Jane Parry investigates whether genomics can help developing countries face their growing burden of disease
Even though genomics could be of a great help, for instances in order to identify risk factors for multiple diseases, developing countries face many barriers to their adoption (financial, legal, political). In addition, poor governance raises ethical, trust and confidentiality issues.
Tipping the Balance, a new joint research report from Oxfam and the IIED has discovered that current popular policies can tip the balance away from small farmers. How can we ensure small holder farmers get a better deal?
Christy Turlington Burns, an American model and advocate for maternal health with Every Mother Counts, says the most vulnerable mothers are adolescent girls. Talking about child and forced marriage at the Trust Women conference, she says: 'If we can get girls to be girls as long as possible, then we can delay early marriage and first pregnancies and a lot of the ongoing health implications of those practices'. She believes the MDGs were incredibly powerful, but wants any post-2015 targets to have more focus on teenage girls
Final (for now) evaluationtastic installment on Oxfam’s attempts to do public warts-and-all evaluations of randomly selected projects. This commentary comes from Dr Jyotsna Puri, Deputy Executive Director and Head of Evaluation of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
"Oxfam’s emphasis on quality evaluations is a step in the right direction. Implementing agencies rarely make an impassioned plea for evidence and rigor in their evidence collection, and worse, they hardly ever publish negative evaluations. The internal wrangling and pressure to not publish these must have been so high
What can an organization do to answer questions I (and it) have and not wring its (collective) hands regretfully later? Here’s my five point list for what all NGOs should think about before setting up an M&E system (or even after setting it up). It’s operational (I have put one into place), it’s not easy, but it has the potential to quieten most detractors (and people like me)..."
After reading about all of the problems associated with child labour, I stopped buying things from kids for the symbolism, refusing to support these horrible adults’ acts.
But my friend’s comment got me to start thinking about the effects of my imposing morality. Even if I don’t buy, and continue to theoretically oppose child labor, it still continues and the kid remains sad and hungry. If I buy, maybe they’ll have some food to eat, maybe to go to school. Then again, maybe it will go to their alcoholic father.
I do not claim to know the solution, but the right answer is much grayer than many of us recognise. I do think it’s important that we think about each situation on a case-by-case basis, using our best judgment. What is most important is that we think about it, instead of immediately imposing our aid worker ideals on irrelevant situations....
While the economies of most rich nations have stagnated, many countries – which for decades had been classified as low income and regarded as chronically poor – have experience sustained growth and graduated into middle income status. This is overall a good news story. The bad news is that the emergence of new middle income states has also resulted in a growing disconnect between where international development assistance is focused and where it’s needed.
Today, mercantilism is typically dismissed as an archaic and blatantly erroneous set of ideas about economic policy.
Neverthwless, the liberal model has become severely tarnished, owing to the rise in inequality and the plight of the middle class in the West, together with the financial crisis that deregulation spawned. Medium-term growth prospects for the American and European economies range from moderate to bleak. Unemployment will remain a major headache and preoccupation for policymakers. So mercantilist pressures will likely intensify in the advanced countries.
As a result, the new economic environment will produce more tension than accommodation between countries pursuing liberal and mercantilist paths. It may also reignite long-dormant debates about the type of capitalism that produces the greatest prosperity.
As I was sitting in a year-end retreat, I started jotting down this list of things that the development aid world could use more of in 2013...
Paola Rattu's insight:
According to me, the most interesting points in this list are:
(3) Expert facilitators who can translate between people speaking different languages, e.g. economists and activists, presidents and community leaders, poets and scientists, to ensure fruitful dialogue rather than diatribes
(8) People who specialize in working across disciplines and sectors, specialists in generating connections that would not typically come about.
Branding aid runs counter to all of the principles of the aid effectiveness agenda : undermining ownership and diluting the social contract between citizens and their state, visibly bypassing those local institutions that ideally would be providing those services, focusing on inputs (“from the American people”) and promoting domestic interests (politicians and taxpayers getting credit) over international and humanitarian ones.
Researchers studying land acquisitions in the global south face many challenges, including trying to measure the exact scale of the problem. Developing rigorous methods to assess how the rush for land is exacerbating land scarcity and affecting people locally is perhaps the most promising way to measure what the scale of the land rush means for recipient countries and the people who live in them, says Lorenzo Cotula.
From Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek, quoting Jane Jacobs’ book Cities and the Wealth of Nations:
Nations are political and military entities… But it doesn’t necessarily follow from this that they are also the basic, salient entities of economic life or that they are particularly useful for probing the mysteries of economic structure, the reasons for rise and decline of wealth.
So for example, two important factors in development are technology and culture. Neither spreads primarily at the unit of the nation.
This is the kind of helpful insight that will DEFINITELY have NO impact WHATSOEVER because it is so much more convenient both data-wise and politics-wise to focus on Nations.