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Month: June 2011

The Unintended Consequences of Female Empowerment

The Unintended Consequences of Female Empowerment

In social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are different from those expected.  In development, unintended consequences are common, and often negative by nature. As a generalization, there are two approaches to development: top-down and bottom-up.  The top-down approach, favored by Jeffrey Sachs, calls for a prescriptive methodology – government-to-government aid, debt relief, and targeted interventions designed to reduce poverty and increase incomes.  The best example of the top-down approach in action is the Millenium Villages Project (read about it…

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Mobius Motors and Game-Changing Technologies in Africa

Mobius Motors and Game-Changing Technologies in Africa

Problems generally have a cause and an effect.  Trying to solve a problem by focusing on the effects may reduce the impact, but, if the solution fails to address the underlying issues that make it a problem in the first place, the problem will continue to exist.  In Africa, there is no shortage of people trying to address the effects of systemic problems without taking into consideration the root cause.  The best example  is food aid, which fights hunger and…

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Fewer Farms, Bigger Farms

Fewer Farms, Bigger Farms

Right now, the world is in the midst of a food crisis.  Some might contend that we never fully recovered from the food crisis of 2008, but what is certain is that food prices are rising.  The reason for the spike is open for debate, but some combination of a growing demand due to population growth, an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events (floods in Pakistan, the Moscow heatwave, etc.), an expanding middle class with a growing taste…

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Insite: A Step Beyond a Needle Exchange

Insite: A Step Beyond a Needle Exchange

The following is a guest post by Shawn Zhou, a country program analyst with the Clinton Foundation on the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Shanghai, China. An interesting progressive model for combating HIV/AIDS has emerged over the past 5-10 years in Vancouver, BC. Once home to the highest rate of HIV infection growth in North America, Vancouver has seen a significant decline in the spread of HIV among its intravenous drug users. The model they’ve implemented encourages drug users to…

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The Many Forms of Corruption

The Many Forms of Corruption

cor·rup·tion (n.): Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery In Nairobi the other day, the police pulled over my taxi at a checkpoint.  There were four people in the backseat, so the officer beckoned me, seated in the front seat, out of the car and said “You’re breaking the law – what do you want to do about it?” Fortunately, a friend sitting in the back felt strongly about not perpetuating the system of bribery and…

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The Evolution of Develop Economies

The Evolution of Develop Economies

“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.”- Mark Twain I think about this quote a lot, and by a lot, I mean once, two days ago, when I saw it referenced by Roger Ebert as he discussed his two years of weekly submissions to the New Yorker caption contest finally paying off.  It was linked to by Robert Mankoff, the cartoon editor of the…

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How Does Corruption in the Education Sector Work?

How Does Corruption in the Education Sector Work?

“There’s this standing joke about corruption in Asia: In the Philippines, everything is under the table; in Vietnam, it’s over the table; in Indonesia, it’s including the table.” – The Manila Standard The Philippines is ranked 139th out of 180 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, registering a 2.3 out of 10 (with 10 being the best).  In 2007, it was the second-worst in East Asia, a few points behind the Indonesia.  My friends in the Philippines used to joke that…

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mHealth in Northern Ghana

mHealth in Northern Ghana

This post originally appeared on Next Billion. “Some women feel they want to hide their pregnancy at the early stages. Maybe because they fear the ‘the evil eye,’ miscarriages, the unknown or visiting a midwife. These fears are normal. Here are some tips to help you deal with them: Seek healthcare even before traditional rites are performed. Nothing should prevent you from going to see a midwife at the early stages of your pregnancy.” If you are a pregnant woman…

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The Next Viral Video (Congrats to Anica and Navin)

The Next Viral Video (Congrats to Anica and Navin)

Today I was cranking away at work at the way-cool iHub, when I got a message from a friend with a link to the Boston Globe.  When I opened it, I had to smile, since it is amazing.  A good friend, former prom date, and the only person I’ve ever met who is definitely smarter than me (except for all the other people) just got engaged, and it made it to the Globe: Navin Kumar, 27, caused a scene at Harvard…

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