What’s New in Development?

March 30, 2011

Food prices and politics: the IMF agrees with Bob Marley

March 30, 2011

Hans Rosling and co on Water – justice, development and liberation through washing machines

March 30, 2011
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Last Tuesday was world water day, and I get the sense that water is one of those issues that is only going to rise further world water day logo spanishup the development agenda, both in terms of watsan (drinking water and sanitation), and because water is one of the key and ever-tighter pinchpoints of resource scarcity in farming and food systems. So in catch-up mode (and because a new Hans Rosling lecture is always worth a post). Here are a few links

Water and Justice: a 4 minute trailer on the struggle for water in the slums of Delhi, from the STEPS Centre

“Water supply and sanitation are extremely important, but water is also important for energy security, food security and basic urban security. So we’re seeing this integrated view of water as a central core development issue emerging more and more.” An overview of current debates from a big water conference in Cape Town.

“Almost 1 billion people lack access to safe water supplies, and 2.6 billion are without access to basic sanitation. Approximately 10% of the global burden of disease worldwide could be prevented with improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene and better water resource management…… hygiene and sanitation promotion cost respectively $3 and $11 per DALY averted (disability adjusted life year – a measure of overall disease burden), compared to $922 per DALY for the provision of antiretroviral therapy against Aids for example.” Sophie Trémolet the lead author of a new OECD report on the benefits of investing in water and sanitation, blogs here

And the incomparable Hans Rosling works his magic: What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? The washing machine, by turning wash day into a day of learning. Watch it – well worth 9 minutes of your life.

4 comments

  1. Liberation through washing machines – a funny, compelling NINE minutes, thank you for passing it along. I’m not sure whether the audience laughter reflected an real understanding of seriousness of the arrival of the washing machine – brings tears to the eyes, actually. I too have women relatives who I watched through their first week of ‘having a washing machine’. The transformation of their daily lives, energy, hope and aspirations was astounding.

    An MDG on families with washing machines?
    Why don’t more organisations understand the importance of ‘domestic technology’ in development and poverty reduction? (cute to have books appear out of the washing machine… pick your parallel image for another country). Unfortunately, increases in income don’t necessarily mean an end to the drudgery of washing – many families who have increased their income above TED’s ‘electricity line’ is that they leave at home a young, semi-literate woman doing the washing by hand – one of the hundreds of millions of domestic workers working invisibly today.

    I/we have often challenged development organisations and community-based groups on their provision of water tubing for irrigation for crops (often men’s work) while overlooking water tubing and taps for domestic chores. Likewise, post-flooding disaster, a relief organisation replaced agricultural tools and electricity/lights, but not corn grinding mills … so women had to go back to grinding on a stone before daily meals (2-3 hours/day).

  2. I understand that countries that have more wealth should be helping out other countries that are not as fortunate. What I don’t understand is why are we sending 650million pounds to Pakistan to help them out when this country is in such a financial mess itself. Surely we should be putting our own house in order before helping others that would make sense to me.

    Jamie Teece

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