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May 2017

The role of social media in development

Rosie Parkyn's picture

Why should development organisations care about social media? Rosie Parkyn looks at social media’s potential to enhance development outcomes in the Global South and how this stacks up against the evidence.  

At BBC Media Action, we take our content to people wherever they are, be that a refugee reception centre in Lebanon, a homestead in rural Ethiopia or their Facebook feed. Our work as a media organisation makes the biggest difference when we succeed in getting people talking, whether face-to-face or across virtual networks. Social media enables such discussion, broadening it beyond geographically defined communities and existing editorial agendas, and at a scale hitherto unimaginable.

As a development organisation that predominantly produces mass media outputs, social platforms allow us to see how people respond to our content and debate the issues we raise in our programmes. We can observe and interact with audiences in a way that isn’t possible with legacy media like newspapers and TV.

It’s true that many of our most important audiences in the Global South are yet to gain access to social media. Nonetheless, its role and influence within the information ecosystems we work in will only grow and its ability to support positive development outcomes demands exploration.

Why solutions for young people, need to be by young people

Noreyana Fernando's picture
 Nafise Motlaq / World Bank.
Statistics about young people today are alarming. A group of global leaders meeting at the World Bank agreed that youth should be given a role in finding solutions to these statistics. (Photo: Nafise Motlaq / World Bank)


Growing up in a developing country, I remember having some naive but clever solutions to the inequalities in and around my life. I had barely settled into my new teenage shoes, but I was already making indignant inquiries from my parents: “Why can’t we just fix everything for everyone?”

Ten years later — now blessed with a quality education and some work experience — those ideas today are likely less naive (and, I would hope, a little more clever). 

But where should I be vocalizing such ideas? The answer: In boardrooms, government buildings and high-level policy meetings. That is according to a group of global leaders who met at the World Bank Spring Meetings in April. 

Economy mega shifts are here to stay – Tap your talents to thrive

Salah-Eddine Kandri's picture


El viaje en barco desde Port Elizabeth a Kingstown, en el país caribeño de San Vicente y las Granadinas, es un trayecto de una hora que los lugareños hacen varias veces al día. Durante uno de estos viajes cotidianos, el barco de Kamara Jerónimo, un joven pescador sanvicentino, se quedó sin gasolina aproximadamente a seis millas de la ciudad de Bequia,  lo que se conoce localmente como el "Canal de Bequia". Mientras esperaba ayuda, bajo el sol inclemente y en medio de fuertes ráfagas de viento, nació la idea de desarrollar un barco movido por energía solar y eólica. Poco después, la idea se convirtió en prototipo; el barco movido por tecnología "verde" estaba en el agua, y su joven creador –de apenas 20 años-  se convirtió en ganador de concursos internacionales de innovación y en un modelo a seguir para otros jóvenes del Caribe.

En México, Daniel Gómez, un joven ingeniero, dirige una compañía multimillonaria de bio-diesel, originalmente concebida como un proyecto de investigación para su clase de química en la escuela secundaria. Gómez y sus socios - Guillermo Colunga, Antonio López, y Mauricio Pareja - fundaron SOLBEN (Soluciones en Bioenergía) poco después de cumplir 20 años.

Aunque Daniel y Kamara tienen diferentes niveles educativos, comparten una habilidad importante: la capacidad de identificar un problema, desarrollar una solución innovadora, y llevarla al mercado. En otras palabras, ser un empresario, una opción de ser económicamente activo que parece estar funcionando. Y no solo para unos pocos.

Los jóvenes de 15 a 29 años representan más de un cuarto de la población total del mundo. En promedio, tienen niveles de educación superior, se casan y comienzan familias más tarde que las generaciones de sus padres. Además, son conocidos por tener –más que nunca- acceso a, y conocimiento de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC).

Self-Help Women’s Groups in India help change behavior around diets and toilet use to improve health

Vinay Kumar Vutukuru's picture

Photo courtesy: IISD

 

The UN Climate Talks in December 2010 concluded with a set of decisions known as the Cancun Agreements, which included the establishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Having been involved in many of the negotiating sessions, I know that this fund is seen by many, particularly developing countries as an opportunity to create a ‘legitimate’ institution for delivering scaled-up finance to address climate change. However, there remains significant skepticism on whether or not this Fund could deliver adequate and predictable resources in a timely manner. Much work has yet to be done before the Green Climate Fund could become a reality.

 

Getting organized

In Cancun, the COP decided to set up a Transitional Committee (TransComm) and entrusted it with the task of developing the operational documents for the GCF and making recommendations to the COP in Durban. The Transitional Committee will include representatives from 25 developing countries and 15 developed countries. Some countries have announced their nominations, while others are still in the process of finalizing. The delay comes as no surprise of course. Nominations within regional groups remain a highly contentious and political issue. With limited seats countries are grappling to ensure they have a voice in the body that will design the Fund. I’ve heard the mix of skills and expertise on finance, climate and, development represented in the individuals nominated and they vary from country to country.

Economic marginalization of minorities: Do laws provide the needed protections?

Elaine R.E. Panter's picture

Never in recent history has anti-minorities rhetoric — anti-immigrants, anti-religious-minorities, anti-LGBTI — been so pronounced in so many countries around the world. Those groups, we are told, are the cause of our current economic crisis because they steal our jobs, fuel criminality and threaten our traditional way of living. And yet, the causes of our economic crisis are probably more nuanced, and initial research seems to suggest that more and not less social inclusion will help us overcome the instability of our times.

The exclusion of minorities from the labor force is becoming politically and economically unsustainable for many states that are struggling to retain their legitimacy and strengthen their competitive potential in an increasingly global marketplace. As a consequence, governments, international development agencies and academic institutions are now looking seriously at ways to develop policies that guarantee a more equal and sustainable form of economic development — development that addresses both short- and  long-term economic goals.

The World Bank’s Equality Project attempts to address this problem. The idea driving the project is that institutional measures that hamper the access of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities to the labor market and financial systems (such as legal and policy restrictions, or the absence of appropriate, positive nondiscrimination actions) directly affect their economic performance and, as a consequence, represent a cost for the economy: If a sizeable percentage of the population is not given the opportunity to acquire a high-quality education, a good job, secure housing, access to services, equal representation in decision-making institutions and protection from violence, human capital will be wasted, income inequality will grow and social unrest will ensue. The World Bank’s widely cited Inclusion Matters report puts it succinctly: “Social inclusion matters because exclusion is too costly. These costs are social, economic and political, and are often interrelated.”

The project collected and validated data on the legal framework of six pilot countries: Bulgaria, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Tanzania and Vietnam. The methodological approach of collecting cross-country comparable data according to key indicators yielded some general but interesting results, published in a research working paper in March 2017.

Quote of the week: Trevor Noah

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“I see most things in terms of finance and investment and marketing. In school, one of my favourite subjects was business economics. I had an amazing teacher who went beyond the syllabus. And so even now, in life, I read economics textbooks and I try to dabble in financial accounting, just to understand the world.”

-
Trevor Noah – South African comedian, television and radio host.

Quoted in Financial Times Weekend print edition December 17, 2016 "Life" by Michael Skapinker
 

Animal vaccinations help Afghan farmers and their livestock stay healthy

Dr. Sarferaz Waziry's picture
Also available in Dari | Pashto
 
On a visit to a vaccination program in Kalakan district in Kabul Province, I met many farmers who were happy and grateful that their animals were being vaccinated. Many Afghans today, including those in the villages, now understand that there are diseases that can pass from animals to humans and the best way to prevent it is to vaccinate the animals.

One of the farmers told me, “In the past we used not to care about the animals because we thought it did not matter. If an animal fell sick, we would slaughter it and buy a new one. But now we understand the value of animal health and vaccinations. We vaccinate our animals and by taking care of them, we ensure our good health too.”
 
Afghanistan’s economy is highly dependent on animal husbandry and this makes the population susceptible to a host of animal-borne infections. Additionally, the country is a large importer for livestock products, and it is significantly important to improve the Afghan livestock sector through better animal health to gradually substitute imports. One such infection is brucellosis, which is highly contagious and spreads to humans from infected domesticated animals, such as goats, cattle, sheep, or dogs. It is caused by consumption of contaminated food, especially raw meat and unpasteurized milk. The bacteria can also spread through air or on contact with an open wound and even on contact with skin.
 
Since 2013, through vaccination campaigns for domestic animals and awareness about how animal diseases convey to human, there is improvement in livestock products and public health.

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