the point of view of those who are meant to benefit from these reforms.  It also plays a key role at various stages of reform, governmental or institutional.  However, there are many obstacles to a successful reform agenda.  Most noted are political, changes in people's knowledge, attitudes and behaviors and the conflicting interests of opinion leaders and stakeholders.
 
At the start of reform process leaders can use communication to articulate a rationale for change, and engage people in a consultative process to better understand the nature of the problem that reforms intend to affect. After the reforms are launched, their target audiences will need to develop support which often requires changes not only in what people know, but also in their attitudes and practices. To sustain the success of reforms, policymakers and program managers need to continuously respond to people's concerns, reduce barriers to adoption of new practices, and encourage people to maintain positive behaviors.
 
So, to find out how reform leaders can use communications to generate broad support for reforms, join us for the 2018 World Bank - Annenberg Summer Institute in Reform Communication: Leadership, Strategy and Stakeholder Alignment to get answers and learn more about the art and science of reform communication
 

Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

McKinsey & Company
Global banking-industry performance has been lackluster. Now comes the hard part: the rise of nonbanking platform companies targeting the most profitable parts of the banking value chain.
 
International Organization for Migration
Crossing the Mediterranean to Europe is “by far the world's deadliest” journey for migrants, with at least 33,761 reported to have died or gone missing between 2000 and 2017, a United Nations report finds. The report, released Friday from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), notes the highest number of fatalities, at 5,096, was recorded in 2016, when the short and relatively less dangerous route from Turkey to Greece was shut, following the European Union-Turkey deal.
 

State of Haryana’s Initiatives for Development of Horticulture in India

Abhilaksh Likhi's picture
Birmingham University, United Kingdom was the venue for a workshop from 16 to 17th November 2017 on “Post-Harvest Losses in Horticulture Crops and the Importance of Clean Cold Chain Development in India”. The UK workshop followed the study tour and conference in India, earlier this year, organized by Birmingham University's Energy Institute in collaboration with India’s National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) and UK'S Science and Innovation Network.

The objective of the workshop was to co-design the implementation of frameworks for the provision of clean and sustainable post-harvest food cold chain. The latter is defined in the report "India's Third Agricultural Revolution- Doubling Farmers' Income through Clean Cold Chains" as an integrated and seamless network of refrigerated and temperature controlled pack houses, distribution hubs and vehicles used to maintain the safety, quality and quantity of food while moving it swiftly from farm gate to consumption centre. Such facilities, the report highlights, ought to be attractive to end users, civil society, government, policy makers and industry to ensure impact, legacy, and scalability.
 



In the above context, intensive brainstorming was facilitated in the workshop by academics, experts, and industry leaders with senior officials fromthe government of Haryana, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh. The aim was understanding the barriers in the cold value chain from the first mile (farm) to the last mile (consumer) in accessing markets by small and marginal farmers. The aim was also to explore how improved and clean cooling technologies can be appropriately designed to enable such small and marginal farmers to avail opportunities for reaching markets with their horticultural produce, without loss of time so that their income is enhanced. Lastly, the workshop focused on the need for and role of area clusters and farmer producer organizations to drive such a supply chain with skilled manpower and innovative financing/ business models.
 

What kind of evidence might persuade people to change their minds on refugees?

Duncan Green's picture

Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Ed Cairns reflects on using evidence to influence the treatment of refugees.

Who thinks that governments decide what to do on refugees after carefully considering the evidence? Not many, I suspect. So it was an interesting to be asked to talk about that at the  ‘Evidence for Influencing’conference Duncan wrote about last week.

When I think what influences refugee policy, I’m reminded of a meeting I had in Whitehall on Friday 4 September, two days after the three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, had drowned.  Oxfam and other NGOs had been invited in to talk about refugees. The UK officials found out what their policy was by watching Prime Minister David Cameron on their phones, as he overturned the UK’s refusal to resettle thousands of Syrians in a press conference in Lisbon.  Even then, he and his officials refused to promise how many Syrians would be allowed. By Monday, that line had crumbled as well, and a promise of 20,000 by 2020 was announced.

The evidence of course had shown that children and other refugees had been tragically drowning in the Mediterranean for months. But it was the sheer human emotion, the public interest, and no doubt Cameron’s own compassion that made the change. Evidence and the evidence-informed discussion between officials and NGOs had nothing to do with it. More important was that a single image of a drowned boy spread to 20 million screens within 12 hours as #refugeeswelcome began trending worldwide. As research by the Visual Social Media Lab at the University of Sheffield set out, “a single image transformed the debate”.

Cairns 2


Two years later, a new Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration has just been launched by the Florence-based Migration Policy Centreand its partners, including IPSOS Mori in the UK.  It aims to be the ‘go-to centre for researchers and practitioners’, and has sobering news for anyone who thinks that evidence has a huge influence on this issue.  Anti-migrant views, it shows, are far more driven by the values of tradition, conformity and security, and within the UK in particular, according to an IPSOS Mori study, by a distrust of experts, alongside suspicion of diversity, human rights and “political correctness”.

Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Global Financial Development Report 2017/2018: Bankers without Borders
World Bank

Successful international integration has underpinned most experiences of rapid growth, shared prosperity, and reduced poverty. Perhaps no sector of the economy better illustrates the potential benefits--but also the perils--of deeper integration than banking. International banking may contribute to faster growth in two important ways: first, by making available much needed capital, expertise, and new technologies; and second, by enabling risk-sharing and diversification.  But international banking is not without risks. The global financial crisis vividly demonstrated how international banks can transmit shocks across the globe. The Global Financial Development Report 2017/2018 brings to bear new evidence on the debate on the benefits and costs of international banks, particularly for developing countries. It provides evidence-based policy guidance on a range of issues that developing countries face. Countries that are open to international banking can benefit from global flows of funds, knowledge, and opportunity, but the regulatory challenges are complex and, at times, daunting.
 
A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents
UNICEF

This report presents the most current data on four specific forms of violence – violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. The statistics reveal that children experience violence across all stages of childhood, in diverse settings, and often at the hands of the trusted individuals with whom they interact daily. The report concludes with specific national actions and strategies that UNICEF has embraced to prevent and respond to violence against children.
 

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