Comments on: Make Your Voice Heard: How to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger Making the Millennium Development Goals Happen Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:09:41 +0000 hourly 1 By: RAJAN BABU RAJAN BABU Fri, 10 Dec 2010 18:30:26 +0000 I am working in a nationalised bank as a seniour manager/Agri&rural development.Through out my career I worked for ultra poor and marginalised.The success is in three ways for leading a sustainable way of life is;
1.utilizing the local resources for their livlihood.
2.Improvizing the local traditional technology on par with current scenario.
3.coverting our educational curriculam into employable skill oriented.
My main monthra is developing a women means we develop that family. Developing one women in each family the entire villege will be developed.

By: Ayele Tefera Ayele Tefera Wed, 24 Nov 2010 09:49:17 +0000 First all all I like thanks to give us this Opportunity to say some words.
I think to Implementing those MdGs all members of the world includes give the chance to the owners of the problems. that mean this the Africans and Asian Country’s peoples has equal opportunity to Live ,to lead,create,to Use resources so the UN,G20 Empower nations dont be inter vine among us we can solve Our problem by our selves And also give them attentions can we discussed about fair distributive of wealth ,discrimination,and like climate change Issues. any way we thank all to Financial or other Support But the its not Long term Solution Just Support Us By Increment of our productivity by S toping bad and past Activities .This is the project not necessary Other to achieved the Md Gs.

By: K Laxminarayana Rao K Laxminarayana Rao Wed, 10 Nov 2010 06:03:09 +0000 Most of programmes aimed at eradication of extreem poverty are failing because of poor involvement of implimetors of these programmes. We need to know that the poor are generally beleivers of god and age old traditions and do not have the habit of saving for the future. Any aid given to them will be spent on performing rituals or offering to gos rather than for the programme aimed to provide them livlihood. Ant profit generated out of a livily hood opportunity also first goes towards performin g rituals and offering to god, since they beleive it is the god who hard them and the aid came in the form of a poverty erradication scheme. They also want to share their profits with their friends and relatives or celeberate their new income with them. Such beleifs and traditions should be removed and only then the programmes will becoame successfull. The Implimenting agencies therefore should study the behaviour of people and local traditions and ensure that money spent on poverty reduction programmes are utilised for the purpose for which it is granted and income generated from such programmes are saved for future or reinvested and not spent on rituals. Also on no account aid should be given in the form of cloath or food freely except during natural calamities. Funds should be utilised to create employment and build infrastructure so that people earn their livlihood and spend it justifieably on their daily needs, such as food and cloathing or building shelter.
While providing training to develop or upgrade skills care should be taken to ensure that the money spent should result in a asset /infrastructure or a marketable product. For example if you are training people in masonery or making bricks you should be in a position to construct a building while training the youth in masomery or brick making or welding and fabrication. After all a carpentors son or Goldsmoths son learnt the art of making furniture or ornament while working with his father.

By: Olfa G. Tantawi Olfa G. Tantawi Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:42:21 +0000 Advertising poverty

She looked at me with a radiant smile and spoke with a tone of voice swollen with pride, “look at me I have green eyes, when my uncle saw this photo he said I am as beautiful as those slim dazzling women that we watch in American movies”. I smiled back showing astonishment and admiration. Every thing about the young teenage girl was actually brown, brown hair, tanned skin, and small rounded glowing eyeballs reflecting all shades of brown from chocolate to honey. My surprise at the girl’s obstinate conviction that she had green eyes, because her manipulated photo said so, was combined with a realization that; though she comes from a disadvantaged surrounding, had to work as a servant when she was only ten years old, could not read nor write, could not and did not understand English or any other foreign languages, she and her entire family actually watched closely the popular American soap operas that get often shown in Egyptian television.

Both the girl’s own manufactured photo and the American movies’ dazzling women had created a world that existed in parallel to the real world; and instead of living in the world of reality, she chose to move into this other, seemingly better world of fantasy. However, in her brown eyes that was no fantasy, because it has materialized in the form of a concrete photo, a document that she drew in the face of anybody and everybody to prove that she actually had green eyes.

Latter, when I joined an NGO working in an impoverished area at El Hadaba El Wosta in Mokattam hills in Cairo I realized that despite the actual harsh living conditions, a rather expensive photo shooting session for young teenagers, girls and boys, was actually a popular trend. The resulting photo would be usually remotely connected to the original image of the subject, yet s/he would usually be very proud of the remoulded copy of his or her own figure.

The Denial Choice

When the youth of the Ngo produced a short documentary about the images of life in the Mokatam surroundings the immediate reaction was an infuriated crowd of parents shouting angrily. They blamed the NGO and their children, who shared in the shooting and editing, for showing the mountains of trashed waste that has become almost an integral part of the natural scenery of the place. Their pride was wounded and feelings hurt as if this film was describing them and not the place they lived in. They simply did not want to see, in a film or an image, the huge mountains of harsh reality that lay at the doorsteps of their own houses.

In the media world it is this power of imagery that is at play all the time. In order to sell products, advertisers sell images not only of the product but also of the happy jolly people who consume this product. Of course these cheerful consumers are good looking if not strikingly beautiful and very well dressed; They act, walk, and talk, in a space that is radiant and calm, green mountains, prairies, beautiful houses, exquisite decoration, in short the very opposite of what poverty is.

Poor, on the other hand, is seen and heard in the context of social disruption of some sort, a motive for committing crimes, poor is simply ugly. In a documentary entitled “marazzeek” (an Arabic word that means random unsteady income as opposed to regular salary) an Egyptian peasant who lives in a poor village in Upper Egypt describes herself saying: “I am not beautiful, I know that, will never be and I do not care, not any more”.

The point that is at issue here is that the mediated world of advertisements and entertainment is imposing a passive reactive attitude of denial for the marginalized masses that turns them away from fighting back to emerge from their sad conditions. Instead, very often they choose to follow the same consumption patterns of the privileged minority as advertised in every day media in disregard for their own economic conditions and constraints. Thus, they congregate to buy mobile phones ( recent studies show that there are 57million mobile device in the Egyptian market) and Satellite dishes while their own houses might not, literally, have a solid roof to protect them from the cold and rains of winter.

Praising actions not looks

Franz Fanon(1968) observes, rightly, that “A national culture is the whole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thought to describe, justify, and praise the actions through which the people has created itself and keeps itself in existence.”(As cited in A. Mersepassi, A. Bassu& F. Weaver, 2003, p.195)

In his book Architecture for the poor Egypt’s renowned architect Hassan Fathy revealed the embedded wisdom of traditional architectural designs and techniques common in rural Egyptian villages, a wisdom that the poor Egyptian fellah accumulated through his interaction with nature and lead him to the creative use of available natural resources in the form of materials such as earth, reed, straw or stone. Fathy re-introduced environmentally sound techniques such as wind catches, cooling towers, the mushrabiya window screen, vernacular devices and proven methods for cooling structures; techniques that became, ironically, the astounding features of some of Egypt’s most rich households.

The ability of the poor to survive adversative conditions is not a legend of the past in the form of a monumental architect. It is a skill that has long been abandoned simply because the consumption ethos of modern times is based on craving demand as opposed to the old wisdom of making ultimate use of the available resources.

Unilever Value Chain

In an attempt to explore the links between international business and poverty reduction Unilever and Oxfam worked together in a collaborative research effort to examine the impacts and effects of Uniliver operations on economic development and poverty alleviation in Indonesia. The research explored Unilever ‘s entire value chain in Indonesia, examining issues such as the company’s employment policies and practices from supply through distribution, its relationships with poor consumers in the marketplace, and its wider impact in the community and on the business sector. In dealing with marketing and advertising goods for the poor both organizations agreed that marketing to the poor could serve the poor’s interests:

“If product choice and competition leads to lower prices, and if consumers are provided with better information about products.”

Though basically well intentioned and reasonable, these two conditions are actually seen from a macro economic position rather then down to earth social stand. The impact of the televised advertising of a worldview of luxury and wealth prompts an uneven competition not between two different products that are equal in importance, but between the social fantasy and the harsh reality of a strained economic condition. Providing better information about products is largely the concern of the educated wealthy. When the poor buys a product he is embracing the worldview that this product is promoting, which undermines the element of free choice and most certainly decreases the ability to make wise choices.

Nevertheless, the research in the final analysis does lay down the foundations for the marketing and advertising of goods to work for the poor:

If it gives them access to high quality products that are good for health or well being more generally
If it improves the value of their limited disposable income
If it increases economic opportunities in their communities by creating jobs in the distribution network or the supply chain: in particular jobs that provide working capital or new types of skill and opportunity.

Still all these conditions in the absence of awareness, will have a very limited impact.

The Charity Pornography

So far the industry of media and communication, outside the context of charity campaigns, did not care to recognize the poor. In the world of development hundreds if not thousands of charity campaigns have made use of such photos of powerless, helpless poor women with a flock of ill and mal-nurtured little boys and girls heaving around, to advertise for their noble goals and to elicit responses from generous donors. All these vivid representations of poverty massively over a long period of time represent a sort of “development pornography”. Inevitably they send simplistic messages that foster racist stereotypes, striping an entire population of their dignity and encourage prejudice. Further they help projecting a stereotyped image that these helpless and incompetent communities in the developing world whether in Africa or Asia are in need and will be in need for perhaps indefinitely and that without aid, donations and charitable donors, they cannot survive (Sankore, 2006).

Nevertheless, access to new technologies by individuals means simply an access to power where the consumer is perceived as an “active” subject, an independent variable in the consumption process. (Fortunati, 2006) A recent study on exchanging messages using missed calls drew attention to the creative use of the mobile by the poor to avoid being charged for phone calls forcing phone companies to allow customers send open requests in the form of a very basic signal to friends for a phone call (Donner,2007).

Practical Solutions

In their book, “fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid” (2002), C.K. Prahald and Stuart L. Hart sought to prove that “low income markets are a great opportunity for the wealthiest companies to seek their fortune and bring prosperity to the aspiring poor” (p.1) This has been proven to be a true theory that could work in certain conditions:

The number one practical solution is from our field work. At Alwan wa Awtar a major component is to work on boosting a positive self image. All our activities, arts, music, photography, and even sciences are designed to help the children feel better about themselves, to have a positive self image, and to trust their abilities and skills

On a larger scale mobile companies, internet service providers, international businesses, advertisers and various TV channels play a conscious responsible role in recognizing the disadvantaged masses. Research should be conducted to focus on the effects of consumption patterns on the general community welfare ( we encounter the negative effects on daily basis this is a change that needs to be on a macro scale).

Media has an important role to play to reintegrate the poor in the wider social and political context, to engage them in the wider conversation of rules and power, and most notably to hold them accountable for his own welfare.

Advertising for development campaigns should stress the role of the poor in any development project. The Poor should not be portrayed as a recipient of aid but as potential entrepreneur, an added value.

There is a dire need to tell the stories of success, fruitful results, aid receivers who became donors, youth who were able to turn their lives towards productivity. Some of them should be made into national figures an emblem that stirs feelings of hope and pride.

Finally, while media is largely a medium controlled by the elite a conscious effort to recognize the larger masses and to include them in the ongoing conversation could boost the poor’s own self-respect and turn them into active players in the battle to alleviate poverty.

Useful References:

J. Meyrowitz, 2004. Mythologies of big media corporations, April, number 119 (September), pp. 12–13

Jason W. Clay, Exploring the links between international business and poverty reduction : a case study of Unilever in Indonesia,M1

Peters, Durham, John, Speaking into the air. University of Chicago Press, 1999

Miresepassi, Ali, Basu, Amrita & Weaver Fredrick, Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World. Syracuse University Press 2003

Panel on Technology for Basic Needs of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, an Assault on poverty, basic human needs, science, and technologym 1997,M1

J. Donner, 2003. What mobile phones mean to Rwandan entrepreneurs, In: K. Nyíri (editor). Mobile democracy: Essays on society, self, and politics. Vienna: Passage, pp. 393–410.

Fortunati, Leopoldina User Design and the Democratization of the Mobile Phone
First Monday, special issue number 7 (September 2006)

Radwan, Samir, Employment and Unemployment in Egypt: Conventional Problems, Unconventional Remedies Working Paper No. 70, August 2002

John P. Powelson A History of Wealth and Poverty why a Few Nations are Rich and Many Poor?
Mohamed A. El-Nawawy, Profiling Internet Users in Egypt: Understanding the Primary Deterrent against Their Growth in Number, InTouch Communication Services, SAE

Christian Welzel, A Human Development View on Value Change Trends (1981-2006)

Amin, Galal, Globalization, consumption patterns and human development in Egypt, working paper No 9929, American University, 1999
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By: E. M. NYANJA MUSOKE E. M. NYANJA MUSOKE Mon, 11 Oct 2010 12:41:01 +0000 I am coming on this site for the first time and would wish to share some of my personal views on poverty in Uganda and possibly Africa. I have taught development Studies at MAKERERE UNIVERSITY for the past twelve years. My view is that poverty needs to be confronted from a political approach rather than economic;

This involvies the devolution of power to the people through the establishment of “PEOPLE’S AUTHORITY”. It involves putting people in direct management of their affairs. Here we are talking about politics. Africa is a continent where the savage animalism in man has highly manifested itself. The civil wars in Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and even Uganda, to mention but a few of the countries, where Africans are butchering one another in their greed and quest for power, have left a permanent negative blot on the Africa’s ability to take charge of his own affairs. People are not producing.

Africa is a place where the law of the jungle reigns supreme. Those in power have wielded that power with a savagery reminiscent of the ancient Roman Empire where human beings were fed to tigers, lions and raging buffaloes plus human gladiators. Besides incarcerating subjects into dungeons, African “leaders” are on record for having fed dissenting subjects to crocodiles, lions or butchered them in cold blood in broad daylight or in the dungeons. The history of Uganda is full of these acts of inhumanity.

This means that leaders can not be brought to account for all their deeds. As matters stand today, those who stole a lot of money during the CHOGM Summit are running around scot free. It is not only CHOGM money but lots of money from government coffers. The president claims to be the only one with a vision. The rest of Ugandans can not think and threfore should keep quiet while he and his cohorts take to the political dancing floor. Thus, Mabira Forest will be given to an investor to grow sugarcane and Ugandans are expected to just nod in agreement. Even when long standing reputable schools like Shimon are donateds to investors, nobody is expected to question such outrageous decisions. So who are the people to ask for accoutability. Much of the financial resources will not be released to the people for production but to purchase arms to confront a people tired of being oppressed.

Thus, the high poverty levels in Uganda today. Equiping the army with modern weapons is more important than equiping farmers with modern agricultural skills and tools.

Despite a wealth of natural resources, the pathetic economic status of the majority of Africans leaves a lot to be desired. The majority of African can best be described as; income poor – earns less than a dollar a day and lives below the poverty line; highly illiterate, ignorant and diseased with very low levels of life expectancy and very little hope of living beyond the age of forty; has very low levels of science and technology, which renders him/her a none starter in the globalised world; affected by high maternal and infant mortality rates; hungry and suffering from high unemployment rate and increasingly becoming a mortal danger to his own environment; carries a heavy debt burden hanging around his/her neck like a millstone. This pathetic state of the African is courtesy of megalomaniacs, who have made it their business to turn the African into a slave

Today, 88% of all Ugandans are rated as living in rural areas and surviving in a life of peasantry. Peasants are as good or worse as slaves. The trouble with slaves is that they are in love with their oppressor. But when the president of Uganda speaks of his power base, it is in this group/class of people. These are the people who grow all the coffee, tobacco, tea and cotton plus braving the dangerous waters to hunt fish for export and also feed this nation. They live under sub-human conditions while those who do not produce at all sleep in mansions and enjoy all the luxuries the world can offer.

To crown all, the African woman – the producer of wealth has been relegated the role of being a beast of burden. The Ugandan woman besides being a factory of babies – 6.7 children per woman digs and tills the land. But all she receives are the thanks of a donkey – kicks [mateke]. Many men in Africa beat their wives like drums. The women are an impoverished lot that needs to be taken care of by her male counterpart. Yet, her reproductive role as a mother and producer of household income is innumerable. They are not just mothers they are the main producers of wealth in this country.

In the midst of all this home bred economic injustice, the African has been thrown to the capitalist sharks by his own kind. The North has come to dominate and control the commanding heights of the South or third world economies and their politics. All this has been through MNCs. For example, 80% of Africa’s exports are from agriculture, 75% and 90% of Saudi Arabia’s and Iraq’s exports respectively are made from oil. 60% – 90% of the third world domestic consumption is machinery, consumer goods, spares, transport units, technology and technical expertise, all of which are imported from the North. The terms of trade outlined above, under which this exchange of produce takes place, are highly unfavourable and exploitative. This has resulted into the creation of a dependent part of the globe – the Periphery or the South or Third World. This part of the globe also acts as the dustbin or backyard of the capitalist part of the globe – the Centre or the North or the West. The resultant economic relations leave the third world no room for wealth creation which in turn leads to development except underdevelopment. A lot of money given as aid finds its way back in form of salaries for expatriates, kickbacks, commissions, purchase of over priced equipment plus direct corrupt practice by technocrats and political leaders. The debt burden is one way, through which capital flight is aggravated and the African becomes poorer each day that passes. MNCs have ensured a strong stranglehold on science and technology. They have ensured that it is mostly the hardware technology component and not the software that is exported to the third world. In many cases the technology being exported is obsolete. They have also ensured that the Research and Development (R&D) programmes of technology are located in the North. The Technology transfers are limited to assembling finished parts and not making original parts. This has created a big gap between the North and South. This apparent mystification of technology has given the North unassailable weapon for the continued under development of the South through the practices outlined above.

This has turned planet earth into a world system, under one global market of goods, services and labour – GLOBALIZATION creating a New World Order. In this globalised world, the political and economic relationships are highly conflict prone, belligerent, oppressive and exploitative on one part of the world. This part of the globe has been turned into a periphery or third world on account of its inferior economic and political position and status in the world system. This position has largely been a result of a long period, over which an efficient and effect mechanism of underdevelopment process has created a three-tier world system in which MNCs carry out their drama. The reality is that we are not all equal in that global village. A country like Uganda has little or no competitive advantage – Niche in the NEW WORLD ORDER.

In this New World, the WB and IMF demand for liberalization of both the political and economic space by third world citizens through Structural Adjustment Programmes – political and economic pluralism involving the privatization of parastatals and freeing the market. The resultant international economic and political relations have not reflected the expected harmony and peace. They are highly belligerent, oppressive, and exploitative and conflict ridden.
It is there small wonder that Kenneth Waltz (1992) in “Anarchy and its Consequences” describes the new liberal international arena under the New World Order as “anarchical” in a constant state of war. Thus we see a world at war with increasing acts of terrorism as the only means to strike fear in the capitalist monster. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center could be seen in the light of third world radicals protesting American exploitative and aggressive behaviour in the New World Order. To the wise head of Osama Bin Laden the World Trade Center represented the serpent head of the Electronic Herd which controls the world people and their resources.

The high poverty levels we see in Africa today, Uganda in particular, are ochestrated by factors beyond the African continent. They demand for political action from the so called “leaders” now turned oppressors on behalf of the international capitalist establishment. The high poverty levels in Africa can not be wished away. According to Samir Amin (1990), this has come about as a result of a long historical process of dominance, oppression and exploitation of the South nations resulting into a process of underdevelopment. Dealing with poverty in Africa may mean cutting the North’s or West’s jugular.

The way men treat their women in Africa creates a lot of social injustice that needs to be addressed. Besides the physical and phsycological violence meted out to women, they are not recognized as producers of wealth. Their reproduction of labour is totally ignored and does not count. In many societies gender analysis reveals that women face serious inequalities. As a result, serious efforts are needed which focus on women and the redressing of these inequalities. Analysis reveals that women are disadvantaged and inputs must be made to tackle these inequalities. Women need to be empowered through awareness raising and building self confidence, expansion of choice and increased access to and control over resources.

Unfortunately this is not the case in Uganda. the affirmative action that put women in ploitical positions has not touched millions of peasant women in Uganda. The increased number of women representatives in parliament and ministers reflected government affirmative action has improved on the women’s participation in decision making. This is a positive achievement associated with concerted efforts by Community Based Organizations (CBO’s), NGO’s, the donor community and to some extent the government in challenging dominance in decision making. But the women’s production and reproduction potential is tied up in manner in which our societies have constructed their roles. Besides that, they are victims of violence from a certain section of society which does not see them as equal partners in the process of development.

Acts of violence against women take place both in the public and private spheres, in the home, where it is referred to as domestic violence and in the public arena where, it can be seen in the form of sexual harassment and intimidation at workplaces. Gender violence is a pervasive and prevalent problem worldwide, touching all aspects to do with women’s lives, that is, from the home, to the working place, to the street. In Uganda, women are a tradable commodity for which men pay bride price and parents look forward to receiving the dowry. In many Ugandan socities, a woman is part of a man’s property. when the man dies, she is also shared out like the other properties.

Uganda has no socio-economic infrastructure to deliver services to the majority population. The basic needs of man – education, food, shelter, transport, housing, medicine, energy, etc. have been turned into a business. In Uganda, in the name of economic liberalization and privatization all these have been sold to capitalist “Shylocks” in the name of investors. In a nutshell, Uganda is a “man eat man” society.

The social surplus is being taken by a few people, who have built themselves billion dollar mansions. Even borrowed money is being misappropriated by a small clique, which happens to be in power. There are no drugs in hospitals, no public transport network, education is a preserve of the few who can afford it, the electricity price is far beyond the ordinary Ugandan’s income, even safe water can not be accessed by all, many Ugandan’s do not even have a right to their own lives – you can be grabbed and incarcerated into a dungeon or even killed if you are considered a security threat or shot by anybody who may think that you are a security threat. The list of social evils in this country is long but to crown all these, corruption has become a way of a Ugandan’s life.

To add salt to an injury Ugandans have received an education that has not given them an intelligent approach to life. It has not turned them into radical subjective elements of their political, social, economic and physical environment. It has not turned them into a subjective instruments of change but objects of change.They have failed to adopt the correct and proper conceptualization of science so as to make a start in procuring and synthesizing the type of technology to deliver us from the abyss of underdevelopment. Ugandans have failed to come to grips with science and technology as a tool, weapon and resource for development. Such a people can not handle issues of poverty in their midst. That is why all they think about is begging instead of production.

Given such scenarios in the way Uganda’s political, economic and social life is managed, it is very difficult to talk about poverty eradication let alone alleviation. Such scenarios are digging the people deep into the bottomless pit of poverty. It is very difficult to overcome such a state of affairs until the current political foundations of African nations like Uganda where poverty rages like a wild fire have been uprooted. Overcoming poverty in Africa is not an economic problem but a political one. We need to examine our political conscious in matters of poverty.

What we see in Africa today is an institutionalized historical development crisis with nothing to offer but despair and confusion. The South suffers from a situation of structural failure beyond remedial action. Both the human and physical resources of the South have been predated upon by the North, leaving the South a destitute wreck. Africa and Uganda in particular provide a macro and micro epitome of this wreckage.

The MDGs even if implemted for 100 years, can not make any effect until the international, political, economic and social order under goes a radical revolution. Ugandans should stop living in a world of wishful thinking. That is the world of MDGs. We need to address the political, economic and social African development crisis in its entirelity.

By: Rosalie Callway Rosalie Callway Mon, 11 Oct 2010 09:30:30 +0000 I was interested to read the UN Development Groups Good Practice Guide on the MDGs. It includes a number of examples where Local Government is a central delivery partner in reducing poverty locally e.g. Uganda, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Albania ( .

“there is now general agreement that a key part of any strategy for poverty reduction and for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals lies in improved delivery of basic public infrastructure and related services. This point has been forcefully made in “Investing in Development”, which calls for a major increase in funding for public investments, for poor people and in poor areas – and also calls for the rapid deployment of locally appropriate and replicable delivery systems to ensure effective absorption of funds for delivery of this infrastructure on the scale required. The Millennium Project report also endorses the now widely-held view that much of this basic infrastructure is most appropriately delivered locally, through decentralized financing, planning and delivery systems, and that local government bodies should play a key role in this.” Source: UN Capital Development Fund

Examination of the final draft resolution to the MDG Summit highlights a number of areas, across all of the MDGs, where local government will have a role to play. The introductory elements of the agreement highlight broad themes relating to the local government role and their capacity needs, in terms of:

1. Local government inclusion in ‘national development efforts’
2. Promoting universal access to basic services
3. Improving capacity to deliver quality services equitably and reduce exclusion and discrimination

The UN Development Programme makes four key arguments relating to the localisation of the MDGs:

(i) Subsidiarity – there are legitimate differences in spheres (levels) of government, and that issues should be dealt with by the level of government most appropriate to the nature of each issue. Specifically, subsidiarity suggests that implementation is likely to be more efficient locally because of local knowledge, sensitivity to specific local conditions, local ownership, engagement and participation.
(ii) Inequality – this points to the fact that national averages tend to mask significant local variations in types and level of poverty. With, in the most extreme cases, the national averages being misleading or even meaningless. Tackling the MDGs more locally reduces this danger and the engagement of local partners allows a more equitable response to MDG challenges, focusing in on the issues and priorities specific to a particular local area.
(iii) Complementarity – this case rejects the dichotomy and confrontation of national versus local, and recognises the essential linkages between national and local priorities (and, indeed, global-national-local, and vice versa). Like the subsidiarity argument, there are advantages and disadvantages attached to each level and thus greater vertical or two-way coordination is important.
(iv) Thematic integration – local government has to take a holistic approach in working at the local level and delivery of MDG -related programmes. A national perspective – often linked to the structure of national government administration – may encourage the separate ‘silo’ treatment of MDGs into gender, education, maternal health, environment etc, ignoring the fact that in practice, poor people suffer multiple aspects of deprivation. A local – and specifically a local government – perspective can better highlight the interrelatedness of different sources of disadvantage and encourage a holistic and integrated response.

Source: UNDP (2005)

There are clearly challenges in working with politically-led democratically elected sub-national governments, but the question must be one of ‘how to improve it’ rather than ignore its role. “Moving out of poverty: Success from the Bottom up” by Deepa Narayan (2009, World Bank) presented the views of people living in poverty from 15 developing countries. She refers to cases of local corruption and how democracies have been ‘captured by local elites’, who prevent representative responses to the real needs of local people. But she also points to communities where local governments have changed positively over time, where good leaders, free and fair elections, access to information about local government activities, and people’s participation are emerging. Narayan asks the ‘development community’ to reassess their basic assumptions, notably that ‘Responsive local democracies can help reduce poverty’.

To this end donors need to strategically target further local government improvement. The Local Government Association (UK) is working in partnership with various local government partners, as well as with NGO and private sector actors to try and address this gap. We see this is a critical piece in the jigsaw in bringing the ‘democratisation of development’ programmes, aiming greater self-sufficiency and more sustained results in the long-term.

By: Stephen Fantl Stephen Fantl Mon, 04 Oct 2010 19:52:53 +0000 To help educate people in the U.S. and globally about the MDGs we have a weekly radio program, and for two year’s have Internet broadcast an annual update focusing on the MDGs and Peace Builders via our Peace Day Global Broadcast in honor of the September 21st UN International Day of Peace. Due to the positive response by viewers and organizations we now maintain the channel for this broadcast ( as a daily location for streaming events, videos’, and specials supplied by Peace Building organizations. Should any of you working on the MDGs or peace activities at any level (community, national, or International) wish to have an event or video scheduled please let us know. You can contact

By: Dapo Babajide Dapo Babajide Thu, 26 Aug 2010 12:01:51 +0000 Poverty & hunger will definetly be reduced in West Africa if basic infrastructures can be put in place. Fermers will be able to process and store agricultural produces from one season to another. Irrigation processes will be possible even in the arid regions. Wastages will reduced and contribution to global market will increase thereby per carpital income will correspondly increase. Thus, in aggregate rate of hunger will go down.

Anyway, I am on a project that will make MDGs mission of ‘reduction of poverty & hunger reduce’


By: Gordon Mumbo Gordon Mumbo Mon, 23 Aug 2010 23:34:11 +0000 one of the main causes of poverty in the world is lack of access to safe water and sanitation. A lot of resources are lost in illnesses that can be prevented with access to these two items. While there is hope that many countries will meet the MDG goal on water, meeting sanitation goal is still illusive in many countries. I do have fear that some of the water systems providing water today and have been counted will not be operating in 2015. Facilities that will reach their useful life before 2015 will unlikely be replaced before 2015. Count and recount.

It became fashionable over the past few years on community run and managed systems with lots of resources invested in training community pump preparers and there were great hopes that this was a breakthrough. The reality is that most of these community run and managed facilities will not be replaced when they reach their useful life (a good number are already broken down to say the least). Not many organisations considered this element in the development of facilities. Such facilities will be counted now towards meeting the MDG but will not be operational in 2015.

Equally there was a big rush for standardization of water and sanitation facilities. It is donning on many countries that went this route that they have created a problem. Facilities promoted as the standard are too expensive and cannot be replicated by communities and individuals without subsidy. Subsidy has not worked well and could be accused for the slow pace of sanitation coverage in most countries. People need options. We must rethink and think social entrepreneurship approach to development.

By: Gordon Mumbo Gordon Mumbo Thu, 19 Aug 2010 22:29:46 +0000 The fight against poverty is yet to be won. Development approaches need to embrace more seriously the empowerment of the supported target groups and be able to work themselves out of the job. Information is often lacking and at times the people are deliberately denied access to information. Once people are informed and equipped with adequate information they should be able stand up and demand their rights from the injustices that normally accompany bad Governance. Poverty needs to be made a political issue. A good percentage of the politicians that make decisions that influence our lives have never shared a bed with poverty and do not know what it means to be poor.

The so called emerging democracies are quickly degenerating into dictatorship, bad leaders are able to buy their way into politics. They are able to offer handouts to vulnerable voters when they need the votes. The consequence is continued bad leadership. Such leaders will never support initiatives that fight poverty. In the mind of every politician is how to win the next elections, if keeping people poor is what will give them the votes, they will make sure that they remain poor.

Education to the voters. Who is willing to invest in this area? Peace meal approaches done close to elections cannot solve the problem. It should be a continuous process beyond elections.