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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture
World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
 

How does political context shape education reforms and their success? Lessons from the Development Progress project
ODI

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ – is one of the most important and challenging tasks in international development. In order to fulfil it, we require a better understanding of why progress and the impact of interventions varies so widely by context. One striking gap in our knowledge here is a lack of analysis as to how education systems interact with political contexts that they operate in. This report addresses this gap by drawing on evidence from eight education-focused country case studies conducted by ODI’s Development Progress project and applying political settlements analysis to explore how political context can shape opportunities and barriers for achieving progress in education access and learning outcomes.

Combining satellite imagery and machine learning to predict poverty
Science

Reliable data on economic livelihoods remain scarce in the developing world, hampering efforts to study these outcomes and to design policies that improve them. Here we demonstrate an accurate, inexpensive, and scalable method for estimating consumption expenditure and asset wealth from high-resolution satellite imagery. Using survey and satellite data from five African countries—Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Rwanda—we show how a convolutional neural network can be trained to identify image features that can explain up to 75% of the variation in local-level economic outcomes. Our method, which requires only publicly available data, could transform efforts to track and target poverty in developing countries. It also demonstrates how powerful machine learning techniques can be applied in a setting with limited training data, suggesting broad potential application across many scientific domains. Data imagery of the report is available on the project website.
 

A gendered human rights analysis of Ebola and Zika: locating gender in global health emergencies
Chatham House

Globally gender remains a key factor in differing health outcomes for men and women. This article analyses the particular relevance of gender for debates about global health and the role for international human rights law in supporting improved health outcomes during public health emergencies. Looking specifically at the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks, what we find particularly troubling in both cases is the paucity of engagement with human rights language and the diverse backgrounds of women in these locations of crisis, when women-specific advice was being issued. We find the lessons that should have been learnt from the Ebola experience have not been applied in the Zika outbreak and there remains a disconnect between the international public health advice being issued and the experience of pervasive structural gender inequalities among those experiencing the crises.

Poor data hurts African countries’ ability to make good policy decisions
Quartz Africa

African policy makers are increasingly called on to use evidence-based research to inform development decisions. But this requires the rigorous collection of data as well as a coordinated system to disseminate it. This is why Kenya-based African Population Health Research Center is advocating for national policies to enable strong data systems. Data, and especially data of good quality, are essential for national governments and institutions to accurately plan, fund and evaluate development activities. Basic development indicators are essential for an accurate picture of a country’s development status. This includes a country’s progress towards specific development goals and improving its citizens’ socio-economic conditions. In fact, solutions to social and economic problems are often inseparable from the statistics.

Lethal in Disguise: The Health Consequences of Crowd-Control Weapons
Physicians for Human Rights

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of popular protests in which people have taken to the streets to express grievances and claim their rights. In many cases, police and security forces have responded in ways that profoundly undermine the fundamental rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, often leading to escalations in violence through unwarranted, inappropriate, or disproportionate uses of force. Law enforcement throughout the world is increasingly responding to popular protests with crowd-control weapons (CCWs). The proliferation of CCWs without adequate regulation, training, monitoring, and/or accountability, has led to the widespread and routine use or misuse of these weapons, resulting in injury, disability, and death.

Hello World: Explore the Tech World Outside Silicon Valley
Bloomberg

Hello World invites the viewer to come on a journey. It's a journey that stretches across the globe to find the inventors, scientists and technologists shaping our future. Each episode explores a different country and uncovers the ways in which the local culture and surroundings have influenced their approach to technology. Join journalist and best-selling author Ashlee Vance on a quest to find the freshest, weirdest tech creations and the beautiful freaks behind them.



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