Archive for February, 2008
This morning I received a well-worn parcel in the mail. When I opened it, what a wonderful collection I found! Bonty, who had received some support from betterplace for her cultural project Patterns in the Sky, had sent full documentation of the event, from the receipts of the expenses to a dvd of the show. THank you so much. This is the kind of feedback we love!
Tags: child mortality, Save the Children, U.N. Millenium Development Goals
Is it inevitable that poor countries should have high child mortality rates? Are governments in developing countries powerless to improve the survival prospects of their children? These are questions asked by a report from Save the Children in a report published today designed to re-alight the flagging momentum for the U.N. Millenium Development Goals.
The study compares economic performance with child mortality and concludes that a number of countries have not translated wealth into improvements across society. Thus Bangaldesh, low on the development index, scores far better as a result of sound health policies than oil rich Angola, which distributes wealth very unevenly and consequently has the second-highest mortality rate in the world (260 deaths per 1,000 live births.).
Some of the poorest countries in the world – Nepal, Malawi, Tanzania and Bangladesh – are among the top ten performers in cutting child mortality, whereas India, the fastest growing economy in South Asia, has some of the worst rates in the word.
Tags: ecobalance, flower farms, Kenya, Valentines Day
Today development-conscious people should make sure that the Valentine-flowers they get for their loved one(s) are from Kenya. At least that’s what Hilary Benn, British International Development Secretary, recommended yesterday:
“This Valentine’s day, you can be a romantic, reduce your environmental impact and help make poverty history.” (The environmental isn’t obvious considering that the flowers are brought in by plane, yet a recent study conducted at the University of Cranfield concluded that the ecobalance of flowers “made in Kenya” is positive as they are grown in nature, whereas their European counterparts use power-intensive greenhouses.)
Despite the terrible unrests in Kenya following the election, there are enough flowers around: four million stems landed in Amsterdam to be distributed all over Europe today. Flowers are, after tourism, the main source of foreign currency in the East African country and the industry employs around 70.000 workers, mostly women. 95% of the flowers are exported, but the local demand for tulips and roses is rising as new consumption patterns are spreading with globalisation.
Tags: aid by trade, cotton made in Africa, Otto group, solar lamps
This morning I experienced an ICT disaster: Upon starting my laptop it reset itself into its virgin state and that during a time when I had been more than lazy with my back-ups. Fortunately my internet access was still intact and my mood was raised by an email from Michael Gleich, science journalist and co-creator of Culture Counts. In it he pointed me to two worthwhile initiatives (Thanks Michael!).
The first was Cotton made in Africa, an initiative started by the Otto group and supported by, amongst others, Tom Tailor, the DEG (German Investment and Development Association) and the GTZ, the main German state agency for development aid. Goal of the cooperation is to support the sustainable growth of cotton in African and its fair trade.The site is worth a closer look. Amongst others there is an interview about the future of CSR and an article by Michael Gleich about one of the buzzword of our time – sustainability. (Did you know that worldwide there are over 800 different defitions of sustainibility in use and in discussion?)
A comparable approach – poverty reduction through economic development instead through “help” given from one large institution (state aid agencies, large international NGOs) to another (governments and regions) – is followed by Osram, the German lightning manufacturer, who supports a project on Lake Victoria. There, kerosene lamps, polluting the lake and increasingly unaffordable for the fishermen, are being replaced by solar-operated lamps. Everybody profits from the project: the environment, die local population and the company, which opens up a new market and improves its image (although, strangely enough, I couldn’t find anything on the Osram site about the project).