Tag Archives: development

How does film support aid and development work?

On November 16 Technology Salon NYC met to discuss issues related to the role of film and video in development and humanitarian work. Our lead discussants were Ambika Samarthya from Praekelt.org; Lina Srivastava of CIEL, and Rebekah Stutzman, from Digital Green’s DC office. How does film support aid and development work? Lina proposed that there are three main reasons for using video, film, and/or immersive media (such as virtual reality or augmented reality) in humanitarian and development work: Raising awareness about an issue or a brand and serving as an entry point or a way to frame further actions. Community-led discussion/participatory media, where people take agency and ownership and express themselves through media

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The eternal opportunity

The new Secretary of State for International Development has been quick off the mark with positive messages about aid.  And yesterday, she added her name to the role-call of pronouncements about the power of the current generation to eradicate poverty: Thanks to technology, we have opportunities that previous generations did not. We have the power to eradicate poverty. Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, 30 November 2017 This is, of course, not the first time we have told ourselves this. Here are some previous examples: This is the best story in the world today — these projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty … This new forecast of poverty falling into the single digits should give us new momentum and help us focus even more clearly on the most effective strategies to end extreme poverty

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Innovations in Bureaucracy

Last week I was at the “World Innovation Summit for Education” (WISE) in Doha, and I don’t think I heard the word “bureaucrat” once. Clearly the organisers don’t read Blattman or they would know that Bureaucracy is so hot right now.The World Bank might be a bit more ahead of the curve here, and held a workshop earlier this month on “Innovating Bureaucracy.” I wasn’t able to attend (ahem, wasn’t invited), and so as the king of conference write-upsdoesn’t seem to have gotten around to it yet, I’ve written up my notes from skimming through the slides (you can read the full presentations here).Tim Besley — state effectiveness now lies at the heart of the study of development. Incentives, selection, and culture are key, and it is essential to study the 3 together not in isolation.Michael Best — looks at efficiency of procurement across 100,000 government agencies (each with decentralised hiring) in Russia. Wide variation in prices paid by different individuals/agencies, with big potential for improvement.Zahid Hasnain — presents Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators (WWBI) for 79 countries. Public sector employment is 60% of formal employment in Africa & South Asia, and is usually better paid than private employment.Richard Disney — provides a critique of simple public-private pay gap comparisons — need to consider conditions, pensions, and vocation

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Open Data for Education

There’s a global crisis in learning, and we need to learn more about how to address it. Whilst data collection is costly, developing countries have millions of dollars worth of data about learning just sitting around unused on paper and spreadsheets in government offices. It’s time for an Open Data Revolution for Education.The 2018 World Development Report makes clear the scale of the global learning crisis. Fewer than 1 in 5 primary school students in low income countries can pass a minimum proficiency threshold. The report concludes by listing 3 ideas on what external actors can do about it;Support the creation of objective, politically salient informationEncourage flexibility and support reform coalitionsLink financing more closely to results that lead to learningThe first of these, generating new information about learning, can be expensive

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Brian Barder 1934-2017 – A life well lived

Last night we celebrated the life of my father, who died on 19 September. I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss his optimism about humanity and progress. I’m going to miss his mischievous independence and scepticism of authority. I’m going to miss his relentless determination to roll up his sleeves and get things done.

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Crowdfunding for Global Health: a novel solution or temporary fix? 

By Elizabeth Sherwin and Katia Cnop Elizabeth Sherwin was the Watsi Fellow working with Maya Health Alliance in Guatemala for 2016-2017. Katia Cnop is a Read More

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Equity & Access, Featured Content, Financing, Hub Originals, Nutrition & Food Security, Policy & Systems, Poverty, Social, Technology | Also tagged , | Comments closed

An experiment in giving

Just over a week ago I decided to try out a little experiment. I posted a Twitter poll to see if I could get the answer to a question that had been on my mind for a while. I had no idea what to expect and, although the sample size wasn’t fantastic, I was encouraged enough by the results to work a little more on the idea. So, over the weekend I posted up a call on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for contributors to do just that – donate an unconditional amount to a stranger each month. I upped the monthly payment a little, asking for monthly contributions of $15/£10, and capped the commitment at 12 months

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Why is there no interest in kinky learning?

Just *how* poor are *your* beneficiaries though? In the aid project business everybody is obsessed with reaching the *poorest* of the poor. The ultra poor. The extreme poor. Lant Pritchett has criticised extensively this arbitrary focus on getting people above a certain threshold, as if the people earning $1.91 a day (just above the international poverty line) really have substantively better lives than those on $1.89 (just below).

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Six Amazing Drugs in Development

Reposted with permission from Gap Medics At any one time, there are hundreds of drugs being developed around the world. Some of them could change Read More

Posted in Featured Content, General Global Health, Medications & Treatments, Noncommunicable Disease, Research | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Buckets of data for MERL

(I’ve been blogging a little bit over at MERLTech.org. Here’s a repost.) It can be overwhelming to get your head around all the different kinds of data and the various approaches to collecting or finding data for development and humanitarian monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL). Though there are many ways of categorizing data, lately I find myself conceptually organizing data streams into four general buckets when thinking about MERL in the aid and development space: ‘Traditional’ data. How we’ve been doing things for(pretty much)ever. Researchers, evaluators and/or enumerators are in relative control of the process

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Population Health: Malaria, Monkeys and Mosquitoes

On World Population Day (July 11) one often thinks of family planning. A wider view was proposed by resolution 45/216 of December 1990, of the United Nations General Assembly which encouraged observance of “World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.” A relationship still exists between family planning and malaria via preventing pregnancies in malaria endemic areas where the disease leads to anemia, death, low birth weight and stillbirth. Other population issues such as migration/mobility, border movement, and conflict/displacement influence exposure of populations to malaria, NTDs and their risks. Environmental concerns such as land/forest degradation, occupational exposure, population expansion (even into areas where populations of monkeys, bats or other sources of zoonotic disease transmission live), and climate warming in areas without prior malaria transmission expose more populations to mosquitoes and malaria.

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Doing good? Or do-gooder?

We all like to think our work makes a difference, even if we’re not really sure if it does. I’m well known for ‘doing good in the world’ yet even I question what that really means, or who precisely where might be better off in some way because of my chosen career path. For many people, feeling like they’re doing good is likely enough. For me, it’s not.

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In celebration of an approach less travelled

I’m in San Francisco this week on a surprise trip to collect an award for a product I designed and built over a decade ago. The fact the early work of FrontlineSMS is still being recognised twelve years on speaks volumes to the approach, and the impact it had – not only in the hands of users themselves, but also in the minds of others looking to apply technology for social good. It struck a chord with an emerging narrative that said we should build appropriate tools that genuinely empowered the people closest to the problem, and that our job was, if anything, to build those tools, hand them over and then get the hell out of the way. If you look at the tweets from the many ICT4D and social innovation conferences today, this remains an approach popular within our sector. But while tweeting and speaking are one thing, doing is another

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The Middle East, version 2.0.

Let’s be honest. The Middle East and North Africa is burning, and in some areas it is literally burning. Conflict and fragility have long warped what once was the cradle of civilization and the inspiration for the many inventions we can’t live without today. However, in the midst of that fire hope rises, a driver of change that is transforming the ugly reality into a bright future. After I fled the war in Iraq in 2006, I was pessimistic about what the future was holding for that region

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