Our Perspective

      • Why violence keeps women poor | Jeni Klugman and Matthew Morton

        04 Nov 2013

        Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban last October for advocating education for girls.

        Conservative estimates of lost productivity resulting from domestic violence range from 1.2 percent of GDP in Brazil and Tanzania, to 2 percent of GDP in Chile — roughly what most governments spend on primary education, or about 1.5 percent. But those figures don’t include costs associated with long-term emotional impact and second-generation consequences. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. That’s about 938 million women — more than the number of undernourished people in the world and close to the population of Africa. Women in poverty, especially in poor countries, often confront multiple layers of difficulty in avoiding or escaping gender-based violence. They may have less financial independence and fewer exit routes, and they often live amid longstanding social norms that at best turn a blind eye to the brutalities they face — and at worst sanction them. They may face greater social stigma if they seek help, and institutions may be too weak to provide help when they need it. Asked why they wouldn’t report abuse, women in developing countries most commonly reply that they believe it would do no good. Gender-based violence reinforces Read More

      • The human face of regional integration in Africa | Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

        29 Oct 2013

        A farmer in Uganda. (Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT)

        Regional integration is crucial for Africa’s development. There is no shortage of models and projections to support this assertion. For instance, an investment of US $32 billion in Africa’s road network could increase intra-African trade by $250 billion over a period of 15 years.   Yet the question remains: What can integration do for people? That theme is crucial as African countries figure out how to transition from economic growth to genuine poverty reduction and human development. First, regional economic integration would contribute to the creation of quality jobs, particularly for young women and men. African countries need to work together to achieve that goal, devising public policies that can create skills, facilitate labor mobility and access to finance. Second, basic social services and social protection: Countries can use integration as an opportunity to strengthen health, nutrition, education and vocational training, all of which contribute to making the workforce more productive. Third, integration can actually empower people, through the opportunity to migrate and take up jobs across borders. As countries vie to attract and retain new labor force, they have an interest in promoting stability and preventing conflict, protecting people’s rights, health and physical safety and involving them in decision-making. Fourth, Read More

      • Hurricane Sandy one year on: What have we learned? | Heraldo Muñoz

        28 Oct 2013

        Flooding after Hurricane Sandy in Haiti. (Photo: UNDP Haiti)

        Originally published at Aljazeera Online. The full article can be viewed here. This week marks Hurricane Sandy's first anniversary. Most media attention will understandably focus on the destruction and suffering caused when Sandy struck the United States on October 29 last year, killing more than 110 people and causing more than $50 billion in damages. But what is likely to get less attention is that the US was just the last of many stops on the hurricane's tour of destruction and that there are many lessons we should learn from those living in the Caribbean, a region regularly tested by the Atlantic hurricane season. On a recent visit to Port-au-Prince, I witnessed the tenacity of Haitians who gave me a tour of their newly rebuilt neighbourhood, one of the hardest-hit by the 2010 earthquake. What struck me is that while Haiti suffered a double-hit — with Sandy arriving only two years after the earthquake which killed at least 100,000 people, and affected as many as 3 million more — many measures implemented during the quake recovery helped reduce some of the storm's impact. For example, more than 300,000 people in Haiti have been engaged in community clean-up, which aids reconstruction and limits the Read More

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