Syndicate content

December 2017

Public perceptions of migration: The fear of the other is more nuanced than we think

Kirsten Schuettler's picture


In chapter 1 of book 1 of Adam Smith’s foundational economics book, The Wealth of Nations, he explains the concept of the division of labor. He uses the example of a pin factory.
 
    To take an example, therefore, from a very trifling manufacture, but one in which the division of labour has been very often taken notice of, the trade of a pin-maker: a workman not educated to this business (which the division of labour has rendered a distinct trade, nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the same division of labour has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty.

More qualified procurement personnel will strengthen Afghanistan’s reform efforts

Anand Kumar Srivastava's picture
With support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, the Afghan government is taking steps to professionalize procurement and improve capability in ministries and other government institutions.
With support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the Afghan government is taking steps to professionalize procurement to improve the capability of ministries and other government institutions. Photo Credit: NPA/World Bank

Recruiting the right people for the right jobs is the drive behind the first mass recruitment carried out by the Government of Afghanistan to improve public services. The process is currently underway as part of the government’s civil service and procurement reforms to improve capacity in ministries. Almost 700 highly qualified women and men are expected to be recruited by the end of 2017.

The ongoing recruitment, led by the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC), is in tune with the government’s efforts to professionalize procurement and improve capability in ministries and other government institutions.
 
Candidates are undergoing a rigorous selection process, including a mass examination, which saw about 7,800 people take the exam. IARCSC is working closely on this initiative with the National Procurement Authority (NPA), which is providing technical support, and the Ministry of Higher Education, which is facilitating the examination process.

Can tackling childcare fix STEM’s gender diversity problem?

Rudaba Z. Nasir's picture
Girls attend school. Pakistan. © Caroline Suzman/World Bank
Girls attend school. Pakistan. © Caroline Suzman/World Bank


Growing up in Pakistan, I often wondered why boys were expected to become doctors or engineers while girls, including me, were encouraged to pursue teaching or home economics. So, when my cousin Sana became the first woman in my family to start a career in engineering, she also became my idol. But a few months later, my excitement soured when Sana quit her job halfway through her first pregnancy. Sana’s story, however, is not unique. Women make up less than 18 percent of Pakistan’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals. Traditional gender roles and lack of access to formal childcare often play a critical role in many women’s decisions to forgo STEM careers.

Weekly links December 15: non-frivolous frivolous expenses, Indian internal borders, aspirations, and much more…

David McKenzie's picture

“Test and punish”?

There’s a debate raging in American schools today: how (and how much) should children be tested?

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act created a system where all children in all schools from grades 3 to 8 must be tested each year. Critics refer to this accountability architecture as “test and punish,” with stakes such as school funding (or closings!), bonuses for teachers, or grade promotion for students all riding on performance. There is evidence that NCLB improved learning outcomes, but improvements came at a high cost: In addition to teaching to the test, this approach can lead to a number of perverse incentives, like keeping weaker students at home on test day, narrowing the curriculum, or downright cheating. Worse, some have said they can serve to mask and contribute to the structural race and class inequalities in the United States.

Three reasons why maritime transport must act on climate change

Nancy Vandycke's picture
A Syrian child in Zaatari Camp uses a water kiosk designed for hand washing and water collection. 
Photo: Oxfam International

Imagine that you must flee home at once. You may be fleeing violence, social tensions, poor environmental conditions, or even persecution. You and your loved ones may walk for several days to find safety, and may even go for periods without food.
 
What would you need to survive?
 
The answer is clean water. Finding drinkable water is one of the first steps in your journey to a new home. If you instead consume contaminated water, you risk exposure to several diseases. Drinking water unfit for consumption may not only harm your health in the short run -- drinking unclean water may cause life-long health problems. And of course, these problems multiply if entire communities, or even cities, face these health problems.
 
At the end of this leg of the journey, you may end up in a densely populated refugee camp. Many refugee camps quickly become quasi cities that suffer from poor planning, poor water supplies, and poor sanitation. Keeping these makeshift cities clean and safe is a herculean task. For many refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in these water scarce cities, it is difficult to access water supply and sanitation facilities.
 
The situation is even more dire for refugees or IDPs in the water-scarce Mashreq subregion*. The demographic shock of mass migration compounds already complex challenges in the region -- from climate shocks to crumbling infrastructure. According to the World Bank report Turbulent Waters: Pursuing Water Security in Fragile Contexts, water security is more difficult to achieve in fragile contexts because of a range of factors, including weak institutions and information systems, strained human and financial resources, and degraded infrastructure.

Why don’t people migrate more? A lab experiment of sequential decision-making: Guest post by Zach Barnett-Howell

The most recent World Bank Commodity Markets Outlook forecasts commodities prices to level off next year after big gains for industrial commodities—energy and metals—in 2017. Commodity prices appear to be stabilizing after a boom that peaked in 2011, albeit at a higher average level than pre-boom.
 
Chart 1

#9 from 2017: Virtual Reality - The Future of Immersive Learning for Development

Sheila Jagannathan's picture

Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2017. This post was originally published on March 7, 2017.  

In the blink of an eye, virtual reality can take you from a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan to a first responder’s mission in Nepal, from practicing surgery in NigeriaFormer Bougainvillean combatant, now cocoa farmer Timothy Konovai tries out VR for the first time (World Bank/Alana Holmberg to tracking storms from earth observation satellites across South America. Virtual reality adds a new dimension to the learning experience: presence, the feeling of actually being in another place.
 
Learning from this new generation technology is becoming available at your fingertips for a minimal cost. Although virtual reality is still in its infancy, its cutting-edge approach and storytelling is already impacting development education, where it can draw us closer to the many development challenges we face.
 
What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to technology that generates realistic images, sounds, and other sensory inputs that replicate an environment. A headset completely immerses the individual in the environment being generated. Immersion is a word you will hear quite a bit related to virtual reality: immersive learning, immersive simulations, or immersive applications. The most famous virtul reality tool now is probably Oculus Rift.

What Exactly is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to technology that generates realistic images, sounds, and other sensory inputs that replicate an environment. A headset completely immerses the individual in the environment being generated. Immersion is a word you will hear quite a bit related to virtual reality: immersive learning, immersive simulations, or immersive applications. The most famous virtul reality tool now is probably Oculus Rift.

How will Argentina achieve universal access to water and sanitation? Takeaways from International Water Association Conference in Buenos Aires

Gustavo Saltiel's picture

“More and better jobs” is a goal for many policymakers around the world (along with part of the title for a recent World Bank South Asia flagship report on employment). How to create “good jobs” is a key question that the next World Development Report is also expected to help answer.

What is so unique about the growth (or decline) of cities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia?

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture



L’impact du changement climatique sur l’hydrologie, les ressources naturelles et les différents secteurs de l’économie -  allant de l’agriculture au transport, en passant par l’énergie – est depuis longtemps un sujet de recherche et de débat. Mais ses effets sur la pêche, un des principaux secteurs d’activité en Afrique et qui fait vivre de nombreux Africains, sont souvent moins bien compris.

Que sait-on des conséquences du changement climatique sur la pêche ?

L’augmentation de la température de l’océan causée par le changement climatique, oblige les poissons à migrer des zones équatoriales vers des zones plus froides, et entraîne aussi une diminution de leur taille. Ce phénomène de réchauffement agit également sur la quantité des réserves halieutiques, leur flux migratoire et leur taux de mortalité.

C4D2-Training: Working with regional statistics training centers to improve household surveys in Africa

Shelton Kanyanda's picture

Household surveys are an important source of development data, but in low- and middle-income countries the capacity to conduct and analyze them varies widely. To help address this issue, the World Bank’s Rome-based hub for innovation in household surveys and agricultural statistics—the Center for Development Data (C4D2)—and several Italian partners launched the C4D2 Training Program to increase the capacity of lecturers from statistical training centers in Africa to design and implement sound and modern household surveys.

Participants listening to a presentation by the Bank of Italy on Measuring Wealth

The Program’s first initiative, a week-long training course on “Designing Household Surveys to Measure Poverty” was held from November 27 to December 1 in Perugia, Italy, at facilities provided by the Bank of Italy. Participants included lecturers from the Eastern African Statistics Training Center, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d'Economie Appliquée, and experts from the African Center for Statistics of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Instructors included staff from the World Bank, the Bank of Italy, the Italian National Institute of Statistics, and the Italian Institute of Health. The Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development is providing funding for this initiative.


Pages