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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:

Marriage

  • “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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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.

The post Interim findings: Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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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.

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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.

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Interim findings: Civil society advocacy collaborations in India

6. Februar 2019 - 16:06

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘Civil society advocacy collaborations in India‘, aiming for CSO collaborations and their contributions to their capacities and legitimacy to advance inclusive sustainable development and equality in the Indian context within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

The post Interim findings: Civil society advocacy collaborations in India appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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Interim findings: CSOs in sustainable development in Ethiopia

6. Februar 2019 - 15:25

This download presents interim findings of the research group ‘CSO’s in sustainable development in Ethiopia’, aiming to broaden the role of CSOs in sustainable development in Ethiopia within the ‘New roles of CSOs for Inclusive Development‘ research programme.

The post Interim findings: CSOs in sustainable development in Ethiopia appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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Policy Publication: Boosting Productive Employment in Africa

6. Februar 2019 - 11:24

This policy publication highlights the key policy messages of the synthesis report ‘Productive Employment‘.

The post Policy Publication: Boosting Productive Employment in Africa appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Autonomy and ownership in Indian CSOs

24. Januar 2019 - 17:22

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. Currently, all the research groups are conducting the empirical part of their research. The ‘Assumptions blog’ provides insight into the fieldwork of the research groups – the researchers share their on-the-ground experiences through this blog. This time, Dr. B. Rajeshwari (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi) and Dr. Margit van Wessel (Wageningen University & Research), part of the research group ‘Civil society advocacy collaborations in India’ share some things they have learnt.

Autonomy and ownership in Indian CSOs

One of the key assumptions of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Dialogue & Dissent ‘Theory of Change’ is that civil society organizations (CSOs) require autonomy and ownership to perform their representative roles. Although it is widely acknowledged that autonomy and ownership are relative rather than absolute, little is known about the ways in which they manifest in CSOs.

In our study, we seek to go the impact of funding dependencies, widely known to restrict the autonomy of funding recipients. We seek to unpack autonomy and ownership by studying the dynamics around these as they come up for CSOs in India. Our research looks at collaboration between a women’s rights CSO in Delhi and its seven partner CSOs in the Indian state of Jharkhand. The CSO in question focuses on the empowerment of elected women representatives in Panchayats (local government bodies). Through collaboration with the national-level CSO, the local partners provide training for these women, enabling them to speak out and fulfil their role as elected representatives. The training programme seeks to address the problem that women in India are often placed in official representative roles due to a quota, with male family members making decisions behind the scenes. Thus, it addresses structural gender inequalities in Indian society.

Our research question is: How does the collaboration between the CSO in Delhi and its partners at the local level impact on the ownership and autonomy of the local partners?

While we are still in the middle of our fieldwork, what we have learnt so far is illustrative of how autonomy and ownership are relative, rather than absolute. Our research has also shown that autonomy and ownership are complex and dynamic. Three examples illustrate this.

First, the work of the seven local partner CSOs is shaped by the local context in important ways, limiting their ownership of the programme that they are carrying out. These CSOs are from diverse parts of Jharkhand, including the state capital, an area with a significant tribal population, and one of the most underdeveloped parts of the state. The partners have to navigate the different cultural and social constraints that emerge in the different areas where they operate. This raises significant challenges and they have to constantly revisit and strategize their interactions. For example, since building and maintaining rapport is essential, they have to communicate with the elected women representatives continuously, and involve their families, seeking approval for their participation in the programme.

Second, we found that the distinctions between state, CSO and the women involved are fluid. The programme contributes to the autonomy of individuals as much as that of organizations, and seems to do so for the elected female representatives and the CSOs partly in similar ways. The programme enables the women to make important choices, enhancing their ability to voice their opinion and negotiate their position within their families and communities. This results in them being more autonomous and provides them with a sense of freedom. Autonomy here is to be viewed in relative terms, to be understood contextually. In some Jharkhand contexts, where women’s mobility, their choice of clothing and food, and their ability to speak are all restricted, the partnership has provided them a chance to move out of their restricted spaces. The programme has also allowed some of the partner CSOs and their staff in Jharkhand to grow, as they are increasingly equipped to challenge the patriarchal social order within their villages and districts in small, but significant, ways. For example, some of the women who have participated in the programme say that they now feel able to voice their opinion in key decisions in the family related to, for example, the education of daughters or the number of children to be had.

Third, we have found that organizational autonomy is multidimensional for the CSOs involved in the programme, and autonomy emerges as an issue in some ways rather than others. Local CSO partners enjoy the freedom and space that is allowed to them in deciding how the programme should be shaped and unfold in their area.  However, the budget is in the hands of the national-level CSO, and transparency in relation to the budget is limited. The complexities of such a partnership suggests that the autonomy and freedom of partner CSOs to make decisions are restricted. At the same time, while one might assume that partner organizations who are receivers of funding would want to enjoy as much autonomy as possible, this study suggests that the partners in Jharkhand are happy to let the national-level CSO make certain decisions for them. More significantly, most of them are well aware of their limitations with regard to lack of professional staff (including accountants or people with expertise in writing reports) and, thus, acknowledge the important space that the national-level CSO occupies within the partnership.

All in all, this research points to the need to reconsider ideals about CSOs as autonomous entities having or seeking ownership of their work in absolute terms. As it progresses, we expect that this research will help develop a way of approaching autonomy and ownership that does more justice to realities on the ground.

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Research group facts – Gilbert

22. Januar 2019 - 10:52

INCLUDE Research Group Facts of the project ‘Impact of non-state actors on civic space in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine’ led by Mr C Gilbert (CIVICUS). You can download the fact sheet on this page.

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Research group facts – Fransen

22. Januar 2019 - 10:43

INCLUDE Research Group Facts of the project ‘ Dilemmas in sustainable development and civil society in Bangladesh and Zambia’ led by Dr Luc Fransen. You can download the fact sheet on this page.

The post Research group facts – Fransen appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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Towards inclusive partnerships

17. Januar 2019 - 11:38

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. Currently, all the research groups are conducting the empirical part of their research. The ‘Assumptions blog’ provides insight into the fieldwork of the research groups – the researchers share their on-the-ground experiences through this blog. This time, Lise Woensdregt from VU Amsterdam, part of the research group ‘CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya, shares her experience from Nairobi, Kenya.

 

This research explores how the contemporary international development system influences the (political) work of community-based organizations (CBOs) in Nairobi, Kenya. Our fieldwork is centred on two CBOS, the first of which works with youth seeking to escape a life of crime and the other with male sex workers.

On a Friday afternoon, I meet Stella in a restaurant close to one of the CBOs we are studying. The restaurant is close to a mosque and famous for its pilau, a Swahili spiced rice dish. Although the place is popular throughout the week, it is especially busy after Friday prayers. Therefore, when I enter the small restaurant, I see many men and boys in traditional Islamic dress, talking and eating together. I find Stella in the back, sipping on a Mirinda apple. I squeeze in next to her on one of the cushioned benches and we preceded to order some food.

Stella is one of the community researchers in our research project, which uses community-led research (CLR) as one of the methodologies. Within CLR, the ‘insider perspective’ of community members is considered crucial. Community researchers become aware of what they already know (their lived experiences and that of their peers) and use this as the basis for further knowledge creation. In practice, this means that a total of 20 community researchers conduct ethnographic fieldwork in their own community, take notes and write their weekly research journals. This process of data collection is followed by analysis and coding, after which all of them individually choose a specific topic to write about further. The individual chapters will be combined and presented as a popular book in June 2019.

Stella is a community researcher at the CBO focusing on male sex workers in Nairobi. She is a transwoman and has been involved with the CBO for many years. Her group explores the narratives of sex workers and how the CBO features in their daily lives. Stella asked me to meet with her today to work on a chapter addressing mental health among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender sex workers. In their talks with community members, the community researchers became aware of how homophobia, stigma and discrimination create social distress, feelings of depression and lack of self-esteem. The researchers came to realize that mental health is often an underlying cause of excessive alcohol and drug use. One of them said: “They are drinking so that they can forget what they are going through”.  Sex work in itself is not necessarily traumatizing, however, our findings show that feelings of rejection by family and society, insecurity about the future, as well as daily experiences of violence take their toll on sex workers. Despite this, the researchers agreed that there is very little support for addressing mental health issues among sex workers, as most of the funding goes towards HIV. They also realized that the few programmes that have touched on alcohol and drug use tend to focus on behaviour change, rather than the underlying causes for why sex workers drink.

Our research shows that the CBO is aware of the mental health needs of sex workers in the community. CBO employees express concerns about these issues and consider the current lack of mental health support for sex workers a gap in their programming. However, our research also highlights the difficulties this CBO experiences in obtaining funding that could be used to pursue these objectives. For example, one of their major funders, who primarily focuses on HIV, rejected its proposal to include monthly alcohol and substance abuse sessions in their programme, saying that it is not a priority.

Because Stella sees a need in her community, she is very motivated to write a chapter about mental health. As she said: “I want to write this because I want people to know about the mental health issues we face and the lack of support we currently get”. This example shows how CLR is an innovative way to address the needs that exist within a community. Through CLR, Stella and her fellow community researchers unearthed a root cause of many physical health problems among sex workers, i.e. mental health, which they feel if left unaddressed will render other initiatives focusing on STDs and HIV prevention futile. What’s more, CLR results in a rich, detailed type of data, which can contribute to the broader research project and which is difficult to retrieve otherwise.

 

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Different questions, similar answers? Finding common ground in new roles for CSOs

15. Januar 2019 - 15:27

Creating space for civil society organizations (CSOs) is mainly done in the first phase of partnership creation, where the actual rules of engagement are determined. International NGOs, donors and embassies can improve civic space for CSOs, especially when this space is limited domestically. Yet, the image of representing foreign interests and the practicalities involved can hinder CSOs in their engagement. A long-term, holistic approach to supporting CSOs in their own right, beyond just meeting donor priorities, is recommended for the new Dialogue & Dissent programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

These are some of the conclusions of the expert meeting ‘Research for Dialogue & Dissent 2.0’, hosted on 10 January 2019 in The Hague as part of the Assumption research programme ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’, commissioned by NWO-WOTRO. At this meeting, six research groups taking part in the programme presented their initial findings, which served as a starting point for discussions and, more specifically, for participants to scrutinize the assumptions underlying the Dialogue & Dissent framework (see Box 1). This discussion between researchers, CSOs and the MFA is expected to provide input for the new policy framework of the MFA succeeding the current Dialogue & Dissent.

After opening by moderator Adrie Papma and kick-off by To Tjoelker (head of the Civil Society department of the MFA), representatives of the six research projects presented their key messages, based on the empirical  phase of their research. Moreover, two new research projects were introduced: ‘Dilemmas in sustainable development and civil society in Bangladesh and Zambia’ and ‘Non-state actors and civic space in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine’. In the afternoon, researchers (as well as other participants) were invited to make an explicit link between their findings and the validity of the assumptions underlying D&D.

The terms and conditions of funding of CSOs was the subject of much debate. Several projects concluded that the funding priorities and rules of donor compliance impact on CSOs’ manoeuvring space in the political arena, as well as their capacity for day-to-day practices. For instance, although the importance of providing flexibility to CSOs is recognized in the framework, researchers report that a lot of capacity is still used for administrative work.

The importance of the involvement of international NGOs and Dutch embassies was acknowledged by all research projects. For instance, the project ‘Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya’ concluded that these organizations add value, for example, by providing funds that are otherwise not available to CSOs, brokering between stakeholders, enhancing the credibility of partners, co-creating advocacy strategies and strengthening capacity. However, CSOs may still opt not to cooperate with either of them. For instance, the project ‘CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya’ found that a CBO operating outside of the official development (ODA) system chose to do so for a combination of reasons, such as  the fact that the criteria imposed by the ODA system was too strict and disabled the CBO from responding to emergency situations and that cooperation with partner NGOs created a negative image of the CBO inside the community. Participants argued that it is important to view these decisions from CSOs (or CBOs) within the entire power dynamic inside the arena they operate in, including relations to national state and non-state actors.

Hence, although the research projects had different objectives and research questions, there was some common ground in their findings: they all recommended increasing the flexibility of aid provided to CSOs to a certain extent. For instance, the projects generally agreed that advocacy needs to be seen as not just a stand-alone activity of CSOs. In fact, advocacy is often integrated with practices such as service delivery, where the distinction between the two is hardly visible. Often, CSOs are able to practice advocacy because of their role in service delivery. As a consequence, participants argued that funding the two activities separately would be less successful than a holistic approach to supporting CSOs in their own right.

Although the conclusions drawn above were supported by almost all research projects, the type of support needed for the CSOs studied is context specific. Some may benefit from support in capacity strengthening, while others need strategic partnerships or conflict mediation. A representative of the MFA, therefore, posed the question if the Ministry should be ‘rigidly flexible’ in its support. While a clear answer was not provided, it was concluded that a thorough analysis of the local context should always precede the design of a programme.

Interim findings of the research projects will become available on the INCLUDE website soon.

Box 1: Assumptions underlying the Dialogue & Dissent framework

Theme ‘CSOs and civic engagement’

  1. CSOs play a crucial role in changing power relations.
  2. CSOs perform four types of political roles to change power relations: educational, communicative, representational, and cooperative.
  3. Different roles require different organizational forms (i.e. formal/informal), capacities and forms of legitimacy.
  4. When pressured, informed and/or persuaded by CSOs, states and companies change their policies and practices and societal groups change their norms, values and practices to be more sustainable, equitable and inclusive.
  5. Precondition: CSOs need to be locally rooted, strong, legitimate and autonomous to perform political roles.
Theme ‘CSOs and the aid chain’
  1. External aid by the Ministry and (mainly Northern) CSOs can strengthen CSO in low and lower middle income countries (LLMICs) in their political roles through capacity building and assistance in advocacy process.
  2. CSOs are actors in their own right and not merely instrumental channels for aid delivery.
  3. Promoting civil society’s political roles needs a long-term context-specific approach, which incorporates mutual learning, trust and local ownership.
  4. Precondition: the design of the aid chain does not interfere with the aspects mentioned in the previous point.
Theme ‘CSOs in an enabling environment’
  1. External aid by the Ministry and (mainly Northern) CSOs can strengthen CSOs in LLMICs in their political roles by offering protection in hostile environments and lobbying for improved political space.
  2. Precondition: CSOs need political space to perform political roles.

 

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INCLUDE continues: new phase, new team

15. Januar 2019 - 12:14

We are happy to announce that the INCLUDE knowledge platform will continue working towards making Africa more inclusive.

Six years after its initiation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has granted INCLUDE a new subsidy to support its efforts in policy making for inclusive development. We will carry on using our convening power to bring together researchers, policymakers, civil society representatives and practitioners from Africa and the Netherlands to exchange knowledge and ideas on how to achieve inclusive development in Africa.

In this new phase, we will continue the African Policy Dialogues, which support dialogues with African policymakers on research on inclusive development in the continent, as well as the ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’ programme (Assumptions Programme), which investigates the assumptions, problems and solutions underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent’. As such, the successful programmes initiated by INCLUDE and its members shall be extended and deepened. Furthermore, we will strengthen the engagement of the platform in (inclusive) development through some exciting new activities and collaborations:

  • Youth employment: This year we kick start our collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and International Labour Organization (ILO) on ‘Boosting Decent Employment for Africa’s Youth’. This initiative supports action-oriented research that informs the design of interventions for scaling up impact on youth employment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read more in this previous announcement.
  • Regular advisory meetings: INCLUDE will hold regular advisory meetings with the Dutch MFA on work and income for youth and women, education for girls and political inclusion.
  • Broadening of scope: INCLUDE will broaden its geographical scope in Africa beyond the seven focus countries.

In addition, INCLUDE will engage in more knowledge brokering and synthesizing relevant knowledge in accessible formats.

 

New Secretariat members

On an organizational note, we are pleased to welcome three new members to our INCLUDE Secretariat. Manon Heuvels and Agnieszka Kazimierczuk will join us from the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), and Wilson Wasike will join from the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi. Of course, The Broker will continue its contribution to the Secretariat.

We are excited about this promising start to INCLUDE’s new phase and the years to come with its new Secretariat team.

 

The post INCLUDE continues: new phase, new team appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Industrialising Africa one nut at a time

7. Januar 2019 - 9:40
High fives for industrialisation

The twentieth of November is Africa Industrialisation Day. Falling just between World Toilet Day and World Television Day you could be forgiven for not being aware. The theme this year is “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”.

Without dwelling on the value or not of such international days, the idea of promoting regional value chains is increasingly gaining traction in the African development rhetoric. Unfortunately, the challenges associated with such an approach are getting less attention, underlying a need to better understand within and between-country political economy dynamics.

The need for industrialisation to encourage economic transformation in Africa towards more and better jobs is no longer contestable. Even if one can talk of the promise of services and innovations in agriculture as the future of African growth, the policy discussion is nonetheless about ways of encouraging investment that raises the productivity of existing jobs, or offers new employment opportunities – it may not be smokestack industrialisation, but it is industrialisation nonetheless.

As such, industrialisation is one of the AfDB’s ‘high fives’ for developing the African continent; the African Union has its AIDA (Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa) strategy. Indeed, industrialisation was central to the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action guiding regional integration on the continent, that was explicit about an “urgent need to implement a plan for the collective industrialisation of Africa”.

While the Lagos Plan envisaged, among other activities, the preparation of regional plans for the creation of major industrial complexes, and the creation of regional institutions to support industrialisation, the 1991 Abuja Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community called for African states to harmonise their industrial policies and adopt a common policy on industry. The recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is arguably also an attempt to encourage continental value chains.

Regional agendas, national action

But the record of these different regional approaches has been somewhat mixed. A recent ECDPM paper on the political economy of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) industrialisation strategy highlights some of the main difficulties. Right from conception, targeting an increase in the value added in exports from a region seems like a logical step for a regional strategy, but opens the door to questions about winners and losers between countries, never mind within them.

The concern that South Africa stands to gain most from a regional industrialisation strategy is clear among other SADC member states. The selection of regional priority sectors such as pharmaceuticals also appears to make sense for regional cooperation – but national interests are often more about blocking competition from regional neighbours, which then undermines these regional objectives.

The importance of understanding national interests and approaches is made clear by another ECDPM paper looking at the specific case of cashew nuts in Côte d’Ivoire.

Cashews have been identified by the Côte d’Ivoire government as a priority sector, leading to a broad range of measures to stimulate production but also encourage processing – raising the value addition within the country as part of a wider economic transformation strategy. However, among the measures is a ban on exports of raw cashew nuts to its neighbours, as well as export taxes for raw cashew nuts that pass through the ports.

Though this raises revenues – collecting export taxes at port level is easier than collecting export taxes at porous inland borders – it favours extra-regional exports to cashew processing giants as India and Vietnam over exports to neighbouring West African countries such as Ghana. This goes against the regional value chain development logic of the ECOWAS industrial strategy, which favours processing within the region.

But the Ivorian government sees little difference between processing in India or Ghana, as long as processing is not taking place in Côte d’Ivoire. Indeed this holds true for other cashew producing West African countries such as Benin, which also ban exports of raw cashew nuts to neighbouring countries.

Beyond that, differences between countries in levels of subsidy to cashew production, minimum prices and bans between countries lead to cross-border smuggling, undermining the Ivorian objective if not that of the region (and arguably leading to informal regional value chains).

What lessons for industrialisation day?

The rationale for promoting regional value chains is not wrong, but the interests and incentives at play within and between countries need far better taken account of. Rather than taking export bans as an anomaly that ‘shouldn’t happen’, policies should build on the fact that there is inevitably regional competition to gain market share in specific goods.

What then might a regional body such as ECOWAS or SADC do to encourage intra-regional trade and processing in the region over that taking place elsewhere? Encouraging policy harmonisation to reduce smuggling incentives might be part of it if countries can agree. Another role might be to share information, technological advances, and provide a common platform for common challenges – thus operating at the precompetitive stage.

Ultimately, industrialisation and regional value chains depend on the economic actors that produce, trade, and take decisions. In a context of weak public administrations, policy implementation and rule enforcement can be undermined if private sector interests are not at least partially served. Though regional private sector groups sometimes struggle – SADC recently launched the latest in several attempts at such a regional group – regional platforms bringing together public and private actors around specific value chains may be the only way to really ensure a proper understanding of the interests, incentives, and implications of policies to promote industrialisation in Africa.

Africa Industrialisation Day may be more sexy than World Toilet Day, but it is not less complex an issue for all that.

 

This article is an adapted version of its original appearance as blog post for The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). You can find the original source via this link. We would like to thank the authors and ECDPM for being able to republish. 

The post Industrialising Africa one nut at a time appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Industrialising Africa one nut at a time

7. Januar 2019 - 9:40
High fives for industrialisation

Today is Africa Industrialisation Day. Falling just between World Toilet Day and World Television Day you could be forgiven for not being aware. The theme this year is “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”.

Without dwelling on the value or not of such international days, the idea of promoting regional value chains is increasingly gaining traction in the African development rhetoric. Unfortunately, the challenges associated with such an approach are getting less attention, underlying a need to better understand within and between-country political economy dynamics.

The need for industrialisation to encourage economic transformation in Africa towards more and better jobs is no longer contestable. Even if one can talk of the promise of services and innovations in agriculture as the future of African growth, the policy discussion is nonetheless about ways of encouraging investment that raises the productivity of existing jobs, or offers new employment opportunities – it may not be smokestack industrialisation, but it is industrialisation nonetheless.

As such, industrialisation is one of the AfDB’s ‘high fives’ for developing the African continent; the African Union has its AIDA (Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa) strategy. Indeed, industrialisation was central to the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action guiding regional integration on the continent, that was explicit about an “urgent need to implement a plan for the collective industrialisation of Africa”.

While the Lagos Plan envisaged, among other activities, the preparation of regional plans for the creation of major industrial complexes, and the creation of regional institutions to support industrialisation, the 1991 Abuja Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community called for African states to harmonise their industrial policies and adopt a common policy on industry. The recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is arguably also an attempt to encourage continental value chains.

Regional agendas, national action

But the record of these different regional approaches has been somewhat mixed. A recent ECDPM paper on the political economy of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) industrialisation strategy highlights some of the main difficulties. Right from conception, targeting an increase in the value added in exports from a region seems like a logical step for a regional strategy, but opens the door to questions about winners and losers between countries, never mind within them.

The concern that South Africa stands to gain most from a regional industrialisation strategy is clear among other SADC member states. The selection of regional priority sectors such as pharmaceuticals also appears to make sense for regional cooperation – but national interests are often more about blocking competition from regional neighbours, which then undermines these regional objectives.

The importance of understanding national interests and approaches is made clear by another ECDPM paper looking at the specific case of cashew nuts in Côte d’Ivoire.

Cashews have been identified by the Côte d’Ivoire government as a priority sector, leading to a broad range of measures to stimulate production but also encourage processing – raising the value addition within the country as part of a wider economic transformation strategy. However, among the measures is a ban on exports of raw cashew nuts to its neighbours, as well as export taxes for raw cashew nuts that pass through the ports.

Though this raises revenues – collecting export taxes at port level is easier than collecting export taxes at porous inland borders – it favours extra-regional exports to cashew processing giants as India and Vietnam over exports to neighbouring West African countries such as Ghana. This goes against the regional value chain development logic of the ECOWAS industrial strategy, which favours processing within the region.

But the Ivorian government sees little difference between processing in India or Ghana, as long as processing is not taking place in Côte d’Ivoire. Indeed this holds true for other cashew producing West African countries such as Benin, which also ban exports of raw cashew nuts to neighbouring countries.

Beyond that, differences between countries in levels of subsidy to cashew production, minimum prices and bans between countries lead to cross-border smuggling, undermining the Ivorian objective if not that of the region (and arguably leading to informal regional value chains).

What lessons for industrialisation day?

The rationale for promoting regional value chains is not wrong, but the interests and incentives at play within and between countries need far better taken account of. Rather than taking export bans as an anomaly that ‘shouldn’t happen’, policies should build on the fact that there is inevitably regional competition to gain market share in specific goods.

What then might a regional body such as ECOWAS or SADC do to encourage intra-regional trade and processing in the region over that taking place elsewhere? Encouraging policy harmonisation to reduce smuggling incentives might be part of it if countries can agree. Another role might be to share information, technological advances, and provide a common platform for common challenges – thus operating at the precompetitive stage.

Ultimately, industrialisation and regional value chains depend on the economic actors that produce, trade, and take decisions. In a context of weak public administrations, policy implementation and rule enforcement can be undermined if private sector interests are not at least partially served. Though regional private sector groups sometimes struggle – SADC recently launched the latest in several attempts at such a regional group – regional platforms bringing together public and private actors around specific value chains may be the only way to really ensure a proper understanding of the interests, incentives, and implications of policies to promote industrialisation in Africa.

Africa Industrialisation Day may be more sexy than World Toilet Day, but it is not less complex an issue for all that.

 

This article is an adapted version of its original appearance as blog post for The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). You can find the original source via this link. We would like to thank the authors and ECDPM for being able to republish. 

The post Industrialising Africa one nut at a time appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Can we leave no one behind in a world so unequal?

24. Dezember 2018 - 10:12

This blog post has been originally written for the ‘OECD Development Matters‘ blog by Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. This is an adapted version of the original post published here.

 

To say that the world’s poorest people are simply being left behind can sound like an unbearably polite understatement at times, designed not to offend the rich and the powerful.

I think of the girls I grew up with in Uganda who have worked hard all their life, paid their taxes and supported their communities, only to see themselves and their children remain poor, without essential services. I think of women in poverty like Dolores, who works in a chicken factory in the United States. She and her co-workers wear diapers because their employer denies them toilet breaks (Oxfam, 2016).

These women aren’t just left behind but trapped and exploited at the bottom of a global economy.


The 42 richest people now have the same wealth as the poorest 50% — 3.7 billion people. Last year, the top 1% reaped 82% of all new wealth (Oxfam, 2018). That bottom half — who helped create the wealth — received nothing. The majority of the world have not been left behind, they are being deliberately held back to enable a fabulously rich and unaccountable elite to march away into the distance.

Global wage growth has slowed; gender inequality, inextricably linked to economic inequality, stubbornly persists. Women dominate the least secure and least paid jobs. The unequal impact of climate change is trapping more people in poverty.

Yet, inequality and deprivation are not inevitable. They are the result of missed opportunities, and wrong-headed political choices that hardwired inequality into our economic model.

This is why Oxfam is focusing relentlessly on building a more human economy that realises and respects human rights. We know the tools proven to reduce inequality … from providing living wages, tackling harmful social norms to fighting with citizens for universal, high quality healthcare and education.

 

Governments have considerable policy space to reduce inequality. They can raise the wages of workers as they did in Brazil. They can tax the richest more, as they have done in South Korea. They can spend more on health and education to ensure every woman and man have opportunity. Applying these lessons, together with Development Finance International, we developed the Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index (Development Finance International and Oxfam, 2017), which measures action on social spending, taxes and workers’ rights in 157 countries.

Aid, used strategically, can help to build a more human economy. It can help end poverty and fight inequality in poor countries. It has the potential to deliver transformative finance from rich to poor nations, helping close the inequality gap between and within them. If aid needed a renewed calling, the crisis of economic inequality is it.

How? Predictable assistance can build effective states, support government budgets that pay teachers and nurses (OECD, 2015) (Oxfam, 2014) provide humanitarian assistance, and adopt a feminist aid approach to advance the twin goals of economic and gender equality.

This “inequality-busting aid” needs Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors to support the people on the frontlines, be they in NGOs, unions, women’s rights movements or journalism, pushing governments for fairer policies. DAC donors must also help protect their civil and political rights, which are under threat worldwide.

 

We know about how not to use aid too. For example, donors should never instrumentalise aid to stop people fleeing from their homes for safety. As former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein said, “People don’t lose their human rights by virtue of crossing a border without a visa.” Privatising health and education, based less on evidence of effectiveness than blind faith in markets, pushes people further behind. Talented girls in poverty consistently lose out when education comes with a fee.

In the long term, aid needs to write itself out of a job. Helping governments to mobilise domestic revenues to deliver essential services, and ensure taxes are raised progressively and spent accountably, is shrewd. Yet in 2016, DAC donors only invested 0.18% of official development assistance (ODA) in domestic revenue mobilisation (Oxfam, 2018). And on all of this, DAC donors can give more — ODA accounts for 0.31% of their gross national incomes, less than half of their 50-year-old pledge of 0.7%.

In years past, life-saving aid was pivotal in the child survival revolution, closing the school enrolment gender gap and promoting environmental sustainability. Donors must now use aid strategically to help build a more human economy and leave poverty and inequality behind by 2030.

 

References:

Oxfam (2016), No Relief: Denial of bathroom breaks in the poultry industry, Oxfam America, www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/No_Relief_Embargo.pdf

Oxfam (2018), Reward Work Not Wealth (Oxfam briefing paper), Oxfam, https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp-reward-work-not-wealth-220118-en.pdf

Development Finance International and Oxfam (2017), The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, Oxfam GB, Oxford,
https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/rr-commitment-reduce-inequality-index-170717-en.pdf

OECD (2015), Evaluating the impact of budget support, https://www.oecd.org/dac/evaluation/Evaluation-Insights-Evaluating-the-Impact-of-BS-note-FINAL.pdf

Oxfam (2014), Working for the Many, Oxfam briefing paper, Oxfam GB, Oxford,https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp182-public-services-fight-inequality-030414-summ-en_1.pdf

Oxfam (2018), Doubling Down on DRM, Oxfam America, Boston,https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/DOUBLING_DOWN_ON_DRM_-_2018_LVC7aXc.pdf

The post Can we leave no one behind in a world so unequal? appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Can we leave no one behind in a world so unequal?

24. Dezember 2018 - 10:12

This blog post has been originally written for the ‘OECD Development Matters‘ blog by Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. This is an adapted version of the original post published here.

 

To say that the world’s poorest people are simply being left behind can sound like an unbearably polite understatement at times, designed not to offend the rich and the powerful.

I think of the girls I grew up with in Uganda who have worked hard all their life, paid their taxes and supported their communities, only to see themselves and their children remain poor, without essential services. I think of women in poverty like Dolores, who works in a chicken factory in the United States. She and her co-workers wear diapers because their employer denies them toilet breaks (Oxfam, 2016).

These women aren’t just left behind but trapped and exploited at the bottom of a global economy.


The 42 richest people now have the same wealth as the poorest 50% — 3.7 billion people. Last year, the top 1% reaped 82% of all new wealth (Oxfam, 2018). That bottom half — who helped create the wealth — received nothing. The majority of the world have not been left behind, they are being deliberately held back to enable a fabulously rich and unaccountable elite to march away into the distance.

Global wage growth has slowed; gender inequality, inextricably linked to economic inequality, stubbornly persists. Women dominate the least secure and least paid jobs. The unequal impact of climate change is trapping more people in poverty.

Yet, inequality and deprivation are not inevitable. They are the result of missed opportunities, and wrong-headed political choices that hardwired inequality into our economic model.

This is why Oxfam is focusing relentlessly on building a more human economy that realises and respects human rights. We know the tools proven to reduce inequality … from providing living wages, tackling harmful social norms to fighting with citizens for universal, high quality healthcare and education.

 

Governments have considerable policy space to reduce inequality. They can raise the wages of workers as they did in Brazil. They can tax the richest more, as they have done in South Korea. They can spend more on health and education to ensure every woman and man have opportunity. Applying these lessons, together with Development Finance International, we developed the Commitment to Reduce Inequality Index (Development Finance International and Oxfam, 2017), which measures action on social spending, taxes and workers’ rights in 157 countries.

Aid, used strategically, can help to build a more human economy. It can help end poverty and fight inequality in poor countries. It has the potential to deliver transformative finance from rich to poor nations, helping close the inequality gap between and within them. If aid needed a renewed calling, the crisis of economic inequality is it.

How? Predictable assistance can build effective states, support government budgets that pay teachers and nurses (OECD, 2015) (Oxfam, 2014) provide humanitarian assistance, and adopt a feminist aid approach to advance the twin goals of economic and gender equality.

This “inequality-busting aid” needs Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors to support the people on the frontlines, be they in NGOs, unions, women’s rights movements or journalism, pushing governments for fairer policies. DAC donors must also help protect their civil and political rights, which are under threat worldwide.

 

We know about how not to use aid too. For example, donors should never instrumentalise aid to stop people fleeing from their homes for safety. As former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein said, “People don’t lose their human rights by virtue of crossing a border without a visa.” Privatising health and education, based less on evidence of effectiveness than blind faith in markets, pushes people further behind. Talented girls in poverty consistently lose out when education comes with a fee.

In the long term, aid needs to write itself out of a job. Helping governments to mobilise domestic revenues to deliver essential services, and ensure taxes are raised progressively and spent accountably, is shrewd. Yet in 2016, DAC donors only invested 0.18% of official development assistance (ODA) in domestic revenue mobilisation (Oxfam, 2018). And on all of this, DAC donors can give more — ODA accounts for 0.31% of their gross national incomes, less than half of their 50-year-old pledge of 0.7%.

In years past, life-saving aid was pivotal in the child survival revolution, closing the school enrolment gender gap and promoting environmental sustainability. Donors must now use aid strategically to help build a more human economy and leave poverty and inequality behind by 2030.

 

References:

Oxfam (2016), No Relief: Denial of bathroom breaks in the poultry industry, Oxfam America, www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/No_Relief_Embargo.pdf

Oxfam (2018), Reward Work Not Wealth (Oxfam briefing paper), Oxfam, https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp-reward-work-not-wealth-220118-en.pdf

Development Finance International and Oxfam (2017), The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, Oxfam GB, Oxford,
https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/rr-commitment-reduce-inequality-index-170717-en.pdf

OECD (2015), Evaluating the impact of budget support, https://www.oecd.org/dac/evaluation/Evaluation-Insights-Evaluating-the-Impact-of-BS-note-FINAL.pdf

Oxfam (2014), Working for the Many, Oxfam briefing paper, Oxfam GB, Oxford,https://d1tn3vj7xz9fdh.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/file_attachments/bp182-public-services-fight-inequality-030414-summ-en_1.pdf

Oxfam (2018), Doubling Down on DRM, Oxfam America, Boston,https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/DOUBLING_DOWN_ON_DRM_-_2018_LVC7aXc.pdf

The post Can we leave no one behind in a world so unequal? appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Inclusive development matters: time to confront inequality

19. Dezember 2018 - 14:04

Metaphor:
I am going to introduce you to a new brand of drinks in Africa. It’s called PROSPECT. And it was introduced in the African market at the end of the 90s, early 2000s. This was at the time that African economies started to grow. The PROSPECT drink embodies wealth and well-being. And it signals an expectation that this wealth and well-being will benefit all, when the economy starts growing.

Trickle-down…
The premise of PROSPECT starts with a basic piece of economic theory. A theory that is so convincing, that it has been regarded as common sense for  decades. It says that when an economy – anywhere  in the world – grows, this prosperity will first enrich the top layer and eventually trickle down to the rest of the society (the middle class and the poor). It suggests that in order to make a society prosperous, we just have to invest. To pour in more ’prospects’.

…does not work
We now know that this trickle-down theory does not work. Reality has shown that when investments are made, only some sections of the economy and population benefit, and others are not reached. So what happens, given the fact that there is investment and more PROSPECT does flow in? There might not be enough liquid to fill all the glasses, especially when many more glasses are added every year because of population growth. But the differences become bigger too. The top layer(s) start changing their glasses to bigger ones. And sometimes, people within the top layers start pouring PROSPECT into a different glass or a secret jar that doesn’t flow over. Trickle-down does not take place.

How can economic growth benefit the poor?
How can we make sure that economic growth and development investments do start benefitting the poor and those who are now excluded? This is where the story of INCLUDE starts. When INCLUDE, the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies in Africa, started in 2012, it identified six policy areas that play a key role in creating more inclusive development (economic transformation, productive employment, basic services, territorial development, social protection and inclusive governance). 17 research programmes funded by NWO/WOTRO and several research-policy dialogues supported by INCLUDE focused on these areas. In each of the areas, in particular economic sectors, and within specific population groups different economic and social processes were studied. For instance regarding avocado farming in Kenya, sex-workers in Ethiopia, informal sector worker organisations in Benin and free maternal care in Kenya.

What findings were documented? To name a few:

  • social protection programmes (of which cash transfers are the best known) lead to economic empowerment as well as social cohesion, self-esteem and social status;
  • access to markets increases incomes of smallholder farmers in avocado, cocoa and food production;
  • informal entrepreneurs develop into formal enterprises when having access to the right networks and with the right reflexive traits;
  • membership organisations can be effective in pushing for change for marginal groups when there is unity in action.

That is all very relevant knowledge for policymakers, whether in African countries or in The Netherlands.

BUT!

These opportunities and benefits are usually not equally distributed. So simply investing in the identified policy areas will not do the trick. Here again, the assumed trickle-down does not work. Not all new opportunities are equally accessible to all. And even when access is equal, not everyone has the same capacity to make use of the new opportunity and realize the same outcome. In other words: the empty glasses are not all the same. And the glasses of the poor or marginalized are more difficult to fill.

Food on the table
For example: Young entrepreneurs from the slums in Nairobi cannot afford to spend weeks developing a financeable business model in the IT sector. They need cash income for food on the table every day, while their middle class counterparts do have the time to experiment and think their business model over in Hubs that are established for that purpose. Where does this ‘poverty penalty’ or ‘double jeopardy’ take us? Perhaps we should just accept that such inequalities are there? That they are a fact of life? And that a more equal society is something that cannot be achieved?

A change in thinking
I do not agree. And not only on moral grounds. During the time the INCLUDE  studies took place, another, also significant, change in thinking emerged. For a long time, and following the trickle-down theory, economists believed that all that mattered was to increase economic growth. Inequality was part of the growth process and ‘redistribution’ was bad for economic growth. But evidence started to show otherwise. It showed that too much inequality can actually be bad for societies. It undermines social cohesion and political stability and reduces economic growth. What’s more, redistribution is not bad for economic growth, in fact it can increase economic growth.

Redistribution of Prospect

Prevent inefficient unequal societies
The World Bank and IMF now explicitly advise policymakers to consider the distributive effects of their economic policies. Not just to reduce poverty, but to prevent the emergence of inefficient unequal societies. This is a significant move away from business as usual. It is time to confront inequality and address its negative consequences. The research groups give us clues about how this can be pursued. It is about how you design policies and implement them so they benefit more people. Obviously the answers to those questions depend on where you are and what you want to achieve for what reason.

There are six general lessons, but let me focus on three here;

  1. Invest in specific economic (sub) sectors or geographical areas where poverty is concentrated. A project in Ghana showed that investments in cassava benefitted agricultural production of the poor, including processing capacity of women.
  1. Understand and take into account the needs and constraints of the most marginal groups when designing and implementing a particular policy or intervention. And use information channels that do not ‘exclude’ them, but try to pull them in. Basic literacy and numeracy training helps rural women in Uganda to use mobile services for payment and information, reducing their dependence on intermediaries.
  1. It is important to identify the strategic actors that can change the flow of PROSPECT to benefit more people. These can be businesses and NGOs, but also local government officials or traditional leaders – as long as they have some power and incentive to change the flow of PROSPECT.

This is not easy and there is no blueprint for how to do it. But failing to try to provide PROSPECT to the bottom layer too, will actually lead to more inequality, rather than less.

 

This post is an adaptation of the speech on inclusive development that Marleen Dekker gave at the conference ‘From research to practice: inclusive development for future prospects in Africa’. This adaptation was originally written for the ASCL Africanist Blog. 

Photo credits: Roos Trommelen 

The post Inclusive development matters: time to confront inequality appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

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