Month: August 2009

Ugandan comic books; cash transfers in New York; praise for Jacob Zuma; Reaganite timewarp on healthcare reform and wonderful Magnum pics: links I liked

Chris Blattman raves (in a good way) about a comic book (sorry, graphic novel) about the civil war in Uganda And links to a fascinating attempt to apply the lessons of conditional cash transfer programmes in Mexico and Brazil to…… New York The FT finds much to celebrate in Jacob Zuma’s first hundred days ‘The…

By admin August 28, 2009 4

The great Microfinance debate: Comments on the Comments, some loose ends and some new info

Back from Bangladesh and still processing both the real life and blog discussions on microfinance institutions (MFIs), following last week’s post and the good debate in the comments. A few final (probably…) observations: Microcredit v Microfinance: point taken. A lot of the doubts and criticisms apply to microcredit (loans), not to the wider range of…

By admin August 27, 2009 13

Up to our knees in Climate Change in Bangladesh

Wading through tidal salt water pouring across a rapidly eroding road in an area of the coast that had never previously seen anything on this scale, climate change has never seemed so immediate. In May, Cyclone Aila breached the embankments and produced a humanitarian disaster, killing hundreds and affecting some 5 million Bangladeshis. Three months on,…

By admin August 26, 2009 1

Snapshots of Bangladesh: inequality on wheels, evil prawns, resilient garments, acid attacks and dodgy infrastructure

Just spent a week on a ‘busman’s holiday’ (where the distinction between work and leisure gets very blurred), visiting Bangladesh with younger son Finlay (17). A few headlines, and then tomorrow, something more substantial on climate change. Prawns, raised in paddy fields for export, have long had a bad press in Bangladesh, and no wonder.…

By admin August 25, 2009 5

The backlash against microfinance

The intellectual battlefield of development is littered with magic bullets. New ideas or technologies such as the internet or mobile phones are picked up, promoted as panaceas that will end poverty and transform societies, and then rapidly cut down to size by scrutiny and research. That process seems to be well under way on microfinance.…

By admin August 19, 2009 19

When farmers and weather men disagree, who's right?

I recently blogged on an excellent new paper by Steve Jennings and John Magrath on the changing nature of the seasons across a range of developing countries. One of the interesting side issues that emerged is that, while in most countries farmers’ perceptions fit the meteorological data, in a few others, farmers say that seasons,…

By admin August 17, 2009 3