Tag Archives: Development

Changing Wealth – Changing Health


By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Bolivia has recently changed from a low income country to a lower-middle income country, and with that increase in incomes the disease burden has also changed. In 1990, Bolivia’s disease burden was dominated by infectious diseases and maternal health problems (pink group), which is typical of poor countries. By 2013, however, the blue group, which encompasses non-communicable diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and mental disorders) has become dominant, as it typically is in richer countries (see Figure 1). Read More »

Measuring Poverty Post-2015: Looking Beyond Income

Adanna Chukwuma

Despite the progress the world has made towards eliminating extreme poverty, one in five people on the planet are still unable to provide for their most basic needs. A report by the High Level Panel—a 27 member group advising the United Nations on a global development framework beyond the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—on the post-2015 development addresses this unacceptable statistic by placing the eradication of poverty on the global agenda.  The question that begs answering: ‘What and whose poverty?

Pause for a moment and picture Aisha: She is a young widow who lives in rural northern Nigeria.  She has five children, but cannot afford to send them to school. They live in a thatch-roofed wooden hut, and the closest source of potable water is 50 km away. Aisha earns an average of $2 a day. Would you describe Aisha as poor and why is this important? On the national and global scale, two reasons immediately come to mind. The adopted measure of poverty will guide who is targeted with scarce development resources and how we assess meeting national and global poverty goals. In addition, measures can be powerful drivers of change along the direction of whatever is assessed. Read More »

INESAD News: Welcome Surabhi Karambelkar

482397_10151564119529806_323163688_nAs part of continuous growth, INESAD and Development Roast are bringing on board a host of new interns. Join us in welcoming our newest addition Surabhi Karambelkar:

Surabhi is a currently pursuing a Master’s in Environment and Sustainable Development at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) at the University College London (UCL). She started her work in the environmental sector by focussing on wildlife conservation where she worked as a freelance volunteer and wildlife expert with the local organizations National Education Foundation and Naturewalk. Through engaging with forest communities on wildlife conservation projects she realized that they were increasingly dependent on the forest to meet their needs. This indicated that social development and environmental issues are intrinsically linked and convinced to her broaden her focus to encompass the two areas.

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Celebrating Uruguay’s Constitution on July 18

Cecilia JuambeltzBy Cecilia Juambeltz

Today, Uruguay celebrates the 183rd anniversary of its first Constitution. This is a special day for Uruguayans like myself as we take a look back at our history and think about how much we have moved forward. A recent visit to Egypt, a country so different from mine, gave me a new perspective on how valuable it is for a country to respect fundamental human rights and how important stability is to a democratic system. In Uruguay such stability is a result of years of hard work and forward-thinking from many men and women who believe in the Rule of Law as a guiding principle. Although not without its share of problems, for nearly 200 years the South American country has relied on a strong and respected body of laws to support its economy and a progressive stance towards social development. So July 18th is also a day to be grateful for.

Uruguay´s first Constitution

The Constitution of 1830 marked the culmination of the emancipation process that started 20 years before and the beginning of an independent life in the territory that is today known as Uruguay. Our first Constitution, which had strong French and North American influences, established liberal ideas, and stated personal rights and the distribution of powers. It was a symbol of order and the assurance of a civilized life. It was above the warlords and political parties. However, it also had, in the light of our contemporary vision, some negative aspects. Read More »

INESAD News: Guatemalan Food Security and Livelihoods – Is Strengthening Agriculture Enough?

The Spring 2013 issue of the Tropical Agriculture Association‘s (TAA) Agriculture for Development journal featured a report on food security and livelihoods of the rural populations of Guatemala by INESAD’s Ioulia Fenton. The paper summarizes the results of fieldwork research carried out by Ioulia in the province of Solola that focused on rural-urban linkages approach to development. The report makes practical recommendations for projects and policies that could begin to tackle some of Guatemala’s worst poverty and malnutrition problems. These include focusing on more sustainable farming methods, reverting to agricultural production geared for the local (rather than export) markets, and setting up knowledge transfer initiatives to teach people to conserve fresh produce by drying, salting or pickling it.

The article is available for free exclusively to Development Roast readers and can be downloaded from Ioulia’s Academia.edu site:

Fenton, Ioulia (2013) Rural-urban linkages in development – is strengthening agriculture the best way forward- A case study from Guatemala.

To purchase the full issue of Agriculture for Development, please visit the TAA site here. Read More »

Guest Roast: Good Governance and Development – Which causes which?

By Edvin Arnby Machata

The international development community has for almost two decades focused on improving governance as a strategic priority for aiding economic growth. This article points to the historical record and argues that 1) growth does not require good governance, 2) good governance and representative institutions are products of economic development – not the other way around, and that 3) the configuration of national institutions determine whether a political order will produce developmental outcomes or not.

‘Good governance’ has been a mainstay component in most donor-funded development programmes during the last two decades. What exactly constitutes good governance is empirically problematic, but while implementations vary, demands for good governance generally include provisions to minimize graft and increase respect for human rights.

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Bolivia’s Best: Interview with Prize-Winning Physicist Oscar Saavedra

“When you’re young, it’s important to have a vision that you try to fulfill in spite of whatever difficulties you may have to overcome.”

This is the philosophy of Oscar Saavedra, a highly respected particle physicist from Bolivia, now a Professor at the University of Turin in Italy. He studies cosmic rays (particles that come from outer space) and a type of particle called the neutrino, topics which help us to deepen our understanding of the physical universe.

It seems strange to some that people choose to spend time and money studying fundamental science as Oscar does, especially people from developing countries where even the most basic needs of many people are not met. What is the point in thinking about the structure of the universe when sufficient food, water, sanitation, and healthcare are not available?

Although it is true that this type of science has no direct use, there are many indirect benefits that arise from such work: cancer treatment and the World Wide Web are amongst the most incredible examples. Read More »

Saemaul Undong: South Korea’s mark on international development

South Korea’s development over the past half-century has been one of the biggest successes in the world. Measured in terms of either economic wealth, or the Human Development Index (HDI) which considers factors such as education and life expectancy, South Korea’s rise has been phenomenal. The country which is currently renowned for hi-tech companies such as Samsung, and for being the home of ‘Gangnam Style‘, was, just 50 years ago, suffering from the aftermath of a bloody civil war and had a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of just US$64.

A brief summary of the South Korea’s recent history sets the scene. Prior to World War II, Korea was ruled by Japanese imperialists. After the war, Japanese rule was replaced by the Soviet Union in the northern part of the country and the United States (U.S.) in the south. The northern rulers invaded the south in 1950, starting the three-year long Korean War which ended in the country being divided into North and South Korea. Kim Il-Sung took up the presidency of North Korea while South Korea came under the dictatorship of President Rhee Seung-Man. A military coup in 1961 led to General Park Chung-Hee taking the rule from President Rhee, and South Korea started the journey to rebuild itself. The results are astonishing: in 2011, the country’s GNI per capita was over US$28,000, putting it in 15th place in the list of world economies, and it also ranked 15 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index that year. Read More »

Bolivia’s Best: An Interview With Oscar Saavedra Arteaga

Fifty five years ago, archaeologist, engineer and geologist Kenneth Lee discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization in the region of El Beni, in the northeast of Bolivia. The sophisticated technologies that were revealed by the excavated remains fascinated the academic community. One man in particular has spent the past several years developing an ancient agricultural system of camellones, used by this civilization, for modern use. This is a system that uses elevated fields, channels of water and aquaponics (cultivating plants and fish in the same water source) to protect crops from flooding, whilst fertilizing these in a natural way and increasing productivity compared to traditional industrial farming methods. The model has proved so successful in El Beni that the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam has applied it in many African countries.

Today, to kick off Development Roast’s brand new ‘Bolivia’s Best’ interview series, we meet Oscar Saavedra, a Bolivian agroecologist and one of the founders of the Kenneth Lee Foundation who directs the camellones initiative under his own NGO, Amazonia Sostenible (Sustainable Amazonia) as well as his own business, Amazonia Services. Read More »

Development Goals – Wealth versus Happiness

Does money make you happy?

This question has been asked many times before, and has featured in many of this month’s Development Roast articles. The first post of the month asked ‘How poor do poor people feel?‘ The answer was that some of them don’t feel as poor as other (richer) people expect them to feel. This was followed by a Monday Graphics piece entitled ‘Is there more to life than money?‘ (In summary, ‘yes’). Then came ‘Masking Poverty: Why Poor People Like to Appear Rich‘, exploring how poor people in China feel better if they appear richer than they are, which necessitates having sufficient money to purchase the appropriate clothes. So in this case, money does indeed make these people feel happier. The next post was entitled ‘The Conundrum of Identifying the Poor‘, a discussion about the difficulty of identifying those who are most in need of aid. The most satisfying method for the community turned out to be for themselves to decide who are the poorest amongst them, since it most accurately identifies those that feel the poorest, even if they are not necessarily the ones with the least money or possessions.

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