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23-01-26_Pamela Cruz - Mexico - sex education

26. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-26_Pamela Cruz - Mexico - sex education dagmar.wolf Thu, 26.01.2023 - 02:00 What young Latin Americans must learn about sex and reproductive health Teenagers Mexico wants to prevent teenage pregnancies Many low-income countries struggle with the problem of teenage pregnancies. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 18 % of all women giving birth are younger than 19. That is the second worst ratio behind only sub-Saharan Africa. The Mexican experience shows that education – and in particular sex education – makes a difference. 26.01.2023Latin America and the Caribbean Hintergrund SDG5 SDG3 Bevölkerung, Familienplanung Gender, Frauen Gesundheit, Medizin Sozialpolitik, Sozialentwicklung Soziokulturelle Faktoren Volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung

When teenagers become mothers, the risk is high that they will stay poor or become poor. Typically, they drop out of school, so their job opportunities are diminished. At the same time, early pregnancies have negative impacts on the girls’ health and personal development.

Research shows that expecting mothers who are younger than 15 are four times more affected by maternal mortality. They are at greater risk of complications such as anaemia, hypertension and premature birth.

Among the member countries of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), an umbrella organisation of 38 mostly prosperous countries, Mexico has the highest share of teenagers who give birth. The absolute number has been declining since 2007, but women below the age of 20 still account for 15.1 % of births in Mexico. Things have been deteriorating again in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the National Population Council estimating that the number of unwanted teenage pregnancies increased by 30 %.

Teenage pregnancies occur for various reasons. Child marriage matters. Many girls marry early because of poverty, gender-­specific inequality and harmful traditions. Violence and sexual abuse leads to pregnancies too. It also matters that there is only limited access to comprehensive sex education, full reproductive health services and information on contraceptives (including how to use them).

Regional disparities

How common teenage pregnancy is in Mexico, varies from region to region. The rate is particularly high in the comparatively poor states like Guerrero and Chiapas. Chiapas, for example, has generations-old cultural traditions that are obstacles to family planning. The religious faith opposes contraceptives, and traditional gender norms give men the power to decide whether to use them or not.

It is the job of governments to identify and understand conventions of this kind in order to take countermeasures. In 2018, Mexico’s Federal Government ran a national survey concerning health and nutrition issues. The data not only showed that 23 % of the youth become sexually active between the ages of 12 and 19, but also that 15 % of the men and 33 % of the women did not use contraceptives when they first had intercourse. While a large share of the Mexican population is informed about contraceptives, the knowledge about how to use them varies between different population groups.

The survey also showed that 75 % of sexually active women in the age group 15 to 49 use contraceptives, but that the share drops to 64 % for those who speak an indigenous language. Moreover, only 60 % of youths in the age group 15 to 19 used contraceptives.

Governmental protection of sexual and reproductive rights is not fully developed in Mexico. Disadvantaged population groups are discriminated against. Access to contraceptives and sex education depends on various issues, including age, place of residence and socio-economic status. Things are especially difficult in poor, isolated and remote municipalities in the rural areas of Chiapas, Puebla, Tabasco or Michoacán. Making matters worse, access to any kind of health service is limited in those places.

National strategy

The Federal Government is aware of the problems. In 2015, it launched a national strategy to prevent teenage pregnancies. The idea was – and is – to change people’s attitudes by promoting the sexual and reproductive rights of girls, boys and youth in general. The focus is on girls’ rights to self-determination. Girls are told that they have a right to say no and that violence is inappropriate within a relationship. The campaign addresses boys too. The goal is to promote a healthy idea of manliness with an eye to reducing violence in relationships as well as brutal sexual practices.

CONEVAL, the National Council for Evaluating Social Development Policy, conducted research during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to assess young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services. The council belongs to the federal administration, but is a decentralised entity. The study revealed serious regional discrepancies regarding health facilities, everything from buildings to staffing and medical supplies.

On the upside, 80 % of the youth stated that their schools provide information on sexual and reproductive health. They also said that schools are best placed to spread such information. The data showed that 60 % indicated they had access to materials that allow them to understand sexual and reproductive health. Some 85 % stated that their textbooks included information on the subject.

Sex education is essential, not only for preventing unintended pregnancies among young people. It also contributes to fighting violence and sexual abuse. Without relevant knowledge, girls are not empowered to self-determination and self-care. It is vitally important to inform them about reproductive health, the menstruation cycle and the use of contraceptives. The better children and teenagers are informed, the more they are empowered to reject sexual abuse and/or report cases of such abuse. Moreover, information puts them in a better position to postpone sexual contact until they feel ready for it.

Improving sex education is a global issue. Countries around the world must rise to the challenge.
Latin America – and Mexico in particular – have made undeniable progress regarding the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and, in more general terms, gender equality.

Legalised abortion

According to Article 3 of Mexico’s Constitution, schools and curricula must be gender-sensitive and engage in education regarding sexuality and reproductive health. In 2021, the Supreme Court decriminalised abortion, declaring that the constitution forbids the outlawing of abortion. Nine states have since legalised abortion, and four (Mexico City, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Veracruz) now permit voluntary abortion for any reason in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It has thus become even more relevant than before to include information about abortion rights in sex education. Young people deserve to know that, in some states, the law grants them full control over their own bodies.

The road to sexual and reproductive rights being universally guaranteed in Mexico nonetheless remains long. Cultural obstacles persist. Some ideological forces want to restrict such rights. For example, a parents initiative was launched in 2020, demanding that schools must not teach students lessons that do not conform with the ethical, religious or moral convictions of their parents or guardians without their prior consent and approval. Controversial topics include diversity, inclusion, gender perspectives as well as sex and reproductive education. Should this approach become official policy, it would restrict the rights of children and youth to a non-violent life and healthy sexuality.

The campaign was proposed in five states and initially approved in the education law of the State of Aguascalientes. A group of civil-society actors, as well as the National System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, however, had demanded that the regulation must be withdrawn there and must not be approved by other states. So far, the Supreme Court has not accepted the parents’ initiative to restrict education, and a federal judge has even ordered its suspension.

Pamela Cruz is a project coordinator for Comunalia, the alliance of community foundations in Mexico, and a strategic adviser of MY World Mexico, a nationwide social business that promotes sustainable development and cooperation.
pamela.cruzm@gmail.com

Gender Equality Governance Poverty Reduction Off Off Pamela Cruz

contributed to D+C/E+Z in summer of 2022. She is the Special Projects Coordinator at Comunalia, a network of community foundations in Mexico and Strategic Advisor at MY World Mexico.

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Kategorien: english

23-01-25_Jörg Döbereiner - Our view - Biodiversität - Klima

25. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-25_Jörg Döbereiner - Our view - Biodiversität - Klima dagmar.wolf Wed, 25.01.2023 - 02:00 The world conferences of Sharm el-Sheikh and Montréal have shown once again that global crises require multilateral solutions Climate and biodiversity To protect life on earth, we must cooperate The future of humankind depends on how we treat our natural environment. The climate crisis and the erosion of ecosystems are increasingly shaping the relations between richer and poorer world regions. The issues are crucially important since our health, our food and our economies depend on them. People’s standard of life is at stake. 25.01.2023Global High-income countries Meinung SDG3 SDG12 SDG13 SDG17 Nachhaltigkeit Klima Global Governance Umweltproblematik Schwellenländer

In 1992, the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro adopted UN conventions to tackle the most important ecological problems. Progress has been slow, however. Late last year, there was a global climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh and a global biodiversity summit in Montréal. Both came close to failure.

In Egypt, delegates ultimately decided to establish a fund to cover loss and damages in poor countries. Unfortunately, not much happened to limit global heating. The conference in Canada made history in terms of adopting the ambitious goal of declaring 30 % of land surface and 30 % of seas protected areas by 2030. So far, only 16 % of land and 8 % of the seas are conservation areas. The need for action remains great, and the stage is set for serious disputes.

Indigenous peoples and deep-rooted local communities live in many areas where nature should be protected. Their interests must not be sacrificed. In Uganda, for example, the Batwa were displaced from their rainforest habitat when the government decided to protect mountain gorillas.

It is therefore good news that the final declaration of the Montréal summit spells out repeatedly that the rights of indigenous peoples must be protected and local communities should be involved in nature protection. Where local people are acknowledged as guardians of nature and supported in that role, both humans beings and nature can thrive. This is the win-win approach.

Global success hinges on developing countries and emerging markets contributing to nature protection. After all, many important ecosystems are on their territory – just consider the rainforests of the Amazon region, the Congo basin or Indonesian islands. Humankind’s future will suffer if the countries concerned, in the pursuit of development and prosperity, destroy nature the way that high-income countries did. The implication is that it serves the latter’s self-interest to do their best in support of sustainable development in less prosperous places.

At the same time, high-income countries must achieve net-zero emissions fast. Global heating must be slowed down. Not only is the climate crisis causing serious suffering in countries that have hardly emitted greenhouse gases. It is also an important driver of the erosion of species and ecosystems.

The double crisis of climate and biodiversity shows that our fates are mutually interdependent. To protect life on earth, we must cooperate. Unfortunately, there is a lack of global solidarity. High-income countries’ lifestyles are unsustainable and cannot serve as the global model. Nonetheless, these countries are not living up to their climate-finance commitments.

Global crises require multilateral solutions. Reckless national egotism, as became evident in Russia’s attack on Ukraine, is unacceptable. Irresponsible action at the domestic level, however, can cause global harm too. Under President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost his re-election bid in Brazil last year, deforestation of the Amazon accelerated to the point that the jungle began releasing more carbon than it is absorbing. In this sense, the Bolsonaro supporters who rioted in Brasília on 8 January were attacking the global common good.

The declarations of Montréal and Sharm el-Sheikh present an opportunity to improve matters internationally. First of all, rich nations must fulfil all promises. The annual $ 20 billion they pledged to less prosperous countries for nature protection must flow reliably and transparently – and on top of previous spending commitments for climate and development purposes.

The nature protection goals for 2030 must be achieved. The natural resources our existence depends on are dwindling. We must protect them as best we can.

Jörg Döbereiner is a member of the editorial team of D+C Development and Cooperation / E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.
euz.editor@dandc.eu

Governance Sustainability Off Off Jörg Döbereiner

is a member of the editorial team of D+C Development and Cooperation/E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit.  

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Kategorien: english

23-01-24_Moutaz Ali - Libya - Gaddafi nostalgia

24. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-24_Moutaz Ali - Libya - Gaddafi nostalgia dagmar.wolf Tue, 24.01.2023 - 02:00 More than ten years after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, the situation in Libya is so devastating that some long for pre-revolutionary times Libya Libya lapses into Gaddafi nostalgia When crowds flooded the streets and squares in various Libyan cities on 17 February 2011, they were demanding a better future with freedom and prosperity. Now, more than ten years after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, it is obvious that their dreams have been turned to ashes. 24.01.2023MENA Middle East North Africa Meinung SDG1: no poverty SDG8 SDG11 SDG16 Armutsbekämpfung Bürgerkriege, Konfliktmanagement, Peacebuilding Flüchtlinge, Migration Infrastruktur Korruption Regierungsführung Sozialpolitik, Sozialentwicklung Staatszerfall Tourismus Volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung

In the last decade, Libyans have suffered instability, civil war, uncontrolled armed militias and corrupt elite politicians failing to conduct any elections since 2014. Moreover, terror militia ISIS made the country one of their main operating centres. As if that were not enough, Libya became a main gate for smuggling hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants to Europe, where governments reacted with corresponding irritation.

Regional and international conflicts over resources in Libya also keep the country unstable. Turkey has a declared military presence in the west of Libya while Russia did the same in the east. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have funded and established different Libyan-operated media outlets which mainly fuel violence and conflict by using hate speech and promoting bloodshed through their content. Egypt and Algeria have never been particularly helpful in stabilising their neighbour, and Tunisia has itself been hit hard economically by the conflict in Libya.

In the wake of this devastating situation, many Libyans who were dreaming of a better future are now dreaming of the past again and, despite all its hardships, are beginning to recall the Gaddafi era with nostalgia.

This nostalgia has its roots in the consecutive setbacks of the past ten years, but also in the erosion of the quality of life in all aspects such as the country’s infrastructure. “You see, we had a big airport with daily flights to dozens of destinations, including Europe. Now we have only a very small and modest one with flights to just four or five destinations,” says Libyan tour operator Fouad Fazzani.

Vast and lasting economic damage

Tripoli’s international airport was torched in 2014 in one of the heaviest battles between the military and civilians the country has ever seen. Since then, former domestic airport Mitiga is in use. The travel industry is just one of the sectors severely affected by the situation in Libya. It has lost billions of dollars, while thousands of people have lost their jobs. Fazzani adds: “A few years before the revolution, we started hosting thousands of tourists and organising trips for them all over Libya. Now, this promising industry has been destroyed due to the devastating situation the country has been facing since 2011.”

Also, most investments in real estate projects have been frozen, and already established construction sites are now abandoned. One example is the “Great Man-Made River” project, once the world’s largest drinking water pipeline project to improve water supply for the population and agriculture. The expansion of one of the last phases of the project, which was to supply the Jabal Nafusa, an arid mountainous area in the northwest of the country, was stopped after the revolution.

Libya’s financial resources are largely in the hands of corrupt politicians allied with armed militia leaders and backed by various foreign players such as Russia, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE. Many Libyans see the situation this way: They all serve their own interest, while the people struggle to feed their children.

“Other countries want to keep the situation in Libya unstable by scaring people with the militias they have established and using corrupt politicians as instruments to steal our resources on their behalf,” says Doukali Meghri, a Libyan political analyst. He adds: “That’s why those countries continue to support different conflicted local parties. They want them to continue fighting each other. Elections would not serve their interests, because everyone wants to keep their corrupt congressmen and political allies.”

Even the despair of the current situation, however, cannot disguise how much Gaddafi harmed his country and people for the 42 years of his rule. Not only has he made many enemies in the world, violated human rights and massively suppressed freedom of speech, but he has also failed to develop important sectors, such as education and health, despite the country’s enormous resources. Up to today, Libyans are suffering the consequences of this neglect.


Moutaz Ali is a journalist living in Tripoli, Libya.
ali.moutaz77@gmail.com

Poverty Reduction Governance Off Off Moutaz Ali

last contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as journalist living in Tripoli, Libya.  

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23-01-23_Progress Mwareya-Zimbabwe-plastic water tanks

23. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-23_Progress Mwareya-Zimbabwe-plastic water tanks dagmar.wolf Mon, 23.01.2023 - 02:00 Large water tanks are a blessing in case of water shortage in Zimbabwe, but also have downsides Infrastructure The pros and cons of plastic water tanks So called “Jojo” tanks have become very popular in Zimbabwe. They are large-capacity vertical water storage tanks that can hold anything from 1,000 to 20,000-liter volumes. They’re handy in a country where piped water is unreliable. 23.01.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Nowadays SDG6 SDG12 Wasser Infrastruktur Umweltproblematik Stadt- und Regionalplanung

Urban residents in the last 10 years have bought Jojo tanks to insure families’, agriculture’s or small businesses’ water safety. “Jojo tank, it’s the new family car in terms of prestige,” says Brian Sako a resident of Mutare, the country’s third largest city.

Imported mainly from China and South Africa and made from plastic, they are often mounted on rooftops of family homes or in yards of factories. The water tanks cost between $ 300 to $ 1,000 depending on size and design. The advantage of the Jojo water tanks is three-fold. You capture precious and clean rainwater; you can order bulk clean water from commercial sellers and even resell some of the excess water.

Water woes in the country are common as water reserves continue to dwindle. Harare’s nearly 4 million residents have endured unreliable water supply for close to two decades. Moreover, close to 30 % of piped water is lost through illegal connections and leakages on suburban distribution pipes. “Climate change-induced droughts, brazen theft of water purification and pumping funds, an exodus of qualified engineers – all have contributed to the dire water shortages,” says Francis Moyo, a water engineer.

The excitement over the plastic water tanks has downsides too. Critics say that the Jojo water tanks in Zimbabwe are often hastily and improperly installed especially in poor city suburbs where untrained technicians do the job. It is a safety hazard to install a 10,000 litre Jojo water tank at heights and windy locations.

In some cases, the accidents of water splashes kill homeowners living next to water tanks. The rampant floods that have rocked Zimbabwe recently have also contributed to hazards. “It’s frightening,” says Gilbert Ndima in Chitungwiza, a town on the edges of the capital Harare. He recalls the deadly scene in October 2021 when a Jojo water tank collapsed and killed two children.

“It’s not the first tragedy and the last,” says Francis Moyo, a water engineer. “I see too much short cuts as installers rush for profit – never install a Jojo tank next to a room where people sleep or playground where kids gather.”

Additionally, used and worn-out plastic Jojo water tanks are clogging landfills thus adding to the urban waste pollution. Tinashe Baya, an environmentalist at the Harare Youth Clean-up Forum says: “It’s the biggest headache. Discarded Jojo water tanks that are supposed to solve urban water shortages end up piling onto landfills that clog the few precious waterways.”

Progress Mwareya is a freelance journalist based in east Zimbabwe.
progressmwareya2@gmail.com

Governance Off Off Progress Mwareya

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a freelance journalist based in east Zimbabwe.  

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Kategorien: english

23-01-22_Frank Swiaczny_Sonja Haug_Susanne Schmid_Sabrina Gabel - Africa - dempgraphic dividend - box

22. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-22_Frank Swiaczny_Sonja Haug_Susanne Schmid_Sabrina Gabel - Africa - dempgraphic dividend - box dagmar.wolf Sun, 22.01.2023 - 02:00 Covid-19 poses a threat to sustainable development efforts Covid-19 impacts How the pandemic promotes inequality The far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 pose a threat to sustainable development efforts across the African continent. With the exception of Egypt, no African country is currently set to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education. 22.01.2023Global Hintergrund SDG1: no poverty SDG8 Bevölkerung Familienplanung Bildung Ausbildung Kinder Arbeit Volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung Armutsbekämpfung Entwicklungspolitik Entwicklungsstrategien Menschenrechte Nachhaltigkeit

The far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 pose a threat to sustainable development efforts across the African continent. With the exception of Egypt, no African country is currently set to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education.

During school closures due to the pandemic, fewer girls than boys had access to digital technology for learning. And afterwards, fewer girls than boys went back to school. Gender-based violence increased sharply during the pandemic. Less access to contraception, family planning and education pushes young women back into traditional patterns, which makes for more early pregnancies.

In the future, three quarters of the global increase in the working-age population will be registered on the African continent. It is estimated that over 800 million more jobs will need to be created by 2050 in Africa alone – not counting the innumerable jobs lost due to the pandemic.

But it is not enough just to create a particular number of employment opportunities; attention also needs to be paid to the quality and social inclusiveness of the jobs on offer. Tensions and conflicts, exacerbated by the impacts of Covid-19, make it difficult to realise a sustainable “demographic dividend”.

Frank Swiaczny Sonja Haug Susanne Schmid Sabrina Gabel 20.01.2023 Benefiting from falling numbers of children

Matters are made worse by a whole range of increasingly serious environmental problems due to climate change, such as the growing incidence of droughts and floods. Rich industrialised regions like the EU, which have announced to invest in sustainable growth in Africa, should therefore put a special focus on family planning, empowerment of women and women’s access to education and sustainable jobs.

Frank Swiaczny is a researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden.
frank.swiaczny@bib.bund.de

Sonja Haug is Professor of Empirical Social Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg and a spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).
sonja.haug@oth-regensburg.de

Susanne Schmid is head of the “Social Development, Migration, Integration” department of the Academy for Politics and Contemporary Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).
schmids@hss.de

Sabrina Gabel is working for the German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammen­arbeit). Until recently, she was part of a project focused on population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights. The article reflects the author’s personal opinion.
sabrina.gabel@giz.de

Poverty Reduction Sustainability Gender Equality Off Off Frank Swiaczny

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden, Germany.

 

Sonja Haug

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as Professor of Empirical Social Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg and a spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Susanne Schmid

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is head of the “Social Development, Migration, Integration” department of the Academy for Politics and Contemporary Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Sabrina Gabel

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is working for the German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammen­arbeit).

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23-01-21_André de Mello e Souza-Brazil-8-January

21. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-21_André de Mello e Souza-Brazil-8-January dagmar.wolf Sat, 21.01.2023 - 02:00 In protest against legitimate election results, right-wing extremists vandalised government buildings Democracy under attack 8 January 2023 in Brasília looked like 6 January 2021 in Washington In protest against legitimate election results, right-wing extremists vandalised government buildings. Brazil’s institutions responded fast, but key questions remain unanswered. 21.01.2023Latin America and the Caribbean Meinung SDG16 SDG15 Demokratisierung Menschenrechte Recht Verwaltung Regierungsführung Informationstechnologien Institutionen

Collective violence from extreme right-wing supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro was feared and even expected after the October 30th 2022 runoff of Presidential elections. While there were indeed many demonstrations, road blocks and protest camps across the country, the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took place without disturbance on 1 January. The expectation was that the new government would thus no longer face anti-democratic activities.

It was wrong. On 8 January, an angry crowd of Bolsonaro supporters invaded the Presidential Palace, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Some 10,000 extremists, dressed in the colours of Brazil’s flag, vandalised the buildings of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Glass windows and doors were broken. Furniture and art works – many of high historical, cultural and financial value – were destroyed.

Controlling the vandals

After hours of rioting, reinforced security forces managed to control the vandals. By Monday evening, 1500 persons had been arrested. Some were caught in the act, but the investigative police also used photos and video to identify perpetrators of what was widely called acts of terrorism. Some culprits had posted incriminating images online.

Nonetheless, authorities’ failure to prevent the attack is deeply worrisome. The intelligence agency had issued several warnings about the risk of radical action. Nonetheless, the military police of the Federal District of Brasília escorted the mob through the capital. Some pictures show them appreciating the extremists. Bolsonaro always did his best to woo the security forces. Ibaneis Rocha, the governor of Federal District of Brasília, is a Bolsonaro ally and now considered an accomplice of the attacks.

The invasion of Brasília was orchestrated. Radicals were brought in by bus from all over Brazil. Transportation and food were paid for by businesses, mostly from the agricultural sector, where some big investors benefited from Bolsonaro’s disregard for the environment. Coordination was done on social networks, especially Twitter and Telegram.

International networking of the extreme right

The incidents in Brasília obviously resembled the riot in the US Capitol on 6 January 2020. There is evidence of the extreme right’s transnational networking. Supporters of former US President Donald Trump strategised with people who belong to Bolsonaro’s inner circle. Bolsonaro himself took refuge in Florida in late December, where he was hospitalised at the time of the invasion. That looked like a carefully planned alibi.

Brazil’s institutions did react forcefully. Lula announced a federal intervention in Brasília’s security forces, and Congress approved it fast. He also dismissed dozens of military leaders. A Supreme Court justice suspended Rocha from the regional government for 90 days. He also blocked Telegram and ordered that the content of messages from before 8 January must be sent to the federal police. Anderson Torres, who was in charge of public safety in the Federal District and is Bolsonaro’s former attorney general, was arrested – and so was the chief of Brasília’s military police.

Open questions  

Many analysts now see Brazil’s institutions, democracy and current government strengthened. The extremists who wanted to trigger a military coup failed. Key questions remain unanswered however.

  • Why was the military not called in? Some argue that, had the new government done so, it would have risked facing the refusal of several generals to intervene against the mob. Brasília’s military police chief claims the army had not let him remove a protest camp near the barracks. Lula says he did not want to let the miliary decide over a power grab.
  • What went wrong in the regional government? Perhaps Rocha knew what was going on, but he may have been misled by underlings.
  • What businesses were involved in funding the protests?
  • What role did foreign individuals and organisations play? Particularly interesting is how social media were used and manipulated internationally.

In this context, it is encouraging that many foreign leaders expressed solidarity with Lula fast.

André de Mello e Souza is an economist at Ipea (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada), a federal think tank in Brazil.
Twitter: @A_MelloeSouza

Governance Off Off André de Mello e Souza

contributed to D+C/E+Z in autumn of 2022. He is an economist at Ipea (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada), a federal think tank in Brazil. Twitter: @A_MelloeSouza

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23-01-20_Frank Swiaczny_Sonja Haug_Susanne Schmid_Sabrina Gabel - Africa - demographic dividend

20. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-20_Frank Swiaczny_Sonja Haug_Susanne Schmid_Sabrina Gabel - Africa - demographic dividend dagmar.wolf Fri, 20.01.2023 - 02:00 Under certain conditions, falling birth rates can produce a “demographic dividend”, for example in sub-Saharan Africa Demographic dividend Benefiting from falling numbers of children Birth rates are declining in some of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Under certain conditions, this can help promote economic development. Good strategies are needed for development to be achieved in line with climate and environmental goals. 20.01.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Hintergrund SDG1: no poverty SDG8 Bevölkerung Familienplanung Bildung Ausbildung Kinder Arbeit Volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung Armutsbekämpfung Entwicklungspolitik Entwicklungsstrategien Menschenrechte Nachhaltigkeit

Reconciling global population growth with sustainable development is one of the most critical issues humanity is facing. However, we are running out of time to achieve this goal. The climate crisis, biodiversity and ecosystem loss are advancing. At the same time, global resource consumption takes place on a massive scale.

Due to high birth rates, the world’s least developed countries have a very young age structure. Around 60 % of the population are less than 25 years old. In many of those countries, the population continues to grow, but with a decreasing trend. This opens up economic opportunities: if there is a decline in the number of births per woman in the wake of strong population growth, the proportion of people of working age in the population as a whole generally rises. This means there are more people available to drive the economy. Society has to take care of fewer children and elderly. This potential economic benefit of a demographic shift is called “demographic dividend”.

Mabingué Ngom 08.12.2021 Moving from crisis to dynamism on Sahara’s southern edges

However, a favourable age structure alone does not necessarily produce a demographic dividend. A number of factors may be involved in generating the kind of demographic capital that yields dividends that can improve people’s living conditions. Identifying those factors has been a long-standing focus of discussion. What is clear is that a high proportion of people in employment can promote economic development, if at the same time:

  • there is investment in human development – for example in health and education – and
  • new, well-paid jobs are created.

That, at least, is what is promised by development concepts based on classical economic growth theory. In the past, demographic dividends were observed in a number of countries in Asia, including the “tiger economies” of South Korea and Taiwan.

Today, birth rates are falling in many countries across sub-Saharan Africa. In Ethiopia, fertility has fallen from more than seven children per woman in 1990 to just four children today. The average for the region is 4.5 children. Whether this will culminate in a medium-term demographic dividend depends, among other things, on how fertility will fall in the future and to what extent investment in human development will take place. Consequently, the African Union (AU) focuses on investing in youth, so that African countries will benefit from population growth. This issue was also stressed by experts participating in a virtual conference at the university of applied sciences in Regensburg (Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg), Germany, at the end of 2021. The conference was organised by the “Migration, Integration and World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), development service provider GIZ, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and University of Koblenz-Landau (UKL).

Rising emissions

The conference also discussed a dilemma presented by demographic-fuelled economic development – the fact that it often gives rise to higher resource consumption and more emissions. This was the case with conventional industrialisation. It brought prosperity to many in the past, but it also meant that responsibility for around half of global warming today lies at the door of just 10 % of the human race – namely the world’s wealthiest. Resource consumption by today’s fastest-growing populations hardly contributes to the climate crisis at all.

It is hardly realistic for sub-Saharan Africa to achieve sustainable development through conventional industrialisation. On the one hand, the population continues to grow despite falling fertility rates; on the other, global sustainability limits have already been far exceeded as a result of the historical development of industrialised and emerging economies. Any such strategy for sub-Saharan Africa must therefore be viewed critically.

One way to realise economic development sustainably without following the same resource-intensive development path as industrialised countries is by “leapfrogging”. This means skipping certain stages of development, as happened in Nigeria, for example, with telephone infrastructure. The country leapfrogged landline-network development. Instead, mobile-phone contracts proliferated, creating direct opportunities for mobile-bank accounts.

Climate-friendly growth

Lots of small steps in different areas of development could contribute to climate-friendly growth. But many African countries are likely to find it difficult to replicate the surging development of economies in Asia. This is particularly true of countries still suffering from the consequences of civil wars and other conflicts. But whatever the environment, respect for sexual and reproductive rights should be guided by the principle of human rights.

In some African countries attitudes towards family planning are changing, as experts at the Regensburg conference pointed out. In Ethiopia, for instance, access to information on sexual and reproductive health has improved school enrolment and completion rates, especially for girls.

The need for sex education is high among young Africans, and the desire for fewer children and later pregnancies is widespread. However, every second woman in sub-Saharan Africa who wishes to use contraception has no opportunity to do so. There is a lack of services for young people, for example at health stations. These problems should be addressed. It would contribute to a sustainable population development based on respect for human rights and gender equality.

Literature

Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung, 2021: Globale Bevölkerungsentwicklung. Fakten und Trends. BiB.Bevölkerungs.Studien 1/2021.
https://www.bib.bund.de/Publikation/2021/Globale-Bevoelkerungsentwicklung.html?nn=15207364

Klingholz, R., Sütterlin, S., Kaps, A., Hinz, C., 2020: Wie in Afrika große Entwicklungssprünge möglich werden. Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung.
https://www.berlin-institut.org/studien-analysen/detail/schnell-bezahlbar-nachhaltig

Kaps, A., Schewe, A.-K., Klingholz, R., 2019: Wie sinkende Kinderzahlen Entwicklung beschleunigen. Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung.
https://www.berlin-institut.org/studien-analysen/detail/afrikas-demografische-vorreiter

Frank Swiaczny is a researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden.
frank.swiaczny@bib.bund.de

Sonja Haug is Professor of Empirical Social Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg and a spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).
sonja.haug@oth-regensburg.de

Susanne Schmid is head of the “Social Development, Migration, Integration” department of the Academy for Politics and Contemporary Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).
schmids@hss.de

Sabrina Gabel is working for the German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammen­arbeit). Until recently, she was part of a project focused on population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights. The article reflects the author’s personal opinion.
sabrina.gabel@giz.de

Poverty Reduction Sustainability Gender Equality Off Off Frank Swiaczny

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden, Germany.

 

Sonja Haug

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as Professor of Empirical Social Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg and a spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Susanne Schmid

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is head of the “Social Development, Migration, Integration” department of the Academy for Politics and Contemporary Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Sabrina Gabel

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is working for the German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammen­arbeit).

Überall anzeigen
Kategorien: english

23-01-19_Marian Burchardt_Florian Stoll - Ghana - tech industry - Box

19. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-19_Marian Burchardt_Florian Stoll - Ghana - tech industry - Box dagmar.wolf Thu, 19.01.2023 - 02:00 Germany’s BMZ is supporting Ghana in the fight against high youth unemployment with an initiative called “Invest for Jobs” Ghana Promoting employment in Ghana The high rate of unemployment among young people and university graduates is one of Ghana’s most urgent social and political problems. The lack of opportunities for young people leads to a high degree of dissatisfaction. It tends to destabilise democracy and increases the willingness to emigrate, thereby causing a possible brain drain. 19.01.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Hintergrund SDG4 SDG8 SDG9 Arbeit Armutsbekämpfung Bildung Ausbildung Informeller Sektor Sozialpolitik Sozialentwicklung

Official data is only gathered at irregular intervals, however, and it only captures people who have officially registered as unemployed. It leaves out, for example, the underemployed, informally employed and people working in jobs not suited to their qualifications. The methodology, which comes from Europe and North America, is of questionable use, particularly considering the large informal sector. This problem affects Ghana as well as other African countries, as the Ghanaian economist William Baah-Boateng (2016) has pointed out. According to a report by the World Bank (Dadzie et al. 2020), over half of those who are not officially considered unemployed are underemployed.

Irit Ittner 16.06.2022 Informal markets in Africa under pressure

BMZ support for seven African countries

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is tackling this problem. Since 2019, it has been supporting measures to promote employment in a total of seven African countries as part of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation (Sonderinitiative Ausbildung und Beschäftigung). In Ghana, the project has a total budget of € 38.3 million for the period from 2019 to 2025. The initiative also operates under the name “Invest for Jobs”. It is integrated into a more comprehensive project by the G20 states entitled “Compact with Africa”. In Ghana, GIZ is coordinating projects that cut across all sectors of the economy – from training bus drivers to supporting small farmers to telecommunications and IT. (For more on the IT sector in Ghana, see main story.)

The initiative is pursuing a variety of goals. On the one hand, the African countries that are receiving support are those that have made particularly good progress in the effort to achieve good governance. On the other hand, quick successes in employment promotion also have top priority. By supporting development on a local level, the initiative also aims at reducing the pressure of migration to Europe.

References

Baah-Boateng, W., 2016: The youth unemployment challenge in Africa: What are
the drivers? In: The Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 27 (4).

Dadzie, C. E., Fumey, M., Namara, S., 2020: Youth employment programs in Ghana: Options for effective policy making and implementation. International development in focus. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Marian Burchardt is a professor at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University and director of the research project presented here.
marian.burchardt@uni-leipzig.de

Florian Stoll has a postdoc position at the Institute for Sociology/Research Center Global Dynamics at Leipzig University and researches the reasons for job changes in Ghana as part of the project presented here.
florian.stoll@uni-leipzig.de

Poverty Reduction Off Off Marian Burchardt

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a professor at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University.

 

Florian Stoll

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. He has a postdoc position at the Institute for Sociology/Research Center Global Dynamics at Leipzig University.

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Kategorien: english

Sabrina Gabel

18. Januar 2023 - 14:26
Sabrina Gabel dagmar.wolf Wed, 18.01.2023 - 14:26 Sabrina Gabel sabrina.gabel@giz.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is working for the German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammen­arbeit).

Kategorien: english

Susanne Schmid

18. Januar 2023 - 14:24
Susanne Schmid dagmar.wolf Wed, 18.01.2023 - 14:24 Susanne Schmid schmids@hss.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. She is head of the “Social Development, Migration, Integration” department of the Academy for Politics and Contemporary Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Kategorien: english

Sonja Haug

18. Januar 2023 - 14:21
Sonja Haug dagmar.wolf Wed, 18.01.2023 - 14:21 Sonja Haug sonja.haug@oth-regensburg.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as Professor of Empirical Social Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg and a spokesperson for the “Migration, Integration, World Population” working group of the German Society for Demography (DGD).

 

Kategorien: english

Frank Swiaczny

18. Januar 2023 - 14:19
Frank Swiaczny dagmar.wolf Wed, 18.01.2023 - 14:19 Frank Swiaczny frank.swiaczny@bib.bund.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden, Germany.

 

Kategorien: english

23-01-18_Marian Burchardt_Florian Stoll - Ghana - tech industry

18. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-18_Marian Burchardt_Florian Stoll - Ghana - tech industry dagmar.wolf Wed, 18.01.2023 - 02:00 Ghana's IT companies are competing for the best minds both on the local and on the global labour market Labour market Brain drain in Ghana's tech industry Ghana’s IT sector offers comparatively attractive jobs and draws in ambitious, flexible young people. Competition for highly qualified talent is not only raging between domestic firms, but also increasingly on the global, digitised labour market. 18.01.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Hintergrund SDG4 SDG8 SDG9 Arbeit Bildung Ausbildung Globalisierung Informationstechnologie Privatwirtschaft

The situation on the Ghanaian labour market is difficult for young people. The global economic crisis did not spare Ghana: the country’s rate of inflation over the summer was over 30 %. Unemployment is high among young people and university graduates (see box).

Within the relatively small group of formally employed young people, many begin to look for new jobs immediately after being hired. Because of the large number of applicants for individual jobs, many people also accept positions with less-than-ideal pay, duties and working conditions. The position that is ultimately obtained is therefore by no means perceived as a guarantee for a fulfilling life and stable employment. Why is that? This question is being addressed by a research project situated since May 2020 at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University, Germany. The project is receiving funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The digital technologies sector presents a particularly good opportunity to study the dynamics of job switching. For several years, Ghanaian firms have been trying to copy India’s formula for successfully establishing a digital service industry. One such company, which we will call “Tiger Comp” to preserve its anonymity, was founded in 2019 and as of 2022 had created 200 jobs in Ghana and another African country. Tiger Comp offers young university graduates a six-month training programme in fields like software development, software testing and data analysis. After finishing the programme, trainees should receive a position and complete assignments for clients around the world.

A great deal of autonomy

In August 2022 we interviewed around 20 employees of this company, which is located in a medium-sized Ghanaian city. We asked them about their family backgrounds, their experiences during their training and job search and about their wishes and goals. Almost all of the respondents were unmarried, single and had a great deal of autonomy with regard to how they led their lives. They were free from local family ties, which allowed them to easily move to the medium-sized city from various regions. This independence persisted during their time at the company as well. Because their self-image was rooted in autonomy and personal success, they had a positive attitude towards a prolonged search for better jobs with quicker paths to promotion, higher base salaries and more lavish perks than those offered by Tiger Comp. This attitude also increased interviewees’ willingness to move to the next city for the next job, for instance to Accra and Kumasi, the largest centres, or even abroad.

The demand for well-educated specialists in the IT sector is high. In fact, training companies like Tiger Comp are to some extent victims of their own success. Occasionally, trainees quickly receive offers that pay two to three times their salary. The leadership of Tiger Comp therefore sees the recruitment of the best minds in the industry as a serious problem. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated this tendency. Our research revealed that European and American firms are also increasingly awarding contracts directly to IT specialists in low-income countries – not just to companies like Tiger Comp, but also to independent contractors who work in a Ghanaian home office.

Eyram Tawia Sabine Balk 29.09.2022 Fighting Coronavirus with a computer game

Competition on two labour markets

Firms like Tiger Comp are therefore competing for the best minds on two labour markets at once: the Ghanaian market on the one hand, and the global, borderless, digitised market on the other. The low cost of labour of Ghanaian companies – which is actually one of their advantages – also has a dark side: the firms simply cannot pay the wages offered by their western competitors. On the other hand, Ghanaian IT specialists who are employed abroad gain access to sources of income that can help thrive the domestic economy.

Although the employees of Tiger Comp repeatedly cited better earning opportunities as their central motivation to switch jobs, other factors also played a role. The working environment, for example, was occasionally seen as negative. On the other hand, the opportunity to have further training financed is a reason to stay put.

IT specialists in no way value risk-taking and professional flexibility for their own sakes. They are striving for a certain permanence in their professional lives, as long as it does not interfere with other goals, like financial stability. That also includes supporting relatives, who may have financed the education of the interviewees in the past.

In principle, IT specialists are privileged with regard to employment and advancement opportunities among working people in Ghana, for example when compared to the textile industry. In a textile factory we studied, employees earn only a fraction of the IT specialists’ wages. Their incomes are aligned with Ghana’s minimum wage, and they can hardly cover the costs of rent, transportation and food. Nevertheless, in 2022, none of the approximately 90 employees left the company of their own accord. Many told us that they wanted better-paying work, but had been unable to find it.

Marian Burchardt is a professor at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University and director of the research project presented here.
marian.burchardt@uni-leipzig.de

Florian Stoll has a postdoc position at the Institute for Sociology/Research Center Global Dynamics at Leipzig University and researches the reasons for job changes in Ghana as part of the project presented here.
florian.stoll@uni-leipzig.de

Poverty Reduction Governance Off Off Marian Burchardt

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a professor at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University.

 

Florian Stoll

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. He has a postdoc position at the Institute for Sociology/Research Center Global Dynamics at Leipzig University.

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Kategorien: english

Florian Stoll

17. Januar 2023 - 17:41
Florian Stoll dagmar.wolf Tue, 17.01.2023 - 17:41 Florian Stoll florian.stoll@uni-leipzig.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023. He has a postdoc position at the Institute for Sociology/Research Center Global Dynamics at Leipzig University.

Kategorien: english

Marian Burchardt

17. Januar 2023 - 17:37
Marian Burchardt dagmar.wolf Tue, 17.01.2023 - 17:37 Marian Burchardt marian.burchardt@uni-leipzig.de

contributed to D+C/E+Z in winter of 2022/2023 as a professor at the Institute for Sociology at Leipzig University.

 

Kategorien: english

23-01-17_Martin Kämpchen - learning Bengali - Box

17. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-17_Martin Kämpchen - learning Bengali - Box admin Tue, 17.01.2023 - 02:00 There is disagreement about whether children should be taught in Hindi or English after their respective regional language Identity Language politics in India The Indian states are largely divided along language borders, which reveals how important language is to political identity. 17.01.2023South Asia In brief Zivilgesellschaft

Correspondingly, Bengali is the language of the state of West Bengal and of the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, wrote in this language. With the founding of his university, Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, over 100 years ago, he very consciously maintained the region’s cultural heritage under British colonial rule. He also expanded it with songs that are still popular today.

Nowadays, however, there is an ongoing political battle in India about in which school year and in which order children should learn Hindi and English after their regional language. The central government has been trying for decades to make Hindi the national language, an effort that has intensified since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of the Hindu-chauvinist BJP party, took office.

English-medium schools

In large cities there is nevertheless a strong trend towards private English-medium schools. The urban middle class is success-oriented from an economic standpoint. These parents want their children to learn English. If they do not have a good command of spoken and written English, they will not attain leadership positions in business, government or law. The great importance of the language of the former colonial power leads to a certain alienation (see main text).

For many, however, Hindi is not an attractive alternative, because it is only spoken natively in North India. Since English is equally foreign to everyone, people from other regions appreciate it as comparatively neutral territory. In principle, it would not be harder for them to learn than it would be for their compatriots from the North. This is especially true in South India, where Dravidian languages prevail, which are not at all related to Indo-European languages like Hindi, Bengali or Gujarati. 


Martin Kämpchen is an author and literary translator living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal.
martin.kaempchen2013@gmail.com

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23-01-16_Nyasha Bhobo - South Africa - churches after Covid-19

16. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-16_Nyasha Bhobo - South Africa - churches after Covid-19 dagmar.wolf Mon, 16.01.2023 - 02:00 Church administrators are decrying declining numbers of worshippers after Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa Churches Churches in South Africa lose worshippers after pandemic The Covid-19 lockdowns changed behaviour patterns as health experts discouraged physical meetings. In South Africa, going to church is one of the most popular traditions for Christians. 16.01.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Nowadays

Technology allowed online church attendance through platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp. Now, as the world reintroduces physical meetings, church administrators are decrying low numbers of worshippers.

Church and faith establishments are not only a faith issue, but also an economic enterprises. The country has a very high unemployment rate  which has led to the emergency of “faith entrepreneurs” who use religion to collect money from church attenders. Attracting a large followership means that “pastors” or evangelists of these churches can collect large sums of money from their followers.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, church business became digitised. Faith entrepreneurs were able to open “Zoom churches”. The venture was very lucrative because the church could hold multiple sessions, have attendees from all over the world and collect money (tithe, offerings) using digital payment platforms.

Congregants quitting their churches

As the pandemic subsides, South Africa’s churches are suffering from a ‘great quitting’, with congregants vanishing from Sunday Zoom church services and quitting their old churches as they get poached by rival congregations.

“I’m a pastor – thanks to the pandemic which is vanishing, the migration from online to offline has led to a ‘great quitting’ of my worshippers,” says pastor Leonard Cele, of the Greater African Boksburg Church in Johannesburg.

“The wave of ‘Zoom churches’ we held in 2020 meant that at the click of a button, my flock could attend five different services from five different churches in a day from their Wi-Fi enabled laptop at home. Now Zoom churches have declined, and 30 % of my flock can’t show up in person back at church. I’m not sure if I have lost them to rival churches or if they have abandoned the faith briefly or completely,” Cele says.

The return to normal after the pandemic has not been an easy transition for people and institutions around the world. New realities created during the pandemic have become a norm that is hard to shake off. For pastors like Cele, the return to normal has brought new challenges. While worshippers could attend multiple events online, this is not possible with physical churches. People now must choose which church to attend.

“It’s a crisis for pastors. There is less money and earnings in tithe if worshippers quit their established churches,” says Kudakwashe Magezi, a poet in Johannesburg.

The harsh Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa saw church services banned alongside other mass gatherings like beerhalls, sports events, and weddings. Churches are a major part of South Africa’s economy as they must pay a tax to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to operate. Pastors too pay an income tax and make contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). In 2022, SARS made over 900 million Rand ($ 52 million) from non-compliant churches and luxury car owners after an audit of 33 churches.


Nyasha Bhobo is a freelance writer based in South Africa.
nyashabhobo@gmail.com

Governance Off Off Nyasha Bhobo

is a freelance writer based in South Africa.

Kategorien: english

23-01-15_Martin Kämpchen - learning Bengali

15. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-15_Martin Kämpchen - learning Bengali admin Sun, 15.01.2023 - 02:00 Ever since author Martin Kämpchen learned to speak Bengali, he has seen India with new eyes Languages Understanding people in their native language The author Martin Kämpchen lives in Shantiniketan, a small university town in the state of West Bengal. Ever since he learned Bengali, the local language, in the 1980s, he has seen India with new eyes. 15.01.2023South Asia Hintergrund Recht

It took a long time, too long, for me to decide to learn Bengali. After graduating from university, I came to Calcutta as a German teacher and thought that I would stay for one or two years before returning to Europe. Things turned out differently. I taught for three years and then decided to begin a new course of study in Chennai (South India). Another three years! Afterwards, when I wanted to extend my studies again and conclude my research by earning a doctorate, it became clear to me that now I had to learn an Indian language.

I was living in West Bengal again, though not in Calcutta, but in the small university town of Shantiniketan, which was once home to India’s national poet, Rabindranath Tagore. At that time there was no “Bengali for Non-Bengalis” class. So, I hired a private tutor.

A particular challenge

I had learned English and French and was quite proficient in both languages after having spent a year each in Wisconsin and Paris. But I was aware that learning an Oriental language, even within the region where it was spoken, was a particular challenge.

Bengali has its own script, which is related to Devanagari (the script in which Sanskrit and Hindi are written). This script represents some vowels where they are spoken in the word. However, others are placed in front of the consonants after which they are pronounced, and one other vowel is represented only at the beginning of the word and nowhere else.

The syntax is different from that of European languages. Verbs appear at the end of sentences, and instead of prepositions, postpositions are attached to nouns. The language does not assign nouns’ gender, but does use polite forms that correspond to the German “Sie”, even when referring to people in the third person singular or plural. Often, the meaning of a word only becomes clear based on its position in the sentence. Therefore, I had to learn to understand the world using hitherto unknown linguistic differentiations, while at the same time dispensing with familiar categories.

An overwhelmed teacher

My Bengali instructor was a young man with a master’s degree in philosophy, but no training as a language teacher. He probably thought: I’m Bengali, so I can teach Bengali. He had an intuitive command of grammar and syntax, like most native speakers, but couldn’t explain the rules.
My instructor tried to teach me like I was a six-year-old learning how to write in school. His pedagogical cluelessness combined with his pride in his native tongue made learning difficult for me. On top of everything else, I was already over 30 and therefore no longer at an age when acquiring a language comes easily. If only I had started ten years earlier! I was often discouraged.

At the time there were no textbooks for people like me. Now there are a few, of which William Radice’s “Complete Bengali”, with its accompanying audio component, is the best. Radice taught Bengali at the London School of Oriental and Asian Studies and has made a name for himself as a translator.

A new world opens up

I learned to speak more quickly than I learned to read and write. After a few months, I noticed that I could conduct preliminary, basic conversations with ordinary people. An incredible new world opened up! It became clear to me how important one’s native language can be to people – especially if they don’t speak any other languages and perhaps also can’t read or write.

Conversely, I realised that our knowledge of those with whom we cannot communicate in their language will remain very paltry. A native language is like a second skin, or a person’s aura. Their personality is only revealed when we speak, listen and respond.

I discovered West Bengal anew when I began to understand the conversations happening around me. My sympathy for poor, simple, unlettered and subordinate people as well as for manual labourers took on a new dimension. These people are in continuous communication with one another. Their need to communicate is great. Once I understood enough Bengali, this anonymous humanity became individuals with characters. After six years of waiting, I was getting to know India.

India lives in its villages

Mahatma Gandhi said that India lives in its villages, or in other words in ordinary people. Now I felt the truth of this statement.

Anybody who wants to work consistently with people from disadvantaged social classes has to learn their language. It creates trust, deepens communication and facilitates mutual understanding. Whoever is dependent on translations, however, cannot perceive his/her counterpart as a “whole person”, because nuanced expressions of joy, grief, hope and disappointment are easily lost. We only know how close we can come to people when we speak their native language, once we have actually experienced it.

Whoever carries out development cooperation without this knowledge cannot reach the target group directly and will also never truly understand the socio-economic power relations. As a result, they are unlikely to achieve lasting success.

India has 22 official languages. They are promoted by the state, taught in schools and their literature is supported by the state literature academy (Sahitya Akademi). Native languages reign in the family, in neighbourhoods, in villages. Since I have lived in India, there have been discussions back and forth about what value native languages should have in the education system. The insight that children should first be taught in their native language was slow to gain acceptance.

I provide mentorship and mobilise donations from Germany to support the development efforts of a community project conducted by two Adivasi organisations. The primary school they operate offers instruction in Santali, the native language of this marginalised ethnic group. Different scripts are used in India for texts in Santali. Our village school uses the Bengali alphabet because the children will have to learn that language and its associated script anyway.

The fact that Adivasi children are being taught in their own language remains an exception, unfortunately. Conversely, in the cities there is a strong trend towards English-language private schools, meaning that there, too, many children are being taught in a language that is not their native tongue (see box).


Books

Kämpchen, M., 2022: Mein Leben in Indien. Ostfildern, Patmos Verlag.

Kämpchen, M., 2020: Indo-German exchanges in education. Rabindranath Tagore meets Paul and Edith Geheeb. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.

Radice, W., 2010: Complete Bengali. London, Teach Yourself.

Tagore, R., 2015: An den Ufern der Stille. Lyrik. Aus dem Bengalischen übersetzt von Martin Kämpchen. Ostfildern, Patmos.


Martin Kämpchen is an author and literary translator living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal. In his recently published autobiography he describes, among other things, his decades-long collaboration with two Adivasi organisations, which also receive support from the German association Freundeskreis Ghosaldanga und Bishnubati.
martin.kaempchen2013@gmail.com
https://www.dorfentwicklung-indien.de/home/

Governance Off Off Martin Kämpchen
Kategorien: english

23-01-07_D+C/E+Z - e-Paper-Werbung

14. Januar 2023 - 2:00
23-01-07_D+C/E+Z - e-Paper-Werbung admin Sat, 14.01.2023 - 02:00 What purposes our Digital Monthly serves, and how it differs from the print issue D+C/E+Z Why we believe in our Digital Monthly We are sometimes asked why our Digital Monthly is valuable long term, and how it differs from our print issue. Here are the reasons. Country 14.01.2023Global In brief

Our Digital Monthly compiles four weeks’ worth of content on our website. Anyone who downloads it, can read it off-line. We believe that the Digital Monthly is valuable, especially in places where internet connectivity cannot be taken for granted. To ensure the download is feasible, we have reduced the size of the e-Paper, and plan to keep it below five MB consistently. Moreover, we focus on topics of lasting relevance. Most of our stories are not outdated fast, but help to assess lasting trends.  

Those who read the Digital Monthly as soon as it is published will find that it includes several items that have not yet appeared on the website. Our team is too small to cover breaking news, and we make sure we post something on our website at least six times per week. All of our contributions are original content  written for D+C/E+Z.

In countries under authoritarian rule, moreover, it is safer to download an e-Paper fast than to stay on our website for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, not all governments welcome our insistence on good governance and human rights. Spy agencies increasingly monitor the web, but keeping track of e-Papers is very difficult.

Our Digital Monthly differs from our print issues, which we publish every two months. The print issues only include a selection of the articles we post on the website. In the past, we published 11 print issues per year, but postal services are expensive and snail mail is slow. We therefore decided to reduce the number of print issues and produce more content online.

For those of our readers who were used to the monthly rhythm, however, we kept producing the Digital Monthly. Back copies are accessible in our archive. If you like, you can download all e-papers we produced since 2016 free of charge. The archive is a long-term resource.

At the beginning of every month, we post the Digital Monthly on our homepage. If you want to be made aware of every new issue, please subscribe to our newsletter.

If, on the other hand, you’re interested in the print issue, free subscriptions are currently available here.

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13. Januar 2023 - 11:36
Newsletter admin Fri, 13.01.2023 - 11:36

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