Saturday Morning Reading #34

Here’s your Saturday morning reading…

1. The poor within our ranks | Michael Keller – WhyDev
Having more aid workers from disadvantaged backgrounds could help reduce alienation ( through understanding what it’s like to come into contact with economic classes above your own), inject a healthy skepticism of external expertise, and increase understanding of beneficiary humiliation, the value of small sums of money and coping mechanisms.

2. Poverty’s Long Farewell | The Economist
Getting to zero absolute poverty by 2030 as suggested in the draft Sustainable Development Goals will be very tough. Progress since 1990 has been easier due to there being a large number of people on an income just below the threshold ($1.25) that are now above it. Those that are left are often marginalised within their countries and/or in fragile and conflict-afflicted states. Projections that show the world getting to zero poverty by 2030 rely on optimistic GDP growth forecasts. However, reducing within-country inequality and boosting growth for the bottom 40% could make this goal a reality. Therefore governments should prioritise spending that would help the poor the most such as rural infrastructure and healthcare.

3. Could women’s access to finance solve global poverty? | Alice Allan – Double X Economy
“It’s very exciting to see a draft gender goal [in the Sustainable Development Goals], which for the first time ever, really recognises the specific barriers women face in achieving economic empowerment.”
Alice Allan from CARE International UK looks at how we ensure the goal survives the realpolitik of the final negotiating stages and is optimistic due to links with access to finance, the fact that it is possible to create measurable targets and links to the private sector.
I would extend this from local NGOs to local governments…
“Donors have become very specific in their demands; they want every penny to be spent in the place they determine or approve. They refuse for the money that they dedicate for a project to be spent on anything other than the preapproved costs, too few of which are operational. […] What it has really done is make people more motivated to cheat and maneuver. It has only reduced funding opportunities to parties that are actually transparent in their spending.”
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