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Shining a light on African economies: the annual CSAE conference

17. April 2019 - 16:56

The annual conference at the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University is a great opportunity to update yourself on what is happening in development economics research on, and from, Africa. The 2019 conference featured numerous interesting studies, of which many link up with INCLUDE’s knowledge agenda and focus areas for the coming four years: 1) work and income for youth and women, 2) economic growth and structural transformation, 3) access to basic services (particularly education), and 4) political empowerment and participation.

Although there are many more, we highlight here four insightful papers presented at the conference relevant to INCLUDE’s focus areas:

‘Wheels of change: impact of bicycles on female education and empowerment in Zambia’: Linking up with the focus area access to basic services and education, this paper looks at what happens when you provide school-age girls in Zambia with a bicycle? This paper showed that girls with bicycles spend 35% less time each day traveling and miss 30% less school. In addition, measures of empowerment increase. (Fiala et al., 2018)

‘The long term impacts of grants on poverty: 9-year evidence from Uganda’s youth opportunities program’: Cash transfers have the potential to kick-start young entrepreneurs and can have a positive spill-over effect on other youth, improving work and income for youth. This study showed that nine years after giving grants to youth in Uganda to start a business, by way of income, those who did not receive a grant had caught up anyway. Nevertheless, the study found that “grants had lasting impacts on assets, skilled work, and possibly child health, but had little effect on mortality, fertility, health or education”. (Blattman, Fiala, & Martinez, 2018)

‘Youth employability and peacebuilding in post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire’: When youth are part of cash-for-work programmes it generates empowerment and community participation. This study found that participating in a youth cash-for-work programme in Côte d’Ivoire “significantly increases the likelihood of attending community meetings by 20 percent, trust in family members by 17 percent, and trust in colleagues by 25 percent”. (Kimou, Ballo, & Barry, 2018)

‘Women’s political participation and intrahousehold empowerment: evidence from the Egyptian Arab Spring’: Participating in a political movement has positive influences on women’s personal and household levelpositioning. This study found that the Arab Spring democratic movement in Egypt led to “a significant improvement in women’s final say regarding decisions on health, socialization and household expenditure, as well as a decline in the acceptation of domestic violence and girls’ circumcision, in the regions most affected by the protests”.  (Bargain, Boutin, & Champeaux, 2018)

The above highlighted papers are adapted from a list of micro-summaries by David Evans of the Center for Global Development.  The original post providing summaries of the almost 300 papers on African economies discussed during the conference are available at this link.

The post Shining a light on African economies: the annual CSAE conference appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Single-issue funding and sustainable development CSOs in Ethiopia

9. April 2019 - 15:36

Researchers from Tilburg University and Mekelle University are currently collaborating on a project that aims to investigate the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in securing sustainable development in Ethiopia. In our first blog post, we looked at restricted civic space and the impact thereof on local CSOs. In this blog post, we discuss some initial findings on the impact of single issue funding. This project is part of the ‘New Roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development’ Programme, which investigates the assumptions underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent’ of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This research is funded by NWO-WOTRO.

During the empirical phase of our research, we conducted a series of interviews with CSO employees working in Ethiopia to better understand how these organizations adapt under a regulatory regime that has, up until now, radically constrained their funding and activities. While the regulatory regime governing civil society in Ethiopia is about to change with the recently-adopted new civil society law[1], various non-regulatory constraints on CSOs remain.

One of those constraints is the considerable impact of ‘single-issue funding’. Single-issue funding includes grants and funding programmes that address problems and concerns in an atomistic and isolated manner. Single-issue funding is particularly problematic for organizations working on complex environmental problems like sustainable development, climate change and food security. Both foreign and local CSOs reported that they have been forced to either shut down or shift their programme focus due to new funder priorities. The organizations we interviewed told us that funding opportunities over the past year or two have been concentrated in the area of migration and displacement. Work on food security and other resilience programmes does not meet the funding requirements for many of these grants.

One organization described receiving funding from a Dutch funder to address crisis relief in Ethiopia. With this funding, the organization established a number of local initiatives focused on food security at the community level. In 2017, the Dutch funder changed the focus of its funding to migration, and the organization no longer qualified for funding. This resulted in a loss of years of built up expertise and good community relations. This is particularly problematic in Ethiopia where CSOs have historically been portrayed as self-serving and unreliable. It also affects the stability and resilience of the communities that had previously benefited from the work of the CSO. Productive and beneficial programmes are forced to either stop or shift their focus, as funding priorities follow the shifting political winds.

This example is particularly worrying from an environmental point of view, as addressing concerns such as food security, sustainable development and climate change – which also may not fall under migration funding – generally require long-term engagement. In addition, an atomistic approach is in direct conflict with funders’ own aims and goals, as addressing environmental threats and ensuring food security are crucial components of addressing unsustainable levels of migration.

A shift in donor focus can also have a significant, and often overlooked, impact on the institutional set-up and human resource situation of a CSO. One organization told us that, despite their extensive expertise in environmental issues, they no longer qualified for many grants. Donor priorities have shifted to migration and the organization has not been able to transfer the expertise it had to a new and different focus area. Another organization described how changes in donor focus have had a serious impact on their financial stability, making it harder for the organization to retain capable and qualified staff.

While repressive regulatory laws have, until recently, constrained the political freedom and space of CSOs in Ethiopia, the capricious priorities of funders can radically limit the operational space of CSOs. Although organizations have found inventive ways to survive and keep doing important work despite political repression, shifting funding priorities jeopardize their sustainability and undermine their efforts.

[1] For an overview of some of the key features of the new Ethiopian civil society law, see blog post by Dina Townsend at

The post Single-issue funding and sustainable development CSOs in Ethiopia appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Improving cost-effectiveness of social protection through better coordination and implementation

5. April 2019 - 12:38

Seven international research groups have been selected by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development and INCLUDE to carry out research on social protection. Findings have been published in 2018, and are discussed in a policy publication. This poster outlines the conclusions that can be drawn if two main questions of the research are combined: i) what social protection programmes are most cost-effective; and 2) how can the coordination and implementation of social protection programmes be improved.

This poster (A1 size) was presented at the Transfer Project workshop that was held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 2-4 April 2019.

The post Improving cost-effectiveness of social protection through better coordination and implementation appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Demographics and the future of Africa

2. April 2019 - 10:58

Demographics are immensely important to economics. In fact, the relationship between the working-age population and dependents is so important that it explains between a third and half of economic growth. It is particularly important in low and lower-middle income countries where labour contributes the most to improvements in productivity.

And the higher the worker-to-dependent ratio, the faster the economic growth.

For Africa, demographics are particularly vital. When the working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) is significantly larger than the dependent population (the very young and elderly), an economic window of opportunity known as the demographic dividend opens. However, contrary to the view of many policy pundits, Africa is several decades away from entering its demographic dividend. In part due to its one-child policy, China experienced particularly rapid economic growth up to 2011, when its demographic dividend peaked at an extraordinary high ratio of 2.8 persons of working age to every dependent. At that time, China had a population of roughly 1.4 billion people. Without a change in fertility rates, China’s economic growth is now set to decline quite rapidly as its working-age population has to support more dependents with each passing year.

Figure 1. Comparison of working-age to dependent population in Africa, India and China in 2019 and 2070
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

In the meantime, the worker-age to dependency ratio in India is improving and will likely peak at around 2036. At that point India is expected to have a population of around 1.6 billion people. Because the working-age to dependent ratio in India at its peak will be significantly lower than China, which was around 2.2, India will not be able to achieve the rates of economic growth previously attained by China, perhaps growing at around 6% per annum.

According to current forecasts, Africa only gets to its demographic dividend after 2054 and peaks much later, shortly after 2070, at a modest working-age to dependent ratio of 2.0. It is, therefore, unlikely that Africa will be able to achieve the rates of economic growth that China achieved in 2011, or the growth forecast for India mentioned earlier. By then, Africa’s population would have increased from its current 1.3 billion people to more than 3 billion people.

Using the International Futures Forecasting system from the University of Denver, I estimate that by 2072 Africa will only achieve an average economic growth rate of around 4% per annum, which is significantly below that required to provide employment and improve livelihoods for its large and expanding population. That is because Sub-Saharan Africa has a particularly young population with a large cohort of people below 15 years of age.

Figure 2. Ratio of working-age persons to dependents for China, India and Africa
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

With few exceptions, average economic growth rates in Africa will be too slow and population growth rates too high to allow the continent to either rapidly reduce poverty or improve average incomes.

Interventions targeting family planning, clean water and improved sanitation, education, and women’s power, status and education can change this. A recent report on demographics from the Institute for Security Studies simulates a scenario that advances Africa’s demographic dividend by empowering women and meeting the pent-up demand for contraceptives use, which the UN estimates as equivalent to two less children per women. In that scenario, the continent will, by 2063 (the final year of the African Union’s Agenda 2063), have 400 million fewer people. Poverty will largely be eliminated and Africa will have an economy that is roughly a trillion dollars larger than would otherwise be the case. The result is that average incomes in Africa would be significantly higher.

The impact of that scenario on the ratio of working-age persons to dependents is depicted in Figure 3, which also compares the current demographic path for Africa to the end of the century with the working-age to dependent scenario in the rest of the world.

Figure 3. Ratio of working-age persons to dependents in Africa vs the rest of the world
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

Africans need to engage candidly and robustly in public discussions and scholarly analysis of the economic and development implications of the continent’s large youthful population. Political leadership in discussing gender inequality and family size is vital, as are public media campaigns that demonstrate the health and economic benefits of smaller families.

In addition to investing in the education of women and girls, African governments in low- and lower-middle income countries should prioritize the accelerated roll-out of modern contraception. Such a programme should first meet the pent-up demand for contraception and then aim to significantly expand contraception use beyond current planning. This would advance the onset and intensity of Africa’s demographic dividend with substantive development benefits, including much more rapid economic growth and higher incomes.

Full report available at: Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

The post Demographics and the future of Africa appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Unpacking the aid chain: Do donor rules help or hinder advocacy efforts in Kenya?

1. April 2019 - 12:15

The research programme ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’ investigates the assumptions, solutions and problems underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent’ of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The  research  groups  are  sharing  their  findings  in  a  series  of  blogs.  This  contribution  is written by Emma Frobisher from  the  Research  Group  ‘Enabling  rules  for  advocacy  in  Kenya ‘. 

Donor aid funding for civil society development often flows from donors based in the global North to international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who in turn distribute the funding to civil society organizations (CSOs) in the global South, who ultimately fund community-based organizations (CBOs). This downward flow of funding is called the ‘aid chain’. The institutional design of the aid chain (i.e. how the chain is organized) involves a system of rules, responsibilities and requirements for all the stakeholders involved. This design inevitably has an impact on the ability and scope of the various actors to operate and, essentially, on how development work plays out on the ground. Our research study, ‘Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya’, looks at three CSOs in Kenya who are being funded by the Dutch Government to implement human rights advocacy projects. Specifically, we examine the interaction of the various rules facing each of the actors in the chain, including who is in and who is out, what their roles and obligations are, and how their performance is defined, measured and rewarded.

Figure 1. A simplified representation of the aid chain

Our research in Kenya has illustrated the vast range of results that can occur as a result of donor aid rules. In a context where funding for development advocacy is hard to come by, donors offer financial resources that would otherwise not be available, and this enables local advocacy to take place. One member of a CBO described the funding as a ‘lifesaver’, explaining that it enabled the group to lobby the local government for their rights for the first time. Donors also play a crucial role in sharing their knowledge with CSOs through training and by expanding CSOs’ networks by introducing new contacts, all of which helps strengthen the capacity of activists. Further, donors and Northern CSOs are able to support the work of local activists to help them achieve their goals and offer them protection in instances where they find themselves under threat. The research has also demonstrated that the presence of an international NGO in the aid chain brings added value to advocacy in the global South. For example, NGOs not only support CBOs to perform advocacy themselves, but also run international campaigns to raise awareness overseas, thus helping put pressure on the local situation ‘from the outside’.                                

However, the institutional design of the aid chain can pose a number of problems for advocacy efforts, because being part of an aid chain inevitably comes with certain rules set by donors, which have implications for the ability of CSOs to conduct advocacy. Firstly, our research has shown the extent to which fixed-term project-based funding can cause serious sustainability issues which result in CSOs lacking long-term focus. It is commonplace for CSOs to have high staff turnover, which jeopardizes their stability. The precarious nature of funding means that CSOs often spend large amounts of time on fundraising, with staff frequently engaged in writing proposals in the hope of winning donor grants. Furthermore, donor expectations in relation to value for money and results-based quantitative outcomes can drive CSOs to implement short-term, easy-to-predict measurable activities, often to the detriment of more strategic, long-term plans that factor in the complexities of local contexts. Donor demands for accountability mean that there is a lot of administrative work involved in projects, which is evident in Kenya where the staff of CSOs dedicate a large portion of their time to writing reports for the donor instead of performing advocacy work. In addition, our findings reveal the paradox of being part of an aid chain, which can sometimes undermine a CSO’s connection with their constituents. In multiple cases, the organizations have drifted towards the priorities of their donors and away from the concerns of their beneficiaries, leading to a feeling from the grassroots that these organizations are puppets of the donors. Hence, it is evident that while the aid chain can enable development advocacy to occur, its institutional design can significantly constrain the ability of CSOs to fulfil their advocacy roles.

The post Unpacking the aid chain: Do donor rules help or hinder advocacy efforts in Kenya? appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Reversing the fragility of growth in Africa

28. März 2019 - 13:17

Fragility of growth is multi-dimensional and complex in nature. It is associated with conflict, insecurity and political instability, and it is on the rise in the African continent. Fragility is a cause of (and caused by) poverty and inequality. It is expensive and impedes the achievement of high and inclusive growth. Overall, there is a need for interventions to support poverty reduction, equality and broader based growth. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution: how we address fragility depends on the country context. Macroeconomic stability and economic growth are important, but not sufficient, to address fragility. More context-specific immediate programmes must be established to rebuild national unity and tackle embedded inequalities, especially those related to gender. Political ecosystems should also be redesigned to deal with faulty distribution systems and elite capture.

These are some of the key messages from the 2019 Senior Policy Seminar, entitled ‘Fragility of Growth in African Economies’, organized by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The Seminar took place in Harare on 21 and 22 March 2019 and was attended by nearly 100 high-level officials from 30 African and other countries. It featured four synthesis papers presented by global experts, including Prof. Andrew McKay (University of Sussex), Prof. Alemayehu Geda (Addis Ababa University), Prof. Anke Hoeffler (University of Konstanz), Dr Janvier Nkurunziza (UNCTAD) and Prof. Nicholas Ngepah (University of Johannesburg). The papers, which can be accessed here, were commissioned under the programme ‘Promoting Leadership for Economic Policy in Fragile and Post-Conflict States in Africa’, an initiative of AERC with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The Seminar culminated in the presentation of a joint communique, which can be accessed here.

The sources of fragility of African economies are multifaceted. Conflict, insecurity and political instability are most often associated with fragility, although high dependency on natural resources also appears to be a significant factor, as Prof. McKay argued during the Seminar. Other invited scholars, including Prof. Hoeffler, agreed that there are many definitions of fragility and added the political environment to the debate, as well as climatic shocks, youth unemployment and the low level of diversification of economies. Fragility is also gendered and context specific. Even though a country as a whole may not be ‘fragile’, some sectors or regions, or even individuals, may be exposed to the manifestations of fragility, negatively impacting on the performance of the economy as a whole. Given the multi-dimensional and highly complex nature of the concept of fragility applied to states, there is a need to think about it in more dynamic, adaptive and long-term way.

Fragility is on the rise in Africa, and it is expensive. In 2016, according to the Fragile States Index, 6 out of the 10 most fragile countries were in Sub-Saharan Africa. A number of these countries featured on this list 10 years earlier as well. One of the factors causing this is conflict. Prof. Geda estimated the average economic cost of conflict on the continent at USD 70 billion. The costs are even higher if you consider shrinking human capital and markets, swelling corruption and political exclusion. Fragility is also a trap. Whenever an economy is caught in this trap, it faces two possibilities: sustained growth or continuous decline and eventual collapse, as pointed out by Prof. Hoeffler and Dr Nkurunziza in their joint paper. Addressing fragile growth is, therefore, critical for achieving inclusive and sustainable development in Africa, and, thus, realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

To address fragility, it is important to recognize its multiple dimensions and the country-specific drivers. This involves looking at the source, type and extent of fragility, its gender dimensions, the country’s resource endowments, its state and institutional capacity, party politics and the country’s leadership. Therefore, there is no single strategy to transit from fragility. Economic growth is important in the long term, but, as Prof. Ngepah pointed out, there is an immediate need for programmes that build national unity and tackle inequality. Security is a necessity, followed by human and financial capital. To provide a source of revenue for the government and, consequently, reduce dependency on aid, countries should introduce light, gradually increasing and transparent taxation for all and invest in long-term capacity building, as well as mobilize domestic resources through remittances, argued Prof. Hoeffler. There is also a great need to create (decent) jobs for as many people as possible. Therefore, governments should promote sectors with high employment potential, while at the same time investing in education and encouraging skilled diaspora to return to the country. The development of agricultural value chains through models that reduce risks, such as contract farming, raise agricultural productivity and support exports of added value products is one possible strategy, as suggested by Jane Mariara from the Partnership for Economic Policy. Based on her research, conducted in the frame of the INCLUDE programme, contract farming complemented by social protection programmes is key to increasing productivity and making the sector more inclusive. Furthermore, improving physical infrastructure (including digital connectivity) and the business environment, as well as strengthening institutional capacity are equally important. An integrated approach to balance development and reverse fragility requires good leadership and a new political ecosystem, which should ultimately lead to inclusivity. 

Clear links exist between fragility and inclusive development. The presentations and discussions during the Seminar revealed that, firstly, fragility is a trap that sustains exclusion and adverse incorporation. For example, it is more difficult to achieve higher and sustained growth in poor and marginalized societies. In addition, high poverty headcounts associated with lower growth makes it more difficult to improve livelihoods and build resilience. Similarly, social and economic exclusion increases fragility and, in some cases, leads to conflict. Secondly, fragility drives or leads to exclusion and adverse incorporation. For example, fragility decreases savings, investment and tax revenue. Overall, fragility is linked to inequality, a reduction in growth and poverty reduction, and inefficiencies in the economy, which hinders inclusive development. 

You can find more information about the 2019 Senior Policy Seminar here.

The post Reversing the fragility of growth in Africa appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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Synthesis report: Inclusive Development in Africa

25. März 2019 - 11:26

This synthesis report comprises existing and new knowledge on ‘Inclusive Development in Africa’. The report takes together findings from the RIDSSA research projects on Social Protection, Productive Employment, Strategic actors, insights from INCLUDE’s African Policy Dialogues, and a review of the state-of-the-art literature on inclusive development.

The post Synthesis report: Inclusive Development in Africa appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Ethiopia’s new civil society law

11. März 2019 - 12:51

A few weeks ago, the Ethiopian Parliament adopted a new law governing civil society organizations (CSOs). It is hard to overstate what an important and remarkable step this is for the sector. Up until now, Ethiopian law has radically constrained the work and political space of CSOs. In this blog post, we outline some of the key features of the new law and how it differs from the old regulatory system.


A new era for civil society in Ethiopia

A wave of protests in 2017, followed by the surprise resignation of the then Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, in February 2018, opened the way for a new political era in Ethiopia. As part of a more democratic, transparent and accountable government, the new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, committed to repealing and revising a series of repressive laws, including the Charities and Societies Proclamation of 2009. Although the 2009 Proclamation states that its purpose is to ensure the right to freedom of association, in reality it restricts and controls the activities and funding of CSOs. Over the past few months, a drafting committee has prepared a new CSOs law, which has been adopted by Parliament and will soon replace the 2009 Proclamation, ushering in a new era for civil society in Ethiopia.


The 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation

The 2009 Proclamation categorized CSOs into three groups: Ethiopian charities and societies, Ethiopian resident charities and societies, and foreign charities. Under this law, Ethiopian charities and societies were not allowed to raise more than 10% of their revenue from foreign sources. Ethiopian resident charities and societies and foreign charities were allowed to receive funds from foreign sources, but prohibited from carrying out advocacy activities. These restrictions were defended by the State as necessary to ensure that activities of a political nature were carried out by the government and not by ‘foreign agents’.

The 2009 Proclamation sought to transform civil society into a service sector. One of the ways it did this was by regulating the use of funds by CSOs. The law required CSOs to allocate 70% of their budget to operational costs and 30% to administrative activities. The ‘70/30 rule’ was meant to ensure that the bulk of CSO funding benefited those in need. However, the Proclamation defined administrative activities so broadly that it included a wide range of costs that would normally have been considered part of the cost of implementing a programme. As a result, organizations were unable to train staff, commission studies, network, or participate in workshops.

Perhaps the single greatest problem with the 2009 Proclamation was the oversight of CSOs by the Charities and Societies Agency. The Agency was mandated to oversee and administer the registration, reporting and other activities of CSOs and had wide discretion over their closure, as well as a range of decisions affecting their day-to-day operations. CSOs complained of extraordinary bureaucratic delays, high staff turnover and corruption, resulting in them having to wait weeks (sometimes even months) to open bank accounts, finalise contracts, purchase vehicles and so forth. The Agency was perceived by many as bureaucratic, incompetent and generally opposed to civil society.


The 2018 Proclamation – a broadening of civic space in Ethiopia

The new 2018 Proclamation takes an entirely new approach to the regulation of CSOs. This is unsurprising as the committee appointed to redraft the law included a number of civil society representatives and consulted CSOs and members of the public. It departs from the previous categorization system, referring only to indigenous (local) and foreign CSOs. It explicitly provides that all organizations have the right to engage in any lawful activity to accomplish their objectives. In other words, foreign and foreign-funded CSOs are no longer prohibited from engaging in advocacy and human rights work. In fact, the new law specifically encourages CSOs to engage in advocacy and lobbying in regard to laws and policies “which have a relationship with the activities they are performing”.

While the old categorization of organizations has been abandoned, a shadow of this old system can be found in the limitation on lobbying political parties. The new law states that foreign organizations and indigenous organizations established by foreign citizens resident in Ethiopia may not lobby or influence political parties, nor may they engage in voter education or electoral observation, unless otherwise allowed by law. However, the law provides that foreign citizens resident in Ethiopia can avoid this restriction by establishing CSOs jointly with Ethiopian citizens. The law also actively calls on all CSOs to contribute to democratization and promoting the rights of their members.

One surprising development is that state control over the distribution of funds is still in place. The 70/30 rule has been replaced by an 80/20 rule: only 20% of a CSO’s income can be spent on administrative costs. At first glance, this appears to be a setback. However, the law now defines administrative costs more precisely as including salaries of administrative employees, rent, bank fees, and attorney fees, among other things. They do not include training, research, or networking. This is a significant improvement, even though it involves continued state oversight of spending.

Although the new law also establishes a Civil Society Organizations Agency to oversee the registration and reporting of CSOs, its discretion has been significantly limited. The new law sets time limits on the administrative duties of the Agency (e.g. it must approve the opening of a bank account within five days). While it is not unimaginable that incompetence, high staff turnover and corruption will impede the new Agency and render these time limits meaningless, CSOs can now challenge the decisions of the Agency, something they could not do under the 2009 Proclamation.

The new Agency’s board will also be more representative. Under the 2009 Proclamation, the Board comprised seven members, all of whom were appointed by the government, including two members from the CSO sector. The new law increases the representation of CSOs to three and stipulates that they be selected by a Council of CSOs, not the government. The Council of CSOs is a new entity to be established by CSOs, but convened by the Agency. The law seems to envision a CSO-led entity, established with the assistance of the State.

Perhaps one of the most important developments in the law is that it advances the self-regulation of CSOs. The new law defines this as “a regulatory system led by a voluntary code of conduct adopted by Organizations through the Council to govern themselves”. The Council’s primary tasks are to: enact a code of conduct and devise enforcement mechanisms in consultation with the Agency, donors and other stakeholders; advise the Agency on the registration and administration of organizations; and represent and coordinate the sector. This move to self-regulation marks a significant shift. However, a number of questions remain, such as whether the Council can effectively represent a sector as large and diverse as the Ethiopian CSO sector. Questions also arise as to whether a relationship of trust and goodwill can be maintained between the Council and the Agency and whether close collaboration between these entities will jeopardize the Council’s independence.

Without losing sight of these questions, the shift to self-regulation is promising. It demonstrates a change in the way CSOs are perceived. They are no longer seen by the State as untrustworthy and self-serving, but as an important sector and best positioned to ensure CSOs are accountable, transparent, and committed to good governance and their beneficiaries. Ethiopia appears to have bucked a global trend towards shrinking political space, as it moves towards greater respect for the right to freedom of association and recognition of the value and importance of a thriving civil society sector.

The post Ethiopia’s new civil society law appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Report of the INCLUDE meeting 20 November 2018 Workshop – ‘Key Learnings Inclusive Development’

11. März 2019 - 11:09

On November 20th the INCLUDE workshop ‘Key Learnings Inclusive Development’ took place. Researchers from NWO-WOTRO’s ‘Research for Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’ (RIDSSA) projects, INCLUDE Platform members, the INCLUDE Secretariat and NWO-WOTRO gathered in The Hague to prepare for the INCLUDE conference ‘From Research to Practice: Inclusive Development for Future Prospects in Africa’, hosted by INCLUDE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) the following day.

The post Report of the INCLUDE meeting 20 November 2018 Workshop – ‘Key Learnings Inclusive Development’ appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Taking stock of four years of Research for Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

8. März 2019 - 11:36

After four years, the NWO-WOTRO funded programme Research for Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (RIDSSA) has come to an end. At the same time, with a subsidy provided by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), INCLUDE is entering a new four-year phase. In the coming years, INCLUDE will make use of new research funding channels, and expand its focus to new countries and inclusive development themes. It also welcomes new platform members and a (partly) new Secretariat. But before we move forward, it is time to look back and take stock of what four years of RIDSSA has brought to the table.

This stocktaking was done on 20 November 2018, when INCLUDE organized the final research workshop ‘Key learnings inclusive development’. Researchers from the RIDSSA programme, INCLUDE platform members, the INCLUDE Secretariat and NWO-WOTRO representatives gathered in The Hague to discuss the findings from the 17 RIDSSA projects, the resulting four synthesis reports developed by the Secretariat, and the recommendations drawn from these for development policy. The workshop also served as preparation for the INCLUDE public conference ‘From research to practice: inclusive development for future prospects in Africa’, hosted by INCLUDE and the MFA the following day. Full reports of both days can be found here and here.

Building a RIDSSA community

How did it start? In 2014/2015, 17 projects were awarded funding as part of the RIDSSA-programme: 5 on productive employment, 7 on social protection and 5 on strategic actors for inclusive development. The interim and final findings from the projects have been disseminated on the INCLUDE website, as well as during conferences, workshops and lunch seminars. As such, over the years, a solid and committed RIDSSA community has been built, consisting of researchers, platform members and policymakers. Although too many to mention all, some events in particular have contributed to building this community. For example, the workshop ‘Knowledge activities for inclusive development in Africa’, held in October 2014 in The Hague, kick-started the RIDSSA programme with pitches from the research projects. A year later, in October 2015, interim findings were disseminated during the conference ‘What works to promote employment prospects for women and youth’ in Leiden, which resulted in animated dialogue between researchers and Dutch policymakers. Cashing in on these established relationships, INCLUDE, teamed up with the MFA to organize two public conferences: ‘Boosting youth employment in Africa’ in May 2017 and ‘From research to practice: inclusive development for future prospects in Africa’ in November 2018.

Findings of specific relevance to local and national-level policy making in Africa have been disseminated by the projects in numerous workshops and policy dialogues in African countries. Examples include the multi-stakeholder workshop for knowledge-sharing, organized by the project ‘Agricultural Partnerships’ in September 2015 in Ghana, the closing conference of the project ‘Inclusive Business Strategies in Africa’ held in June 2017 in Nairobi, the ‘African policy dialogue on women’s entrepreneurship and social protection in Uganda’ and the capacity-building training on ‘Roads for water and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa’, organized by the project ‘Feeder Road Development’ in Tigray in March 2015. This training has yielded impact, as shown by the fact that the Ethiopian Road Authority has used the findings from the project in developing road water harvesting guidelines (see the project’s Research update).

RIDSSA researchers also participated in several ‘policy-research workshops’ organized by INCLUDE around each of the three RIDSSA themes: productive employment, social protection and strategic actors. In these workshops, researchers, together with the INCLUDE Secretariat, Steering Group and WOTRO representatives, drew overall conclusions that go beyond the individual research projects. These conclusion served as input for the synthesis reports. A final and fourth policy-research workshop took place on 20 November 2018 on the overarching theme ‘inclusive development’. The Secretariat and platform members were able to disseminate overarching research findings in several (pan-)African conferences. In May 2016, INCLUDE teamed up with the African Development Bank to organize a widely appreciated panel discussion on ‘Jobs for women and young people – the transformative potential of agribusiness’ at the Bank’s Annual Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. In December 2017, INCLUDE joined the biannual conference of the African Economic Research Consortium in Arusha, where it held a roundtable on ‘Strategic actors for productive employment’. The synthesis report on strategic actors was presented at this roundtable and discussed with platform members and policy stakeholders. In addition, in June 2018, INCLUDE teamed up with the Economic Policy Research Centre to organize the conference ‘Social protection for inclusive growth in Africa’, at which it disseminated findings from the seven research projects on social protection within the RIDSSA programme.

Such continual face-to-face interactions have resulted in a committed and solid community of research and practice on inclusive development, in which INCLUDE intends to continue to facilitate.

Taking stock of the results

The 17 research projects have yielded insights relevant to inclusive development programmes and interventions, both at national and local levels. In addition, general and overarching conclusions can also be drawn from the projects. These were brought together by the INCLUDE Secretariat and linked to the broader state-of-the-art literature in four synthesis reports: on productive employment, social protection, strategic actors and an overall synthesis report on inclusive development (forthcoming). These reports speak directly to the key objective outlined in the BHOS policy note of the MFA ‘Investing in global prospects: for the world, for the Netherlands’, which aims to provide economic opportunities for youth in Africa. This section outlines the key messages and learnings highlighted in these reports.

On productive employment

In the context of high un- and underemployment, especially for youth, the number one priority for many African governments is the creation of employment. The projects on productive employment focus on different sectors, such as agriculture, (IT) services, and infrastructure. The synthesis report on productive employment concludes that the highest potential for massive job creation comes from raising agricultural productivity. The RIDSSA project ‘Productive Employment Opportunities in Segmented Markets’ shows that when farmers are connected to international markets though contracting their income increases, thereby creating economic multiplier effects. Next to agriculture, the (informal) services sector, particularly IT services, also has potential to enhance employment, as demonstrated by the research project on the ‘IT-sector in Kenya’. This study found that incubators can support IT enterprises to create employment by creating social space for peer-to-peer support, social capital and a community of practice. The project ‘Feeder Road Development’ in Ethiopia illustrates that infrastructure has important direct and indirect employment effects, through job provision in the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects and especially by enhancing productivity in other sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, the services sector and extractive industries.

Next to creating massive employment opportunities in high potential sectors, interventions should also aim at enhancing access to jobs and job opportunities, especially for women and youth. Interventions aimed at offering multiple services, including education and (hard and soft) skills training, long-term mentoring, enhancing asset ownership (for example land) and social networks, are most effective. Moreover, an important conclusion from the research projects is that policymakers should always keep in mind the relevance of their interventions for, and the aspirations of, end users. The project ‘Empowering Female Ugandan Entrepreneurs’ found that, in contrast to Western understandings of entrepreneurial priorities, many female entrepreneurs in rural Uganda are not primarily concerned with growing their business, but with paying tuition fees and supporting their family. Assistance and services provided to them should, therefore, take this into account and may differ from those provided to entrepreneurs who primarily aspire business development.

On social protection

The research projects on social protection all conclude that social protection is not only a powerful tool to alleviate poverty and prevent people from falling into poverty, but also an important policy instrument to address economic, social and political exclusion and vulnerability. It can be a key ingredient for improving the ‘future prospects’ of the poor, which has been set as a key objective by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Yet, as the RIDSSA projects point out, for social protection interventions to provide such prospects, they should be aimed at building sustainable systems that ensure continued impact after a programme has ended. As found in the projects ‘Social and Health Policies for Inclusive Growth’ and ‘Social Protection in Uganda’, cash transfers in particular can generate significant multiplier effects, caused by spill-over effects in the local economy, mostly through increased production and consumption, but also through enhanced food security, (child) health, land tenure and overall human capital. As such, these projects call for a move away from perceiving social protection as a safety net, to perceiving it as an empowerment strategy.

On strategic actors

Inclusive development is not only about macro- and micro-economic policies and outcomes, it is also about ensuring that such policies are not hindered by institutional barriers or political and economic elites. For example, the projects ‘Inclusive Business Strategies in Africa’ and ‘Dutch Multinational Businesses in Africa’, show that private sector investment has the potential to contribute to inclusive development, but that this potential stands or falls on an enabling political environment. Hence, power analyses should be central to inclusive development research and interventions. This also requires the identification of who the strategic actors are, and ensuring alliances between them and the most marginalized. For example, in the project ‘Barriers to Batwa Inclusion in Rwanda’, the local authorities appeared to be a crucial partner in achieving inclusive outcomes. At the same time, there is a high level of mistrust towards the local authorities on the part of the Batwa, who, as a group, are not able to communicate their needs directly, leading to feelings of exclusion, frustration and hopelessness.

The projects on strategic actors illustrate the importance of grassroots involvement in development processes, and the need to build coalitions and for collective action. In fact, the projects show that change can sometimes be driven by actors with no formal decision-making power, as long as they work together and form the right alliances. For example, the project on ‘Informal Workers’ Political Leverage’ shows that informal trade unions and informal workers’ organizations can be strategic actors for improving the position of informal workers, if they function as hubs that stimulate collective action and the provision of services (practical and structural). Moreover, the projects provide recommendations as how to build successful alliances, for example, how to overcome issues of mistrust. The ‘Agricultural Partnerships’ research project found that companies in Ghana are willing to participate in agricultural partnerships when there are clear cost-sharing, risk-sharing and contract-based arrangements. It is, therefore, crucial that the benefits of joining such partnerships are made visible to the actors involved.

On inclusive development

The synthesis report on inclusive development, which brings together the findings from the various projects on the three RIDSSA themes, concludes that interventions to reduce poverty do not automatically reduce inequality. To attain more inclusive development, the distributional consequences of programmes and interventions should also be considered. Such an ‘inclusivity lens’ requires knowledge of who benefits from policies and interventions and who does not (or is even harmed by them). The RIDSSA projects give multiple examples of policies that, despite leading to absolute improvements in income and wellbeing, have resulted in an unequal distribution of the benefits, thereby enhancing inequality rather than decreasing it. For example, the project ‘Economic Empowerment and Sex Work’ shows that homosexual sex workers are even more marginalized within the larger group of sex workers and, without this understanding, interventions are likely to leave them further behind. In addition, the project ‘Feeder Road Development’ found that the positive effects of infrastructure development in Ethiopia are not equally distributed, as people who are already better-off tend to benefit more.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and interventions are most effective when they are tailor-made and aimed at improvements in various policy dimensions. For example, the project on feeder roads in Ethiopia recommends that access to the benefits of road improvement can be increased and more equal when such infrastructure projects simultaneously invest in affordable and reliable rural transport to accommodate the diverse needs of men, women, the elderly, disabled and youth. Another example is provided by the project ‘Social Protection through Maternal Health Programme’, which found that despite the provision of free maternal services in rural Kenya, (poor) women still faced numerous hidden constraints, thereby enhancing inequality. Hence, such services are more effective in reducing inequality when complemented by context-specific policy measures, for example, related to education, training and technical assistance. Importantly, programmes that do not reflect the needs and desires of participants can cause more harm than good. This is illustrated by the project on ‘Social Protection in the Afar Region’. This project found that Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme failed to reach the most marginalized (notably pastoralist and agro-pastoralist youth and women), as they were not included sufficiently in the process. Consulting local actors – including the potential beneficiaries themselves – on how services can best be delivered is key in improving the effectiveness of development interventions.

What’s next?

Since its inception, the RIDSSA programme has yielded positive impact through the close collaboration of researchers, policymakers, and local communities, both in the countries of research and the Netherlands. Although the programme has officially come to an end, INCLUDE will continue to build on and promote the RIDSSA findings and disseminate these in policy discussions in the Netherlands, African countries and beyond. Findings have already been presented during the ‘OECD youth inclusion expert meetings’ in Paris in 2017 and 2018, the ‘Africa talks jobs dialogue’ of the African Union in Addis Ababa in 2017, the OECD GOVNET meeting in 2018, the ESID workshop on ‘Relational approaches to social justice’ in Manchester in 2018, and the annual ambassadors conference of the MFA in The Hague in 2019. Moreover, the established body of knowledge will contribute to the new knowledge agenda currently being formulated within the INCLUDE platform.


As a final word, the INCLUDE Steering Group and Secretariat would like to thank the RIDSSA researchers and NWO-WOTRO for their commitment and welcome them to remain part of the INCLUDE community.


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Should grassroots organizations be left alone?

5. März 2019 - 10:52

As part of our research project ‘Civil Society against Corruption in Ukraine: Political Roles, Advocacy Strategies, and Impact’ we have conducted over 200 interviews with representatives of anti-corruption organizations in 42 cities and towns across Ukraine. These organizations are highly diverse. Some are professionally organized NGOs propped up by foreign grants, while others represent spontaneous grassroots initiatives. Many have a liberal political outlook, but some are driven by nationalist ideology. And while most organizations engage in ‘traditional’ NGO activities, such as awareness-raising and advocacy, others employ coercive methods including violence.

Although our interlocutors said that they have difficulty creating impact, most can point to a few concrete examples of the impact of their work. In addition, a relatively small number of organizations are clearly successful in fighting corruption. We were surprised to find that these organizations are roughly equally divided between two very different types. The first type of successful anti-corruption organizations receive substantial funding (often including institutional grants) from foreign donors, carry out conventional NGO activities, and have a small team of professional staff. In contrast, the second type do not receive foreign funding and do not have people on the payroll, instead relying on an authentic support base of people with a common interest.

For instance, an organization from Mariupol consisting of workers from one of the city’s major enterprises has been effective in uncovering and raising awareness about corruption at the enterprise. An organization from Ternopil, which was established by local fishermen and focuses on poaching and other illegal uses of water bodies, has won a number of court cases on these issues. And, in Dnipro, a grassroots organization that focuses on corruption related to road safety has received much praise for its awareness-raising efforts and has been successful in holding corrupt actors to account.

The effectiveness of these organizations, however, is constrained by a lack of capacity, in terms of both financial and human resources. Without the type of funding that foreign grants provide, they have few resources to employ people, hire consultants, pay legal fees or print newspapers. The grassroots nature of some anti-corruption organizations is, therefore, both a strength and an obstacle. While it enhances their ability to create impact, the lack of material capacity that is typical for these organizations hinders their effectiveness.

Endowing these organizations with foreign grants seems an obvious solution to their lack of capacity. However, one of the dilemmas of international assistance to civil society organizations is that it can undermine the grassroots nature of local initiatives. Empirical evidence suggests that foreign funding often induces the emergence of a class of professional, grant-seeking NGOs that are disconnected from the public. While international aid to civil society organizations typically aspires to support the development of grassroots organizations, the professional grant-seeking NGOs that actually emerge may crowd out existing grassroots initiatives.

This dilemma, which has been extensively described in the literature, becomes apparent when studying the effectiveness of anti-corruption organizations in Ukraine. Should international donors support grassroots organizations with weak capacity, or is it wiser to leave them alone as though they were uncontacted tribes? As we suggest in one of our policy briefs, one potentially productive avenue of assistance to explore for is the transfer of knowledge and skills from high-capacity anti-corruption organizations to low-capacity grassroots organizations. There are a small number of anti-corruption organizations, all based in Kyiv, that receive substantial foreign funding and possess the capacity to effectively carry out anti-corruption activism. We believe that locally-rooted anti-corruption organizations with limited capacity from across Ukraine would benefit greatly from interacting with these high-capacity organizations from Kyiv. Researchers in our project have, informally, put some of our interlocutors in touch with representatives from these organizations. International donors should consider facilitating such linkages on a larger scale.



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Platform member Rolph van der Hoeven elected to UN Economic and Social Council

28. Februar 2019 - 14:42

INCLUDE platform member Rolph van der Hoeven has been elected to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC’s) Committee for Development Policy. Rolph is em. professor of Employment and Development Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University (EUR) and member of the Netherlands Advisory Council on International affairs. He has been engaged with INCLUDE knowledge platform from the start.

ECOSOC is one of the six main organs at the centre of the UN system. It provides overall guidance and coordination for UN entities in three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. As such, it is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking on sustainable development towards achieving internationally-agreed goals. It is also responsible for following up on major UN conferences and summits. Rolph van der Hoeven was nominated for the position by the UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres. He replaces Teresa Rivera from Spain and will hold the position from 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2021. The INCLUDE Secretariat, on behalf of all platform members,  would like to congratulate Rolph on his election to the committee.


Photo credits: Roos Trommelen for the INCLUDE November 2018 conference

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Knowledge and research – theory and practice for Dialogue and Dissent

21. Februar 2019 - 14:22

Keynote speech delivered by Désiré Assogbavi at the Oxfam Novib seminar ‘Knowledge and Research: Theory and Practice for Dialogue and Dissent’ on January 9th, 2019.

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Looking back at the first year: ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’

19. Februar 2019 - 12:13

INCLUDE has completed its first year of the NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development research programme: ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’. Commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), this programme aims to strengthen the evidence base for the assumptions in the Theory of Change underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent. The MFA, together with its partners, intends to use the knowledge generated as input for the ongoing learning agenda of the current Dialogue & Dissent policy framework (2016–2020) and development of the next policy framework from 2019 onwards.

The first year of the project, which began in December 2017, has certainly been exciting. The six research groups, which were granted funding by NWO-WOTRO, started research around three core themes: CSOs and civic engagement, CSOs and the aid chain, and CSOs in an enabling environment. Over the year, two research groups were added on CSOs in an enabling environment, leading to an extension of the project until December 2019. INCLUDE organized workshops, policy dialogues and a meeting with the researchers. Reports of these events can be found on the website, including the three workshops in December 2017 (inception), May 2018 (literature review) and January 2019 (interim empirical findings), and the follow-up meeting for the first workshop that was held in February 2018. In December 2018, a seminar was organized on the ‘Chaos of urgencies’ for CBOs at the MFA. The knowledge generated has started to contribute to the evidence-base for the policy framework Dialogue & Dissent and been made available to policymakers and CSOs in the Netherlands and low and lower-middle income countries (LLMICs).

On the INCLUDE website, a page has been created for the Assumptions Programme, which includes subpages for each of the research projects (clustered around the three research themes). Knowledge products can be found for each individual research, such as factsheets, video pitches, a summary of the literature review, interim research findings and policy recommendations. Furthermore, blogs on the empirical work of the research groups are being uploaded throughout the continuation of the programme. Finally, there is a knowledge base that features policy-relevant resources for the Assumptions Programme and its policy highlights drafted by INCLUDE.

The project has been extended until 31 December 2019. It will close with a final workshop that will take place in October 2019 and the publication of a final research policy paper.

For updates, visit the Assumptions Programme on the INCLUDE website.

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The latest evidence on gender and development

18. Februar 2019 - 11:08

This is a repost by INCLUDE of a World Bank original post by David Evans. Please find the original publication through this link.


A new collection of papers – Towards Gender Equity in Development – sets out to “explore key sources of female empowerment and discuss the current challenges and opportunities for the future” in three categories: marriage, outside options, and laws and cultural norms. The final published book is available for free, and the individual chapters are available as working papers.

In the introduction, Anderson, Beaman, and Platteau discuss the current landscape of gender discrimination in low- and middle-income countries. In a set of tables that I’ve transformed into a single, completely unwieldy figure. We see discrimination in social norms, legal rights, and marriage indicators. (In all of these indicators, 100% is the worst; 0% is the best.) What stands out is that while no single region dominates the discrimination landscape, every region has significant room to improve.  West Africa has high rates of female genital mutilation, South Asia has high rates of son bias, Central Africa has high rates of polygyny, West Asia has high mobility restrictions on women, and the Caribbean has few to no laws against harassment.

Here’s a quick rundown of the other articles in the collection:


  • “Anywhere between 18.5 per cent and 21.5 per cent of ever-married Senegalese women have experienced widowhood, while somewhere between 13.2 per cent and 17.3 per cent have experienced a divorce.” Poor women are more likely to become widows; urban, more educated women are more likely to divorce. “Poorer women among both the widowed and divorced are more likely to remarry often joining a polygamous union, and for widows, a levirate one… Our analysis suggests that divorce is a means for some women to escape family authority and gain a relatively comfortable autonomy; while widowhood is correlated with more negative consequences in terms of welfare.” (Lambert, van de Walle, & Villarworking paper; Senegal)
  • “Uncertainty about spouses’ HIV status contributes to marital dissolutions. Innovations, such as HIV couples’ testing and counselling—and, in the future, possibly rapid self-testing—that reduce this uncertainty can thus have profound impacts on marital behaviours and stability.” Specifically, in Malawi, “two years after the HIV testing, we find a 3.8 to 4.8 percentage point reduction (from a base of 7.7 per cent among couples offered individual testing) in the likelihood of divorce or separation among couples who learned their HIV-negative results together.” (Thornton & Kohlerworking paper; Malawi)
  • Everything you ever wanted to know on the theory and empirical evidence about bargaining within the household. “The empirical literature on intra-household decision making documents a large number of clear departures from first-best efficiency in household decisions in developing countries” (#AcademicUnderstatement). The authors also lay out areas that have yet to be modeled: “Our survey also indicates a number of interesting issues that require a nonco-operative approach and have been overlooked by the literature so far.” (They’re all in the last paragraph of the paper!) (Baland & Ziparoworking paper; cross-country)
  • How does internal displacement affect women’s attitudes about domestic violence? “Forced migrant women endure violence for longer and of greater intensity before deciding to seek assistance.” Specifically, “Kurdish women who migrated from their homes during the conflict are more likely to believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife,” and “women who were forced to migrate are 16 percentage points more inclined to believe domestic violence is acceptable.” (Gulesciworking paper; Turkey)
  • Based on a sample of 300+ couples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is “no evidence that a larger bride price payment is associated with earlier marriage or with higher fertility.” In fact, “larger bride price payments are actually associated with better-quality marriages as measured by beliefs about the acceptability of domestic violence, the frequency of engaging in positive activities as a couple, and the self-reported happiness of the wife.” (Lowes & Nunnworking paper; Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Outside options

  • What works to reduce early pregnancy? A review of 30 papers suggests that “the more recent trend focusing on the expansion of economic opportunities shows a lot of promise… documenting sustained improvements in behaviour and reductions in early pregnancies.” Then the authors present new evidence from health and entrepreneurship training in Tanzania: Both trainings has some impact, but the entrepreneurship training noses ahead. They analyze 3,000+ essays written by adolescent girls in the process, which gives us a chance to hear directly from some of these young women. (Berge et al.working paper; Tanzania)
  • “In Africa, female participation in entrepreneurial activities is higher than in any other region, with women representing about half of non-farm business ownership.” BUT in Uganda, “only 6 per cent of women operate in male-dominated sectors (i.e., where over 75 per cent of enterprises are male-owned).” What will help women to join these more lucrative sectors? A combination of information, mentorship, and early exposure. (Campos et al.working paper; Uganda)
  • “Microfinance institutions are commonly identified as empowering women and making them key actors in generating social change and economic development.” But what about the women who work for them? “There is close to gender parity at the entry level but gender gaps favouring men emerge at the higher ranks, and this is particularly true in the administrative career path.” Also, “female loan officers more likely to be working with clients who have had previous loans, and better terms.” (Ganguli, Hausmann, & Viarengoworking paper; unnamed country in Latin America)
  • Playing public goods games in Liberia, “women contributed substantially more to a small-scale development project when playing with other women than in mixed-gender groups, where they contributed at about the same levels as men.” Why? “Women placed great intrinsic value on contributing to the production of public goods when they knew that they were working collectively with other women.” (This contrasts with an experiment in Kenya, where women contributed less in mixed groups because they had pessimistic views how players in those games would behalf.) What does it mean? “Our main result thus supports the logic of practitioners who seek to engage communities through women-only groups.” (Fearon & Humphreysworking paper; Liberia)
  • A “social mobilization effort” in rural Pakistan “focused on encouraging self-help and collective action within the community as well as better linkages with government.” It included a “strong focus on increasing the participation of women in the village-level decision-making bodies.” Women emphasized health care as a priority, and the result was no higher utilization of primary health care facilities but yes reduced wait times, more post-natal care. It was also more likely that a woman had been visited by a health worker, and the quality of those visits rose. (Giné, Khalid, & Mansuriworking paper; Pakistan)

Laws and cultural norms

  • How are women affected when the state reverses progress on women’s rights? In the late 1990s, El Salvador made abortion a crime in all instances and began to prosecute it heavily. Piecing together a range of evidence and telling four women’s stories in detail, Viterna and co-authors demonstrate the impact of the abortion ban and show how its “effects were exacerbated by failures of the state in other areas of women’s lives,” such as a failure to guarantee women due process, education, and health care, and to protect them from abject poverty, child labor, abusive labor conditions, and violence. “By including ‘rights reversals’ in their analyses, scholars of gender and development can begin to investigate whether gender progress in some areas of governance can coexist with, or even contribute to, rights reversals in others.” (Viterna et al.working paper; El Salvador)
  • How do “legal systems with Islamic elements treat women”? “In a large number of Muslim-majority countries, legal practices have been consistent with a broadly progressive agenda.” But not everywhere! “These aspirations are not universally shared, however, in particular in the Gulf states.” (Bowenworking paper; Tunisia, Indonesia, and Iran)
  • “The introduction of the One Child Policy” in China “dramatically increased sex selection in certain regions,” and “the Chinese government responded to this by allowing parents who had a daughter as their first child to try for a second child… The increase in family size caused by this relaxation in the One Child Policy increased school enrolment of first-born daughters.” In other words, in this context, “first-born children benefit from having a younger sibling.” (Qianworking paper; China)
  • When is social engineering most likely to be effective in “suppressing gender-biased customs?” If you can’t get into this paper’s microeconomic theory, jump to the conclusion, which lays out what is most likely to work and when. “When women’s empowerment is slow to materialize, the struggle to achieve gender parity must be supported by reforms and institutional interventions directly addressing the problem.” (Platteau, Camilotti, & Auriolworking paper; theoretical)
  • “When we group households using conventional, government-defined categories of caste… lower-caste women are more likely to participate in the labour market, have greater decision making autonomy within their households and have greater freedom of movement.” BUT “aside from the government’s categories, caste is lived, experienced, and practised in everyday life as jāti” – “groups whose identities are manifested in a variety of ways: occupational status, property ownership, diets, gender norms, social practices, religious practices emphasizing purity and pollution, and systems of self-governance.” People often call them “sub-castes,” but they don’t always line up within government-defined castes. And it turns out that “the overall relationship between caste and female employment is driven by specific jatis.” So seeking to improve women’s status through caste-focused interventions may not work as expected. (Joshi, Kochhar, & Raoworking paper; India)
  • Most of the research on “missing women” has focused on Asia. But what about Africa? “Overall, there are more than 1.7 million excess female deaths each year in Africa. Expressed as a fraction of the female population, the African numbers are significantly higher than their Chinese or Indian counterparts. Roughly 425,000 of these excess female deaths in Africa are in the younger age category (zero to 14 years old), while the remaining 1.3 million are in the older age category (15 to 59 years old)… In both age groupings, the largest numbers are in West Africa.” (Anderson & Rayworking paper; across Africa)



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What works in soft skills development and work-based learning to boost decent employment for Africa’s youth

8. Februar 2019 - 10:58

(Nairobi) The world of work is undergoing major structural changes. Work-based learning, soft skills, and skills for jobs in the digital economy are critical to support the transition of young women and men in Africa in the world of work and to align education and training policies and systems with the current and future demands of the labour market. “We must remember, though, that youth are not a homogeneous group”, stressed Marleen Dekker, Coordinator of the INCLUDE Knowledge Platform. Mentoring can help youth to hone their skills, but much remains unknown about how and under which conditions mentoring can successfully facilitate the transition from school to decent work.

Building the capacity of researchers and co-designing research projects to generate rigorous evidence and inform decision making on what works, and why, in youth employment were at the centre of the workshop by the research initiative on ‘Boosting decent employment for Africa’s youth’, which was held on 31 January and 1 February 2019 and hosted by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi. This initiative is a joint effort of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and INCLUDE. It is embedded in the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth and brings together the expertise, convening power and resources of its partners. “The main goal of the research initiative is to support action-oriented research that will help design effective and innovative interventions that foster economic opportunities for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa”, explained Martha Melesse, IDRC’s program leader.

During the workshop, 11 shortlisted research teams presented their proposals to generate evidence on effective approaches to foster work-based learning programmes and mentorship, and soft skills and digital jobs for youth in 11 African countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. In addition to the constructive feedback provided on the proposals by more than 75 researchers and representatives of youth organizations, donor institutions, private sector and government representatives, the research teams benefited from capacity building sessions on how to incorporate gender analysis and how to improve research uptake.

Tackling gender constraints is a crucial aspect to be considered across themes by all the research groups. The capacity building session on gender provided concrete examples of available methodological approaches and tools (including IDRC gender categorization) for conducting robust gender analysis as well as practical suggestions. For instance, one practical suggestion is to consider gendered time-use patterns when planning a training. Overall a key lesson emerging from the presentations was the importance of integrating gender analysis in every step of the research process.

This research initiative focuses on applied research, which aims at, among other things, informing programmes, practices and policies that boost decent employment for Africa’s youth. How to successfully engage with policymakers and inform policies was the focus of the research uptake session. The session highlighted the need for project teams to design research uptake strategies from the outset and to adjust them as needed, taking into account changing realities regarding target audiences and political environments. The presentations emphasised that to achieve policy traction, projects have to be designed with policy questions in mind. “Supporting decision makers across Africa with rigorous evidence on what works, and why, is critical to advance the goal of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, that is to scale up action and impact on youth employment while accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals”, emphasized Susana Puerto, ILO Senior Youth Employment Specialist.

The full report from this workshops will be available on the INCLUDE website soon.

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Kategorien: english

Interim findings: Civil society against corruption in Ukraine

6. Februar 2019 - 16:29

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘Civil society against corruption in Ukraine‘ on political rules, advocacy strategies and impact within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

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Interim findings: Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya

6. Februar 2019 - 16:26

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya‘ on catalysing development: towards enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

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Interim findings: CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya

6. Februar 2019 - 16:20

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya on ‘towards inclusive partnerships: the political role of community based organizations and the official development aid system’ within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

The post Interim findings: CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Interim findings: Civil society engagement with land rights advocacy in Kenya

6. Februar 2019 - 16:11

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘Civil society engagement with land rights advocacy in Kenya: what roles to play?’, exploring the various roles CSOs undertake when advocating for fair and inclusive land deals in Kenya within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

The post Interim findings: Civil society engagement with land rights advocacy in Kenya appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english