These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Aid Transparency Index 2014
Publish What You Fund
The 2014 ATI results follow the trends observed in previous years. A lead group of organisations are making significant and continuous improvements to the information they publish on their current aid activities – and many others have taken steps towards improving their publication in 2014 – but the majority have not made significant progress and continue to lag behind.
12 ways to communicate development more effectively
From fundraising to behaviour change, communications is key to development work. Our panel explain how to do it better. Sina Odugbemi, senior communications officer (policy), World Bank, Washington DC, USA, @WorldBank:
- Make a case for development spending: Polls in Europe consistently show that support for development is wide but shallow. This is due to the limited power of emotive campaigns. People need to know if any of their money is doing permanent good or whether the cynics are right. That kind of case-making is, sadly, not done consistently and rigorously.
- Avoid promoting quick fixes: What that does is provoke disillusionment down the road. We need to discourage young people particularly from thinking complex problems can be solved with a rush of energy and cool new tools. We need to be communicating that many tough challenges will require stamina and sustained effort and commitment.
Entrepreneurial Plans Highest in Sub-Saharan Africa
In 2013, one in seven adults worldwide (14%) who are not already business owners said they plan to start their own business in the next year. Entrepreneurial intent was highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than one in three respondents (35%) planned to start a business, and lowest in the former Soviet Union countries (5%) and Europe (4%).
Does microfinance really help poor people?
First it was microcredit. Then microfinance. Now financial inclusion. Despite new names, 30 years later there are $100bn (£62bn) in current loans outstanding and the idea of providing financial services to the poor – particularly loans – attracts a cult-like following. Financial inclusion dominates the social investment sector, arguably crowding out other more traditional interventions such as healthcare and education. I believe that there’s a lack of credible academic evidence proving any poverty-alleviating effects of financial inclusion. “On current evidence, the best estimate of the average impact of microcredit on the poverty of clients is zero”, says mathematician and development economist David Roodman.
Here's Why We Haven't Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People
That major advancement in crop production—financed with money from governments and the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations—increased yields of cereal grains by using improved crop seeds, irrigation systems, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticides. Led by American agronomist Norman Borlaug, this movement became known as the Green Revolution. Most increases in agricultural production during the past half century have come from that type of innovation: boosting crop and livestock yields on land that already was being used for agriculture. Studies indicate that this growth in productivity has stemmed largely from investments in agricultural research.
Longer stories draw more attention, but with diminishing returns
There’s a growing narrative that long-form articles drive more attention time, which some are touting as the new metric of choice for digital publishers. It’s tempting to think the Internet has not all but killed our ability to slow down and sustain our attention in an era of slide shows, listicles and other easily digestible posts. But the the truth is actually more complicated. It turns out that longer is better at drawing attention, but only to a point. Ironically, it turns out the ideal sweet spot for people’s Web attention span is about the length of a prototypical newspaper article. We asked Chartbeat whether long articles are really worth the reader’s attention. Chartbeat looked at 200 randomly selected publisher sites across its 15,000 customer base and analyzed attention by article length.
2014 Nobel Peace Prize Awardees
The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 was awarded jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education"
- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2014 (VIDEO)
- “A great moment for all those children." Kailash Satyarthi on being awarded the Nobel Prize (AUDIO)