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INCLUDE is the knowledge platform on inclusive development policies.
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Our Monthly Reading List: September 2022

29. September 2022 - 14:07

Every month we share with our readers a curated reading list on inclusive development. As we gear up for this year’s COP 27 in Egypt, we are zooming in on the Climate and Food Systems nexus. Unlike last year, the agenda of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference dedicates a whole day to “adaptation and agriculture”.

According to new research by a team led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, agriculture is responsible for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. While this highlights the importance of integrating food systems into the climate agenda, it’s missing an explicit mention of nutrition, which focuses on sufficient production and access to healthy and affordable food. However, as the food crisis tightens around the world,  the ‘Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity’ report calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent famine in hotspot countries where acute food insecurity is expected to worsen from October 2022 to January 2023.  It also finds rising conflict, weather extremes, and economic instability aggravated by the impacts of COVID-19 and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine (which are also the subject of a recent ASCL blog post) are among the key drivers of the negative developments.

Against this backdrop, 15 organisations will bring attention to the transformations needed in the food and agriculture system to effectively tackle the climate crisis at the Food4Climate Pavilion, among other events organised around the COP27. The Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP), for example, published an information page including a general overview of the programme, as well as an opportunity to preregister for the COP27 briefing sessions later this year. Furthermore, NFP is hosting a creative and thought-provoking event for food professionals to celebrate World Food Day 2022, Wednesday 12 October at the Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, organised on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. It will set out the key priorities and urgent actions needed to address and mitigate the food and climate crises.

On a more practical note, agroecology is heralded as one of the solutions to adapt the agricultural system to the demand of a changing climate. The YALTA Agroecology Production Handbook is designed to share knowledge with young agriprenuers facilitating or training in agroecology farming. It provides information on the 10 elements of agroecology and includes links to detailed information produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). On the topic of improving programming for youth agripreneurs in Africa, the INCLUDE knowledge platform together with The Broker and the NFP has recently started an exciting new project. Youth agripreneurship is increasingly put forward as a solution not only to the innovative transformation of the African agriculture and agro-processing sectors, but also to spur the creation of youth employment opportunities. Policy dialogues organised by Utafiti Sera and the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurs (CABE) have worked to make research evidence more accessible to policymakers and relevant actors to catalyse policy interventions regarding the generation of youth employment in agriculture. Along the same lines, the EPRC-African Policy Dialogues (APD) under the Inclusive Development (INCLUDE) Platform project discussed how to create productive and decent work for youth and women in Uganda through Agro Industrialisation.

Het bericht Our Monthly Reading List: September 2022 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Note 2: Ap(p)iculture: Compatibility mode for digitalisation?

20. September 2022 - 11:14

Not all digital transitions are equal. Uganda currently has an internet penetration level (the portion of the population that has is using the Internet) of 26% of the population in January 2021 and the proportion of broadband connections grew to 53% in December 2021. But in 2019, this rate was still 9% in rural areas and 30% in urban areas. The rural-urban divide is more pronounced in the electricity domain with 70% of urban dwellers having access and only 33% of the rural population connected. Some areas are still not covered, and within communities, the access to infrastructure and technology needed to run digital online solutions varies greatly. When infrastructure does exist, in the case of mobile money or other telecom-based digital applications, levels of digital skills and knowledge can vary greatly. These inequalities and differences matter when digital solutions are designed to specifically target marginalized populations. The implications of inequalities spill over from the digital into the real world. We cannot assume that digital is the same for everybody: for someone it may be a pixelated experience, while for others it has a sharp 4K resolution.

Mind the Gap(p)

It is important to bridge the gap between the environment in which the digital solution is developed and the environment in which it is ultimately used. A multi-pronged approach is necessary. The first suggestion for digital solutions in rural contexts is to be able to work without an internet connection. Focusing on data storage and battery usage of apps is the next step. The processor and memory capacity and ultimately battery life of the users’ devices are important factors to consider. This is particularly important when it’s necessary to work with smart (read: power-hungry) devices for a longer time without charging. The technological capacity of the end users’ devices should be considered when designing the application or platform to be used in rural settings. It’s not realistic to expect a resource-intensive app to work on feature phones or older smartphone models, or to have to update the software frequently while lacking a stable internet connection. In this case, it is worthwhile exploring ways to increase access to affordable smartphones through creative business models.

Appropriate

Another gap to bridge is the appropriateness of digital technology. The developers’ priorities and the end user’s needs are not always the same. In the case of a gamified training application, developers might prioritize the visual aspects of an application. An end user, on the other hand,  may prefer an easy calculator programme that can be run on their mobile phone. Developers may like a nice simulation, while end users may prefer a simple decision-making tool. This means that not all elements of digital technology are fit for purpose.

These issues can be addressed by involving end users in the development of technologies (co-creation). Additionally, working with a trained intermediary can help bridge the digital gap. This proxy user eases the process of interaction with and transition into using the digital technology, by translating, hand-holding, explaining, and advising. In this case, it is worth reflecting on the appropriateness of the technology instead of a non-digital one.

Het bericht Note 2: Ap(p)iculture: Compatibility mode for digitalisation? verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Youth @ Work: 5 pathways for change

15. August 2022 - 16:11

How to address the missing job crisis through green and digital jobs, while assuring that none is left behind? By using the latest knowledge base on the topic, the recently published evidence synthesis paper series provides a number of solutions that may help flag potential solutions. They were discussed in the webinar series Youth@Work, from which we present five key insights.

1. Framing the issue: from youth employment crisis to missing job crisis

Addressing the issue of youth employment in Africa needs to be framed accurately to design effective strategies. The mainstream narrative is that the responsibility and capacity to find and create employment lays mainly with youths. But in fact, Africa’s ‘youth employment’ crisis is, in many ways, actually foremost a ‘missing jobs’ crisis – or rather, a missing jobs crisis, as the majority (80%) of the workforce is engaged in the informal sector. Nevertheless, the economy is growing without generating employment for youth: making it a ‘jobless’ economic growth. Reframing the mainstream narrative from a youth employment crisis to a missing jobs crisis creates a more accurate understanding of the problem and is therefore a pre-requisite for change.

2. Structural transformation: invest in small and big enterprises

Addressing the ‘missing jobs crisis’ leads us to consider structural transformation as one of the key strategies to address systemic hurdles to private sector. Structural economic transformation seeks to capitalize on the potential of small- and medium-sized enterprises to create employment for young people in Africa. SME’s are estimated to provide up to 80% of jobs across the continent and contribute strongly to economic and social development in society. Policies that stimulate (small) enterprise development are therefore essential to bring about youth employment in Africa.

3. Digitalization & the future of work

Africa is going digital – and when digitalisation is sufficiently inclusive, it creates a world of opportunities for African youths to acquire jobs. But the high cost of internet data and unreliable and expensive electricity provision means that especially the most marginalised groups in society may be excluded from the potential benefits of the digital revolution. Next to this, lack of social protection within digital labour is a problem. One of the promises of the digital economy for youth employment is related to ‘crowdwork’, a form of employment that uses internet-based platforms to provide services or products for profit. But these crowd-workers are misclassified as independent contractors and are therefore excluded from existing labour regulations and social protection, making platform workers extremely vulnerable and often exploited. Such challenges reveal the complexity of providing and safeguarding decent and inclusive labour within the digitalised world. To create truly inclusive youth employment, the divide must be bridged between those who have access to digital labour opportunities – and those who don’t.

4. Green jobs and agricultural transformation

Despite the many opportunities presented by digitalisation and the tech economy, agriculture is expected to remain the largest job-supplier in the coming decades – though many jobs within the sector will be transformed to respond to climate change. Projections estimate that around half of Africa’s employment opportunities remain in rural areas until at least 2030. But agricultural livelihoods are increasingly threatened by climate change. Climate action is therefore closely linked to the employment prospects of youth in Africa and the transition to a green economy is all the more important. This transformation is anticipated to create new ‘green jobs’, and is therefore widely heralded as a solution to the missing jobs crisis in Africa. However, a green transformation of the economy will also displace existing jobs. The green transformation must therefore also be a ‘just transition’, implemented carefully and inclusively, with social protection schemes in place for those who lose their jobs during the transition.

5. Meaningful youth participation: the crosscutting pathway

Meaningful youth engagement needs to go beyond tokenism towards real participation. Marginalized groups must be supported specifically to overcome their particular barriers to participation. Youth participation can take different forms, ranging from information provision through to consultation, shared decision-making and co-management, all the way to autonomy. The nature and quality of participation determines the extent to which young people’s voices are heard. The notion of nothing about them, without them’ cannot be stressed more. Efforts to stimulate youth employment should capitalise on youth’s agency and allow them to sit in the driver’s seat.

Interested to learn more? Visit INCLUDE’s Youth @ Work webpage

Webinar Series The webinar series Youth@Work was orgnised in the frame of the partnership “Boosting Decent Employment for Africa’s youth”, a joint effort of INCLUDE, the International Development Research Centre and the International Labour Organization, under the umbrella of the Decent Jobs for Youth global partnership. This blog was originally published on the Decent Jobs for Youth website, at this link.

Het bericht Youth @ Work: 5 pathways for change verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Our Monthly Reading List: July 2022

25. Juli 2022 - 14:56

Every month we share with our readers a curated reading list on inclusive development. This month, we are zooming in on the just transition and the future of work – a topic INCLUDE is currently working on through our joint research programme with Palladium, Green jobs and the Future of Work.

Agriculture is expected to remain the largest job-supplier in Africa in the coming decades. But many jobs within the sector will be transformed to respond to climate change. Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change. Recent research by the AERC into the role of Africa in the green transition advises new agricultural practices and policies that support and create a sustainable green revolution. This ‘green transition’ is anticipated to create new ‘green jobs’, and is therefore widely heralded as a solution to the missing jobs crisis in Africa. Indeed, ACET’s research into Development Finance Institutions for more decent jobs in Africa indicates that Africa’s future jobs will be green and digital, thereby supporting the modernisation of the agriculture sector. However, a green transformation of the economy will also displace existing jobs. The green transformation must therefore also be a ‘just transition’.

The German Development Institute published a discussion paper on the challenges and opportunities of green jobs in African and Asian cities, including good practice cases. From the many recommendations included in this paper, one is cross-cutting: the need for green transformation policies that reflect local problems, potentials, and stakeholders. The green transformation can create more green jobs and respectively shift current jobs into green jobs. But misalignment with the local context, such as disregarding the informal sector or a mismatch between skill sets and jobs created, could ruin chances to benefit from the green transformation. There is a risk that newly created green jobs might not compensate for job losses. The African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook 2022 emphasises that a just transition should mitigate the risks of locking Africa out of the green technology manufacturing value chain and should aim to increase Africa’s share of green jobs.

Curious to know more about digitalisation and the future of work in Africa? Take a look at our work and stay tuned for more in our newsletters.

Het bericht Our Monthly Reading List: July 2022 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Our Monthly Reading List: June 2022

4. Juli 2022 - 11:29

Every month we share with our readers a curated reading list on inclusive development. This month, we are zooming in on social protection targeting. INCLUDE has worked a lot on the topic in the last years (see for example our social protection synthesis report). Social protection also featured prominently in last year’s INCLUDE conference: during the fourth panel session we discussed the benefits of social protection programmes, such as poverty reduction and economic growth, but also raised concerns about unavoidable trade-offs surrounding which groups to target for social protection – and which not to. A year after the conference, our reading list presents key takeaways from some more recent literature on the topic.

In March 2022, a World Bank Spring Meeting session discussed a new World Bank publication, “Revisiting Targeting in Social Assistance: A New Look at Old Dilemmas”, which aims to refresh and update discussions about the benefits and costs of social protection targeting. Main takeaways of the publication are that targeting can play a valuable role within universal social protection and that concentrating benefits on the poor through targeting is a cost-effective way of reducing poverty. However, this blog by socialprotection.org argues that targeted schemes that seek to reach the poorest can produce huge exclusions. In addition, procedures aiming to determine whether people are eligible to participate in schemes can become very complex, with beneficiaries forced to prove they are ‘poor enough’ to be included.

The Institute of Development Studies examines targeting in protracted crisis situations, with attention to the difficulty of minimising exclusion (aid not reaching people who should be reached) and inclusion (targeting people who should not be targeted) errors. In addition, the working paper also points out the risk of resentment between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, as also became clear from research into a cash transfer program in Chad.

As is clear from the literature, social protection programmes remain a highly useful tool for inclusive development, but require careful design and must take measures to safeguard inclusivity. For recommendations on how to navigate the complexities and trade-offs mentioned here, check out INCLUDE’s recent blogtwo-pager and report. Here we point to human factors of targeting and call for a decentralised approach to targeting as a way to advance inclusivity in development policies and programmes.

Het bericht Our Monthly Reading List: June 2022 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

On Target? Reflections on targeting in development policies and programmes

4. Juli 2022 - 9:39

This blog flows from an INCLUDE report that calls for more attention to human factors and unintended effects of targeting methods. It also points to hidden costs that further influence meaningful participation. Targeting is essentially a very political and messy business.

Development policies and programmes are always aimed at subcategories of populations. Individuals, households, communities, or other units that are targeted meet certain requirements and are then enrolled as participants. There are several ways in which targeting is being done, ranging from statistical methods and indicator-based survey-based methods to more community-based approaches. So far, there is no consensus on which method works best.

It is impossible to have 100% targeting accuracy. Inaccuracy is measured by inclusion errors and exclusion errors. Implementation plays a great role in effectiveness and accuracy, and this is heavily affected by human factors. Issues outside the targeting systems can influence inclusion and exclusion of participants before, during and after their enrolment. Think of administrative processes, queuing, national ID requirements, among others. Inclusion is not only a matter of numbers and gaining access (whether rightfully so or not), but also about meaningful, suitable, and fruitful participation. Hidden costs to this type of meaningful participation, may follow from administrative processes, stigmatising activities, or other costs in terms of time or money. These costs may cause a participant to drop out, either fully or partly.

Most of the times a target population is much larger than the scope of any one programme or policy. Targeting in this case is also about rationing and justifying the narrow selection. In addition, the decisions about targeting methods may align better with political interests than official policy objectives. In many government policies, targeting is employed to benefit some political groups, and in the case of many NGOs, targeting is partly used as a way of raising overall effectiveness of programmes, not necessarily to target the neediest or reach the unreached. On closer inspection, the goal is to reach those with the highest potential or to distinguish the deserving ones within a larger population of people with almost equal levels of welfare.

This reflects the debate around targeting, between those who point to the increased efficiency of targeting, and proponents of universal approaches who point to the lack of political will as a characteristic of targeted approaches. Proponents of targeting argue for allocating budgets to those who need it most, for increased impact per dollar. Opponents argue that more of the intended beneficiaries will be included when a universal approach is taken.

In practice, some form of targeting is always used. Universal approaches also need to distinguish or monitor inclusion and enrolment. The debate is ongoing and grew more salient during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 onwards, as governments struggled to increase coverage and value of their social protection systems in the wake of restriction measures, often building on existing targeting systems.

In short, there is a general emphasis on accuracy and effectiveness. However, it would make sense to focus on social impact of the targeting exercise, the redressal of grievances and the implementation processes, and the unintended inclusion and exclusion effects of other programme components. Especially when targeting reflects a lack of political will to solve inequalities. For more on targeting and the recommendations we pose, please refer to the two-pager and the executive summary, as well as the report itself.

For feedback, questions or suggestions please leave your comment on our website underneath the post, or reach out to caspar@includeplatform.net

 

Het bericht On Target? Reflections on targeting in development policies and programmes verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english