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Year: 2009
Due to severe winter drought, 700,000 people in the Mid- and Far-Western Hills and Mountains are in need of immediate food assistance in addition to nearly one million people who are currently supported by WFP
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Year: 2007
In this issue of id21 insights, the focus is on health of mothers and babies:
  • Improving the health of mothers and babies - Breaking through health system constraints: Improving maternal health remains the most elusive of the Millennium Development Goals
  • Achieving universal coverage of maternal health care: Maternal health can only be improved if mothers receive care from pregnancy through to childbirth and beyond. For this to happen, health systems need to be strengthened with maternal, newborn and child health care at the core. For some countries this can be done relatively quickly, for others it will take far longer.
  • 'Too much care' threatens maternal health: Whilst the major focus of international advocacy and policy for maternal health is on enabling women to have access to skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth, some women face severe morbidity, even death, from an excess of maternity care.
  • The impact of maternal health on poverty: The links between poverty and poor maternal health are well established. Poorer countries experience the highest rates of maternal mortality, whilst maternal death and life-threatening and debilitating illness are higher among women from poorer households. However, there is now growing evidence that poor maternal health can also exacerbate poverty.
  • Shortages and shortcomings - The maternal health workforce crisis: Providing maternal care requires a viable and effective health workforce. In many countries, and certainly in all countries where maternal mortality is high, the size, skills and infrastructure of the workforce is inadequate.
  • Generating political priority to reduce maternal mortality: Why do some serious health issues receive significant attention from political leaders and others get very little? To achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality, governments must prioritise this issue.
  • A forgotten priority - Maternal health service infrastructure: Weak health service infrastructure contributes to poor maternal health. Apart from inadequate skilled human resources, substandard infrastructure includes poor access to functioning equipment and a lack of essential drugs and supplies.

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Year: 2007
This issue of id21 insights focuses on mobile phones and development:
  • Mobile phones and development - The future in new hands?  'Explosive' is the only way to describe mobile phone growth
  • Micro-enterprise and the 'mobile divide': Mobile phones are starting to penetrate the informal sector in developing countries. Do they bring benefits? Reinforce inequalities? Both?
  • 'Mobile Ladies' in Bangladesh: Villagers often lack information they need to help improve their livelihoods. Such information exists but is often denied to them by the lack of connection to mainstream information systems. Mobile phones can solve this problem.
  • Mobiles reinforce unequal gender relations in Zambia: Mobile phones affect more than just communications. They can also reinforce society's unequal power relations. A three-year study in Zambia looks at this, partly in terms of relationships between husbands and wives.
  • Beyond the three billion mark: In mid-2007, we passed the symbolic mark of three billion mobile phones in use around the world. How did we get here? And how will we reach the next three billion users?
  • M-banking: For many people across the developing world, storing or sending small sums of money is economically impractical. This is due to the high cost and inaccessibility of banks and formal financial services. Recently, however, telecommunications providers, banks, and other companies have begun offering a variety of financial services via a basic mobile phone handset.
  • Mobiles and impoverished households in Jamaica: How do mobile phones affect low income households? Has this technology spread so far that it can now create a development impact right down to the poorest families?
  • Big versus small innovation: While 'big innovation' around mobiles may struggle in developing countries, 'small innovation' is booming.
  • Good practice for mobiles and health: Mobile information and communication technologies (ICTs) are not just phones. In healthcare, personal digital assistants (PDAs) – small hand-held computing devices – are also used.
  • From surveillance to 'sousveillance' in elections: New technologies are often associated with state surveillance of citizens. Mobile phones are no exception.
  • Mobile networks at the centre of infrastructure: Reflecting Northern models, mobile telecommunications in developing countries were initially conceived as secondary to fixed lines.

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Year: 2006
This issue of id21 insights focuses on remittances and how they can reduce poverty:
  • Sending money home: Can remittances reduce poverty?  At least US$232 billion will be sent back home globally by around 200 million migrants to their families in 2005, three times official development aid (US$78
  • Do remittances reduce poverty?  International remittances to developing countries will total around US$167 billion in 2005, more than twice official aid flows. Despite the ever-increasing size of international remittances, little attention has been paid to their effect on poverty and income distribution in developing countries and many policy questions remain unanswered.
  • Improving health and education: Remittances encourage investment in education and health, especially for children. New research suggests they can help families break the cycle of poverty and improve living conditions for future generations.
  • Boosting economic growth: Remittances by international migrants to their countries of origin constitute the largest source of external finance for developing economies after foreign direct investment (FDI). Estimated official remittances are US$167 billion for developing countries in 2005, double total development aid.
  • New regulations restrict Somali remittances: Approximately one million Somalis send US$1 billion back home every year, a crucial source of income for most of the Somali population. New regulations, however, as part of the 'war on terror', are restricting the flow of remittances into the country.
  • A better quality of life?  Remittances have an important role to play in the economic development of a country. Yet their impact is primarily seen at the regional and local level as a source of income to improve the wellbeing of thousands of households in migrant-sending countries.
  • Sending money home to Asia: Half the world's international migrants and most international labour migrants come from Asia. It is the main destination region for remittance flows from north to south, as well as within Asia from countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. The scale of remittances in Asia is unknown, however, and few policies exist to maximise their developmental impact.
  • Gender matters: Are remittance flows gender-neutral? Does it matter if the people involved in these transactions are male or female? Do remittances reshape gender relations?

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Year: 2006
The development community increasingly recognises the many links between human health and the practice and products of agriculture
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Year: 2005
This issue of id21 insights focuses on children and poverty:
  • Make childhood poverty history: About 600 million children worldwide are growing up in absolute poverty
  • Economic policy must recognise children: Macroeconomic policies have powerful effects on children. They shape public spending on basic services such as education and health and influence how households respond to changing economic conditions, often in ways that are not good for children. Yet policy making on the whole does not recognise child well-being as an objective or an outcome. Pro-child interventions relating to economic growth, trade and macroeconomic policy are critical to overcoming poverty.
  • Educating women = healthier children? What is the best way to improve the health of a nation's children? Community healthcare facilities, water supplies and sewerage systems are traditional targets for public investment. Peru's experience suggests that improving women's education is just as important.
  • Children's issues ignored in Ethiopia's PRSP process: Donors, governments and other groups acknowledge that addressing childhood poverty and labour is an important part of broader poverty reduction efforts. Yet, policies with a more comprehensive approach to tackling the multi-dimensionality of child poverty are rarely included in national poverty strategies.
  • Cash transfers can reduce childhood poverty: Forty percent of children in developing countries struggle to survive on less than one US dollar a day, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Childhood poverty often leads to long term vulnerability. It is associated with lower educational attainment and schooling which affects future earning potential and well-being. Cash transfers can protect people's well-being as well enable them to invest in their future.
  • Monitoring budgets for child rights: The Bill of Rights in South Africa's constitution gives special consideration to child rights such as basic nutrition and education, health care and social services. Is it possible to ensure that these rights are realised?
  • Dynamics of child poverty in the Kyrgyz Republic: The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the smallest and least developed of the newly created independent states of the former Soviet Union. It ranks 110 out of the 177 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). In the late 1990s, 88 percent of the population were living on less than US$ 4 per day. Children make up nearly two-fifths of its population but child poverty has received little attention.
  • Does child labour always undermine education? Children are often forced to work due to chronic poverty. Globally, work is the main occupation of almost 20 percent of all children aged under 15. This is considered a major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education by 2015.
  • ‘High achievers’ prioritise social policy: Costa Rica, Cuba, Barbados, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kerala (India) have succeeded in improving child welfare to a much higher level than might be expected given their national wealth. They are 'high-achievers' in social policy: in 50 years they have made advances in health and education that took 200 years in the industrialised world.

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