One last throw of the dice.

I’ve always found the global development system frustrating. It was the 1980’s when it first got my attention, with suffering and extreme poverty dominating my daily news feed.

How ICTs Help WFP Increase Food Security in DRC

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The dollar-a-week “mobile challenge”

Some people go on long walks. Some climb mountains. Others run marathons or go for weeks without smoking, drinking alcohol or watching television. There are many ways to raise money for charity these days, although many don’t have a direct connection with the area of focus of the charity itself.

World Bank busted for stereotypical images of Ghana

The World Bank has apologized for photographs on the web site for participants at its recent annual meetings, which showed offensive stereotypes about Ghana. A Ghanaian journalist broke the story after he saw the images portraying “a country full of hungry and miserable people.” This has prompted an outcry and debate in Ghana.

Why is promising a right to food more politically appealing than delivering that food?

In India, the system that delivers subsidized food and fuel to the nation’s poor is badly broken. Many people who are supposed to receive the subsidized fuel and bags of grain do not, and “studies show that 70 percent of a roughly $12 billion budget is wasted, stolen, or absorbed by bureaucratic and transportation costs.”

A Lecturer answers The Big Question

Two of my favorites, Chris Blattman and Megan McArdle , recently had a great dialogue on “is aid depressing?” I don’t have anything to add–read them!
However,  their dialogue does remind me of  The Big Question that I and many others get whenever we give lectures on economic development. Inevitably, after every single lecture I have ever given, the first question is … What Can I Do to End World Poverty?
How to respond? On one hand, I want to (and usually do) salute the questioner for their willingness to give of themselves for those less fortunate. I admire their idealism and commitment.

The "bingo" strategy of development

I'm not sure how I feel about this...
The French government is considering introducing a special lottery for Africa to supplement development aid.
"It could be bingo for Africa, or a lotto," said the French Secretary of State for Co-operation, Alain Joyandet.

Progress on the MDGs?

The 2009 MDG Report (pdf), leading into the 2010 MDG review conference that represents the last major recommitment before 2015, is both promising and disturbing.  Actual progress has been made, but the economic crisis is cutting severely into those gains, and, at this pace, the world will fall far short of achieving the Goals.

Poverty: The elephant in the room

A recent tweet by good friend Juliana Rotich on street/graffiti artist Banksy reminded me of another image he put together a couple of years ago. On display in Los Angeles for a limited time as part of an exhibition on global poverty and injustice, this was an incredible piece of “live art” which made it stand out from many of the other ‘works of art’ he has become famous for.

One beneficiary of the financial crisis

Organized crime.
Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that until the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the banking system "has been very active and clean," forcing organized crime to return to cash transactions.

Easterly's pessimism on the MDGs

It's not surprising that William Easterly has pronounced the Millennium Development Goals dead.  S-G Ban Ki-moon himself cautions that "progress has been too slow for most of the targets to be met by 2015."  What might be more surprising is that Easterly calls the activism surrounding the MDGs "a success in global consciousness-raising."  Yet not without flaws -- his post on the

Economic crisis threatening progress on MDGs

It's often been said that the global economic crisis has hit the developing world the hardest. I've always taken that to be sort of a given, but the new 2009 Millennium Development Goals report, just released, is one of the first documents I've seen to actually quantify the toll that the current economic downturn has taken on the world's poor.  

Poverty tourism is getting a lot of attention lately

Poverty tourism is getting a lot of attention lately. It’s not a new idea; we’ve been seeing slum tours for a decade now. People have a natural desire to see how the other half lives, and these tours make it happen in a safe and easy way. Opinion has always been mixed on where it’s exploitation, a lesson in empathy, or irrelevant.

On the financial crisis summit underway in New York

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan offers a very good rundown of the (h/t UK Foreign Office) three day summit at the United Nations General Assembly on how the financial crisis is affecting poor countries. 

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