Topic: Health and Education

Why conditional cash transfers can prevent HIV

Conditional Cash Transfers, in which poor families receive regular payments from governments or aid donors on condition they keep their kids in school, or get them vaccinated, are all the rage at the moment. They are seen as effective ways to reduce poverty, cushion poor families against shocks and get kids into school, but it […]

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Hillary Clinton on development: aid, agriculture, health and women

Hillary Clinton gave a big speech at the CGD development thinktank on Wednesday. Here are some of the things that jumped out for me: Strategic importance of development policy: ‘Development was once the province of humanitarians, charities, and governments looking to gain allies in global struggles. Today it is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative […]

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Using mobile phones to combat medicine shortages in Africa

Most of the coverage (and hype) around mobile phones and development is based on their potential to improve access to markets for small farmers, especially those in remote areas and to provide easy ways to transfer small amounts of money in the absence of functioning bank networks. But mobiles, which are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in […]

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Population: why it's a dangerous distraction on climate change (and makes us feel uncomfortable)

Trust the military to give it to me straight. Population comes up at virtually every talk I give – on climate change, development or just about anything else. But usually my questioners are a bit more circumspect than the man from the armed forces who recently asked what could be done about ‘women popping them […]

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Can the law advance education and healthcare in poor countries?

I recently spent two weeks doing jury service in an inner London court – a grim experience of leaking municipal toilets, undrinkable coffee, frequently incompetent barristers and Dickensian judges, overseeing a squalid litany of petty crime. In between the alleged threats and beatings, I read Courting Social Justice, a new book on the use of […]

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Forget Cannes – check out the Golden Poo Awards, 2009

OK, so Global Handwashing Day on 15 October may have passed you by, but take a minute (well, 3 minutes) to watch these two winning entries (less than two minutes each) for the accompanying Golden Poo awards.   Behind the humour is a very serious purpose of course. Handwashing with soap is among the most […]

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What can you do if teachers don't show up?

There has been significant progress in recent years in getting kids into school, but what’s the point if the teachers don’t show up for work? In general, the poorer the country, the higher the level of absenteeism. The explanations are both obvious (wages are so low, teachers need to look for second jobs, or funnel […]

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The Global Campaign for Education – a model of international activism

‘Global campaigning’ is sometimes criticised for being driven by northern agendas. As one frustrated Indian activist interviewed in the paper discussed here asked ‘what is a global campaign? Does it mean you get a lot of people together in UK, have a Bono concert and ask us here in India to get together and shout? […]

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Cash on Delivery: a big new aid idea? Actually, the EC’s been doing it for years!

One of the more exciting proposals in the UK Conservative’s recent Green Paper on development (see previous post here) is the idea of making aid ‘Cash on Delivery’ (CoD). ‘We will commit to pay a certain amount to a recipient government for a specific measure of progress – for example £100 for every extra child […]

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Giving cash to poor people and reducing inequality: lessons from Latin America

Two interesting ‘one pagers’ from the consistently excellent International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, run by the UNDP and based in Brazil. In ‘Do Conditional Cash Tranfer (CCT) Programmes Work in Low-Income Countries?’ Simone Cecchini of ECLAC takes the well-known successes of cash transfers in large middle income countries such as Brazil (Bolsa Familia) and […]

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Paul Collier on post conflict reconstruction, independent service authorities, how to manage natural resources and the hidden logic of the G20 London Summit

Paul came to give a talk to Oxfam’s big cheeses last week based on his new book War Guns and Votes (see my review here) and they invited me along. Here are some highlights: Post Conflict Reconstruction: The conventional sequence is ‘build the politics first, then the economics will follow’. Collier thinks the order should be […]

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Does aid work? Ask Nepalese women.

Ok I’m getting tired of picking holes in the arguments of aid sceptics, so here’s something positive – a specific example of what aid can achieve in a country like Nepal, which is recovering from a decade of conflict with devastating consequences for the delivery of basic services. One third of its population lives below […]

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