Decades ago, some of the biggest NGOs simply gave away money to individuals in communities. People lined up and were just given cash.
The once popular form of aid went out of fashion, but it is now making a comeback.
Over time, coordination became extremely difficult. Traveling from home to home costs time and money for the NGO and the same problem exists for recipients when they have to go to a central location. More significant was the shift in development thinking that said giving hand outs was causing long term damage.
The backlash against ‘welfare queens’ in the US, UK and elsewhere during the 1980s was reflected in international development programming. Problem was that it was all based on unproven theories of change and anecdotal evidence, rather than hard evidence.
Half a decade later, new research shows that just giving people money can be an effective way to build assets and even incomes. The findings were covered by major players like NPR and the Economist.
While exciting and promising, cash transfers are not a new tool in the development utility belt.
Various forms of transfers have emerged over the past decade. Food vouchers were used by the World Food Programme when responding to the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa. Like food stamps in the US, people could go buy food from local markets and get exactly what they need while supporting the local economy. Continue reading
The damage caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines destroyed homes across the countries and the boats the fisherman rely up for their work. One man, Jimmy Obaldo, was inspired to build a boat out of the refrigerator that his children used for playing. The images of the fridge boat in use were captured by Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj.
While the story of the Philippines and the reality on the ground shifts from relief to recovery, these images are a good reminder of can be done in even the most limited circumstances. The recovery will be led by the Filipino government and people like Obaldo.
- Reuters/Damir Sagolj
- Reuters/Damir Sagolj
See the rest of the photos here.
Guest column by Mauricio Vivero, CEO of the Seattle International Foundation.
There, I said it. Ending violence against women is a men’s issue, too. If we’re looking to eliminate gender-based violence on a global scale, it’s about time we recognize it.
The United Nations has declared today as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This doesn’t mean much unless men – part of the problem – become part of the solution.
As men, we need to understand that violence against women is really just the end product of a long cycle. We also need to acknowledge that men are the perpetrators of this violence. It is the historically unequal power relations between men and women which have contributed greatly to this problem.
Unfortunately, we aren’t taught to think about it in this way. For many, it is difficult to understand what gender-based violence is and why it happens. The media feeds us news about cases of women being beaten, raped or assaulted. But unless it directly affects us or our loved ones, we go back to our daily lives, and the root problems of violence go unaddressed. Continue reading
For International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we re-run a recent post by Katie Leach-Kemon on Humanosphere charting violence in Latin America. As the graphic below indicates, violence from intimate partners is a leading cause of disability for women:
A report released by WHO estimated that 38% of murders of women are perpetrated by intimate partners. Continue reading
Americans wanted to watch news about the Philippines as much as they wanted to know about Obamacare, but the partisan news networks did not deliver.
New changes to President Obama’s healthcare plan were announced while the Philippines and international community were scrambling in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Coverage of the two stories varied wildly between the major media outlets in the US. CNN and Al Jazeera America favored covering the Philippines, while Fox News and MSNBC focused heavily on the healthcare plan changes. Continue reading
By Amy Maxmen, contributor
- In Mali, a mother administers anti-malarial drug to her child.
- Amy Maxmen
An abandoned measure in malaria prevention has been resurrected in six African nations this year. About 1.2 million healthy children are swallowing malaria drugs to prevent the disease during the rainy season in regions where malaria mainly strikes within those months.
Fifty years ago, public health officials stopped administering antimalarial drugs to massive numbers of people in malaria-endemic areas because it leads to drug resistance, and also it’s complicated to implement. Yet the strategy is making a comeback out desperation. Despite bed nets, insecticides and treatment, about 600,000 children die from malaria each year in sub-Saharan Africa.
As Humanosphere reported last April, Robert Newman, director of the malaria program at the World Health Organization (WHO), stressed the instability of malaria control. “If we let the pressure off,” Newman said, “the disease will spring back.” To keep that coil compressed, health workers administered malaria drugs prophylactically in parts of Mali, Togo, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
The version of mass drug administration that the WHO recommended last year – called seasonal malaria chemoprevention or SMC – will not work in East and South African countries where resistance to the medicines SMC uses, SP (sulphadoxine and pyrimethamine) and amodiaquine, is already widespread. Continue reading
- Robert Young Pelton
This week we covered Expedition Kony, a crowdsourced project by swashbuckling adventurer/author/journalist Robert Young Pelton to find warlord Joseph Kony in northern Uganda. “This is a project that seeks to shine a light on this hunt, on the hunters as well as the hunted,” we concluded.
But there are still questions to be answered – who is Pelton and why does he think he’s qualified to find Kony? What will he do if he meets him? And what about critics who say this belongs in the “#Bullsh*t Files,” like Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 project, which ended with Jason Russell, the founder of the organization, naked in the streets of San Diego?
Well, we had an extended chat with the guy so you can judge for yourself. Despite his bravado, Pelton doesn’t seem as cartoonish as Russell or evoke the same sort of messianic zeal. In a similar vein, his analysis complicates reductive, simplistic portraits of Kony himself. This “media event” he’s trying to put together seeks to uncover the governments, wealthy actors, and nonprofits (he calls Africa’s NGO sector a “self-licking lollipop”) implicated in why a two-bit rebel leader like Kony, of all people, is a household name.
Before all that, Tom and I discuss the top Humanosphere headlines this week: why one major charity head is calling for a shift in focus from disasters to politics, and the less savory side of “the golden age of philanthropy.”
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Guest post by Katie Leach-Kemon, a policy translation specialist from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
- Flickr, mrlego54
Earlier this week we marked World Toilet Day, created to raise awareness of the fact that billions of people around the world lack access to this basic necessity. The day is not so much about toilets as it is one of many attempts aimed at making sanitation a development priority worldwide.
Recent articles in news outlets such as CNN, Al Jazeera, and The Hindu discuss the importance of sanitation for everything from preventing diarrhea to protecting women from sexual assault and promoting girls’ education. In Humanosphere’s World Toilet Day post, we noted that the World Bank estimates that poor sanitation costs the globe an estimated $2.6 billion every year in lost productivity (a word economists use to tally up, among other things, the cost of death and disability).
Today’s post explores the extent to which poor sanitation contributes to the death toll in developing countries.
We’ll also explore developing countries’ progress in reducing deaths from poor sanitation, also known as “unimproved sanitation.” In 2010, an estimated 243,586 deaths in developing countries were attributable to poor sanitation. Lack of an adequate toilet contributes to deadly conditions such as diarrheal diseases and typhoid. Continue reading