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Despite recent improvements in some countries, progress towards reducing maternal mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa overall lags considerably behind that of other developing country regions.
Recent evidence indicates that Rwanda has made impressive progress in this area, particularly in the rural locations. This report presents research findings from a project concerned with identifying the institutional arrangements which have enabled Rwanda to achieve significant improvement in ensuring safe motherhood for growing numbers of women in the rural districts of Nyamagabe and Musanze.
Ethnographic research conducted over several months explored how actors, institutions and resources have been combined to overcome the key bottlenecks which might otherwise have undermined the provision of the key services which contribute to good maternal health outcomes. Initial analysis indicates that the coherence of the policy environent has been a key element. In addition to aiding in the clear definition oflines of responsibility, it has facilitated the avoidance of the sorts of overlapping mandates which usually encourage actors to pass the buck for service delivery failures. Laxity in professional standards and related problems ensuing from lack of motivation have been overcome by accountability mechanisms which serve as strong deterrents against misconduct by all actors responsible forservice provision.
Accompanying performance pressures based on consistent incentives comprising rewards and punishment ensure that all actors work toward the same objective of providing high-quality services. A crucial element in all this has been the facilitation of collaboration through which different actors, including users, can work together to overcome key bottlenecks.
There is increasing evidence on the benefits of knowledge management (KM) to enable organisations to be more competitive, achieve higher efficiency and increase output. The Ethiopian government has embarked on a major initiative for use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to improve the efficiency and impact of its sector programmes.
The use of knowledge centers or tele-centers is been recognised as having an important role in extension communication and agricultural development. This paper looks at the establishment of Woreda Knowledge Centers (WKC), set-up and used in ten districts in Ethiopia. WKC is used to gather, share, classify, access, and use knowledge at district (woreda) level.
This case study concludes:
This article is chapter 10 in the publication "E-Agriculture and rural development: global innovations and future prospects".
This paper begins highlights some key features that shape agrarian labour relations in Zimbabwe, illustrated through the setting of Goromonzi district. The new agrarian structure that forms the basis of the reconfigured agricultural production systems and labour relations is then analysed. This allows for the examination of the labour mobilisation patterns among the different classes of producers resulting from agrarian restructuring. The assessment of the material conditions that farm labourers derive from selling labour in various ways and their responses to the challenges they face precede the conclusions.
The new agrarian labour relations are explored using empirical research in Goromonzi district. Research undertaken by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS) since 2002, including a baseline survey in 2006 of 695 landholders and 173 farm workers in Goromonzi is used to illustrate the outcomes prior to economic stabilisation in 2009.iii The analysis draws from the results of the survey reported in Moyo et al. (2009) and the data referenced as AIAS (2007). Qualitative surveys in Goromonzi in 2012 are used to trace the dynamic changes to agrarian labour relations as further land redistribution occurred and the macro-economic context and agrarian policies shifted. Data was collected through interviews and observations from farm labourers, landholders, farm compounds, traditional authorities and state officials.
Saving for Change (SfC) is a community savings group programme designed and implemented by Oxfam America, Freedom from Hunger, and the Strømme Foundation. SfC operates in 13 countries in West Africa, Latin America and Asia.
This research conducted in Mali by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) at the University of Arizona examines the impacts of Saving for Change. IPA conducted a randomized control trial (RCT) with 500 villages (6000 households) as well as high frequency surveys with a subset of 600 households over a three-year period between 2009-2012.
BARA and IPA concluded that Saving for Change is an effective programme providing real socioeconomic benefits to its intended populations:
Historically, indigenous peoples’ access to health services in Latin America has been limited due to a variety of social, economic and cultural factors. The misunderstanding of indigenous peoples’ world view and their definition of health makes it more difficult to design and implement public policies that reflect their real needs. This Brief presents the progress at the regional and country level, discusses advances in the design and implementation of intercultural health policies in areas with indigenous communities.
This discussion paper examines why Islam matters in prevention efforts for HIV, what Islam and Muslim scholars say about MSM and transgender people, as well as how this impacts on the lives of MSM and transgender people and their access to health services.
While Islam allows for difference of opinion, and the religious leaders disagree on many social issues, most orthodox Muslim scholars are vehemently opposed to homosexuality. However there are many progressive Muslim scholars with varied positive opinions about gender and sexual orientation. This discussion paper urges human rights organisations and policy makers to create a database of progressive religious leaders and lobby for their support.
The discussion paper includes 13 key recommendations for consideration of human rights organisations and defenders, gender activist and policy makers, including:
Migration is transforming our world: by the end of this decade, most developing countries will have more people living in cities than in rural areas. Most migrants are in their early to mid-20s. Substantial numbers of adolescent girls are also on the move. Because of their age and gender, migrant girls are especially vulnerable to risks such as exploitative employment. But more evidence is needed on how to maximise migration’s benefits and minimise its risks for adolescent girls.
This policy brief provides a summary of key findings and recommendations from the the Population Council report, Girls on the Move: Adolescent Girls & Migration in the Developing World, from their Girls Count series. By providing a road map for policy makers and programme planners, the report focuses on the need to increase the visibility of migrant girls, reduce their vulnerability, and realise their full potential.
Main recommendations include:
prepare and equip girls before they migrate - with knowledge of their rights, life skills, IDs, and other portable assets
reduce the risk of trafficking and exploitation by connecting girls with safe places to stay and trusted individuals and by building support networks
ensure health and education services are sensitive to age, sex, and migration status
prepare girls for success
design girl-only approaches to reach domestic workers, child brides, and sexually exploited girls
develop qualitative and longitudinal studies to shed light on migrant girls’ experiences
maximise the benefits of migration by increasing adolescent girls’ visibility in policy and advocacy
Though the main benchmark used to assess pension reforms continues to be the expected resulting fall in future government spending, the impact of policy changes on pension adequacy is increasingly coming to the fore. As yet, there does not seem to be a broad consensus in policymaking circles and academic literature on what constitutes the best measure of pension adequacy. While various indicators have been developed and utilised, no single measure appears to offer a clear indication of the extent to which reforms will impact on the achievement of pension system goals.
Many indicators appear ill-suited to study the effective impact of reforms, particularly those that change the nature of the pension system from defined benefit to defined contribution.
Existing measures are frequently hard to interpret as they do not have an underlying benchmark which allows their current or projected value to be assessed as adequate or inadequate. Currently used pension adequacy indicators tend to be point-in-time measures which ignore the impact of benefit indexation rules. They also are unaffected by very important factors, such as changes in the pension age and in life expectancy.
This paper argues for the use of adequacy indicators based on estimates of pension wealth (i.e. the total projected flow of pension benefits through retirement) calculated using more realistic labour market assumptions. These measures are used to give a better indication of the effective impact of pension reforms enacted since the 1990s in ten major European countries. They suggest that these reforms have decreased generosity significantly, but that the poverty alleviation function remains strong in those countries where minimum pensions were improved. However, moves to link benefits to contributions have raised clear adequacy concerns for women and for those on low incomes which policymakers should consider and tackle.
Full title: Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Gender-Responsive Climate Adaptation Policy
Christine Okali and Lars Otto Naess
Attention to gender and climate change has increased steadily over the last decade. Much of the emerging policy-focused literature resembles to a considerable degree the gender and environment literature from the 1990s, with the nature of women’s work being used to justify placing women at the centre of climate change policy. However, in contrast with the portrayal of women in earlier literature as knowledgeable guardians of the environment, the women at the centre of gender and climate change policy are typically portrayed as vulnerable, weak, poor, and socially isolated. Arguably, this is a reflection of the politics of gender rather than the reality of the men and women who regularly experience and deal with changes of various kinds.
We argue for a more realistic and nuanced framing of gender that is built on an acknowledgement of social complexity, and an understanding of social, including gender relations, in specific local settings. Such a framing would provide a more valuable starting point for understanding the way in which both women and men, together and separately in their different, and changing roles, shape the outcomes of external interventions. This shift does not mean that targeting vulnerable women to meet short term needs is not valuable. Rather, the intention is principally, to minimise the risks of policy failure resulting from the adoption of often erroneous but popular assumptions about the different roles that women and men play, and must continue to play, to achieve food security in the face of climate change.
In 2012, the Sahel region of West and Central Africa was once again hit by a severe food crisis, affecting over 18 million people at its peak. At the start of 2012, when the crisis began to unfold, many governments, donors and aid agencies were determined not to make the same mistakes again.
This Oxfam briefing paper considers how well they collectively performed, and the lessons that must be learned to improve future responses. The analysis reveals that, although the 2012 response was bigger and, in many respects, better than responses to previous crises, there were still significant shortcomings that need to be addressed. Technical, financial and political barriers prevented governments from effectively leading the response. Diverging messages on the likely severity of the crisis led to paralysis and unnecessary delays in mobilizing a response. Donor funding was no more timely than before. As a result, millions of people still did not get the help they needed.
Wage levels are an issue of concern across the globe as individuals, companies and governments wrestle with how wages paid to workers relate to costs of living, corporate and national competitiveness, profitability and broader macroeconomic trends and challenges.
This report examines wages in the tea industry with a focus in three case study areas: Malawi, West Java (Indonesia) and Assam (India). It looks at hired labour on plantations and, in particular, tea pluckers.
Researchers found a number of deep rooted and complex factors keeping wages low. A key problem is that pay is set for the whole sector - there is no difference in pay from one plantation to the next - and that it is pegged to the legal minimum wage which is often well below the level needed for meet a family's basic needs. Other issues include the huge variation in the quality and take up of 'in-kind' benefits such as childcare or housing and the fact that workers, particularly women who make up the majority of the workforce, have little say in negotiations over pay.