May 29th, 2013 5:22 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
This blog originally appeared in the New Statesman.
This time of year always seems particularly hectic for the ONE Campaign and others in the movement against extreme poverty. The run-up to the annual G8 summit, which this year is hosted by David Cameron near Enniskillen in mid-June, is our equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson’s “squeaky bum time”. Within a few weeks we’ll know what we’ve won and what we’ve lost, and the implications will be felt for a long time.
Yesterday I wrote up on my office wall nine big moments for ONE in this period. The first is today, with the launch of our 2013 DATA Report. The report shows that while aid and investment from wealthier countries is critically important, perhaps its greatest value is in leveraging and supporting resources closer to home – the resources that developing countries themselves can provide – which will ensure that one day, aid from outside will be rarely needed.
We’ll continue to push governments in Europe and beyond to stick to the commitments they’ve made. But African governments have made promises too, and in the DATA report we look at some of the big ones.
Overall, things are getting better. The report explodes the myth that all advances against poverty and disease are thanks to China; in fact, in six of the eight MDG targets, at least half of sub-Saharan African countries are fully or partially on-track. However the performance of leading countries like Ethiopia, Malawi, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso is undermined by persistent underperformance by a handful of others, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Chad and Burundi.
There is also a clear correlation between countries that are allocating a greater share of government spending to health, education and agriculture over the past decade and improved progress in those areas. From 2000 to 2011, Ethiopia lifted an estimated 10 million people out of extreme poverty, and over the same period the government spent nearly 45 per cent of its total budget on health, education and agriculture, a third more than the average in sub-Saharan Africa. The fact that increased resources go hand in hand with better results might be considered a statement of the obvious. But in these sceptical times, it’s helpful that a hard-headed look at the numbers demonstrates the link is strong.
However, no African government is on course to meet the promises it has made for investment in all three of these sectors. In the next three years as the 2015 MDG deadline approaches, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole could add $243bn to its health, education and agriculture efforts. The difference this could make is clear in one country after another: for example, by meeting its health spending commitment between now and 2015, Nigeria could provide an anti-malarial bednet for every citizen, vaccinations against killer diseases for every child and life-saving treatment for everyone who is HIV positive in Nigeria – and still have billions to spare in its health budget.
As the G8 leaders meet in Enniskillen this report should remind the world’s decision makers of the task immediately ahead. On Friday, David Cameron delivers the report of the High Level Panel he has co-chaired, on what should replace the MDGs after 2015, to the UN Secretary General in New York. It’s important of course. But it’s hard to avoid the feeling that if there were the same level of interest in the pre-2015 agenda, the world could get a lot closer to achieving the goals we already have. That’s not just a bar on a chart in New York: it means kids in school, small farmers with more chance to work their way out of poverty, people alive in 2015 who would otherwise die if we fail to act. There are less than a thousand days left until the end of 2015 – we need to make every one of them count.
In the days before the G8 summit, leaders of a wider group of countries will meet for a “Nutrition for Growth” event, dedicated to tackling the scourge of malnutrition. If this event is to succeed, it will need to drum up resources from both developed and developing countries, as well as companies, foundations and charities. ONE’s report couldn’t be clearer on this: you get out what you put in.
But the G8’s core agenda is also hugely relevant. David Cameron has called for a “transparency revolution”. With greater transparency – whether in the extractives industries, aid, public spending, company ownership or tax information – governments and citizens in developing countries will be able to ensure that funds intended for the fight against extreme poverty do not end up in the wrong hands. If that revolution succeeds, developing countries will be able to claim more of what is rightfully theirs – and have more resources to build a better future for all, accountable to all.
All of this requires leadership. David Cameron’s government has been resolute thus far. It has built on the excellent work of its predecessors and finally met the historic 0.7 per cent GNI spending target. But this test is a different one. In the coming weeks, as the UN High Level Panel delivers its report and Cameron hosts the series of gatherings culminating in the Enniskillen summit, he has a real opportunity to be remembered as a true global leader on development. It will require determination and vision. I hope he will find both.
Mar 8th, 2013 9:14 AM UTC
By Helen Hector
To celebrate International Women’s Day we’ve picked some of our favourite images and matched them up with facts to show why investing in women and girls is so important here at ONE.
Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing this post with your friends and family.
And make sure you tell the women and girls in your life that they are awesome.
Education: United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990; UNESCO Education Statistics; UNICEF, Millennium Development Goals: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Agriculture: IFAD (2001) Assessment of Rural Poverty: Western and Central Africa; The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies; USAID, Women in Development: Country Snapshot: Kenya and Agriculture & Micro-enterprise
Employment: Phil Borges (2007) Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World. New York; World Bank (2008) Doing Business: Women in Africa; United Nations Development Programme
Politics: D. Dollar, R. Fisman and R. Gatti, Are Women Really the ‘Fairer’ Sex? Corruption and Women in Government, Policy Research Report on Gender and Development Working Paper Series No. 4; Africa Progress Report (2012) Jobs, Justice and Equity – Seizing Opportunities in Times of Global Change
Feb 26th, 2013 2:25 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
Did you know that the Harlem Shake evolved from an Ethiopian dance called the Eskista? Or that Botswana has a thriving heavy metal scene? No? Then you need What’s Up Africa.
Ikenna Azuike’s weekly video blog takes a cheeky look at what’s happening across the continent and mashes it up with music, video and internet memes that entertains as much as it enlightens.
Here’s his latest post which includes his thoughts on a possible Ghanaian Pope (with a dubstep twist) plus a new maternal health tv channel that’s getting life saving information out to people in an innovative way.
ONE have been lucky enough to grab an interview with Ikenna, where he reveals, “I’m trying to represent an accurate picture of the continent, a more balanced picture than the one that Western media portrays. There are a lot of young Africans that are frustrated by that and so I hope they feel like there is someone out there trying to correct that.
I used to be a lawyer and it was interesting and challenging and all that good stuff and it paid really well, but it wasn’t fulfilling. And now I feel like I am doing something relevant that matters because people are surprised by the blogs and the stuff that I highlight.”
Watch the latest video blog on What’s Up Africa every Monday, and check out our full interview with Ikenna over on the US blog.
Sep 24th, 2012 5:42 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
UK media reports over the weekend were critical of UK aid money that is spent via Europe. But in the stories many facts about EU aid have been overlooked. At ONE we fight for smart aid to help the poorest people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Aid from the European Union is increasingly just that. More and more of it is smart aid that saves lives and we should protect it.
So to correct some of the myths, here my top ten facts about EU aid and the reasons we need to support it:
We’re not saying everything in the world of aid is perfect, nor that aid is all that’s needed to overcome poverty. And we also know there are lots of views about how big the EU should be, how big its total budget should be and so on. That debate is not for us. Our argument is simple: aid from Europe is good and getting better. It’s a tiny proportion of total spending. It’s helping save lives. It should be protected.
Sep 17th, 2012 11:58 AM UTC
By Katherine Lay
“We need to ensure that the energy, skills, strength, values and wisdom of women become an integral part of the remodeled economic infrastructures now being developed by global leaders. Empowering and investing in women is part of a global solution for us all, now and in the future.”
Graça Machel, African Elder and Activist
Former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa
Women are a formidable economic force across emerging markets in Africa, yet their role in economic production remains largely unrecognized. Their continued inability to access and control economic and social capital assets and resources has been a central factor in perpetuating Africa’s poverty trap and in keeping the economic performance of many African states below their potential.
Creating a climate of success for women in Africa is not simply smart economics, it is integral to the continent’s development effectiveness, referenced by a direct correlation between women’s empowerment, national GDP growth, private sector growth, environmental sustainability and improved health outcomes. The implications for human development are vast, but remain unharnessed. Instead, marginalization of women as economic actors is compromising a continent poised for a massive economic boom.
Women’s disempowerment is particularly glaring in Africa’s agricultural sector. Women are Africa’s principal food producers: according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, they make up 70 percent of the agricultural labor force and are responsible for 80 percent of food production and 60 to 90 percent of marketing, in addition to grueling household responsibilities. Any genuine effort to eradicate poverty and hunger in Africa must therefore confront the fact that more than half of the producers of the agricultural sector – a sector that can have twice the impact on poverty reduction as growth in other sectors – are operating from a distinct disadvantage. Women are contending with policies and practices that severely restrain their agricultural production potential and are facing widespread restrictions on their ability to buy, sell or inherit land, utilize banking services, or access rudimentary resources and markets.
In Uganda, for example, women receive only 9 per cent of agricultural credit, while in Malawi only 7 per cent of female-headed households receive extension support, compared to 13 per cent for male-headed households. In Kenya, women produce 80 percent of the country’s food and manage more than one-third of smallholder farms, yet receive less than 10 percent of credit provided for smallholders and own less than 10 percent of the land. As a result, women cannot maximize profits, reinvest them or secure capital to expand their investments.
It is clear that ongoing failure to invest in women farmers is handicapping the continent’s quest for more productive and sustainable agriculture systems and more food secure and prosperous societies. Success will lie in the removal of restrictive laws and in agriculture policies and budgets that are responsive to the needs of local women farmers, empowering them to produce more food for local markets as a solid foundation for global food security.
Investing in women’s economic empowerment is a high-yield investment, with multiplier effects on productivity, efficiency and inclusive growth for the continent. This context presents a key opportunity for governments and business leaders to recognize and encourage women to be participants, beneficiaries and enablers of Africa’s growth. Even where supportive policies are established, implementation and practice will only succeed if all leaders send clear messages that the economic participation of women is fundamental to Africa’s future success.
Sep 10th, 2012 4:38 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
This post by Kadiatu Blango was kindly provided by Restless Development
My name is Kadiatu, I am 20 and have two daughters. I had my second child when I was 18. Like every mother, I want the very best for my children and do everything I can for them, but I worry that it will be difficult for them, just like it was for me.
Kadiatu and her two daughters in their community
My father died when I was very young and I was only able to go to school up until the age of six. I left my mother’s home to go and live with my uncle, but he was hardly ever around. His wife, my aunt, did not care for me as she did her own children and we did not get on. I was forced to carry out domestic chores while her children were able to attend school.
As the war became more intense, we moved to Freetown. Upon my return to the village my mother forced me to be initiated into the bondo society, a group that practices female genital cutting. I did not want to. I wanted to go to school.
My mother told me that she couldn’t afford to pay my school fees, and yet she could afford to spend a lot of money on the initiation process. Once initiated, I was forced into marriage at the age of 12 and became pregnant the same year. The baby’s father left when I was six months pregnant. I haven’t seen him since. I suffered a lot to raise the baby with no support from my mother or any other relative. Selling wood, potato and cassava leaves were the main sources of income for myself and my child.
There was no way I could continue with schooling without parental support. Later, I met another guy who fooled around with me and made me believe he could handle my problems. He started well, but then he got me pregnant and ran away to Liberia. I got my second child at the age of 18. Life is very hard and quite challenging for us coming from a very poor family but we all do our best.
It should not be like this for me and nor for my two daughters. I want them to be free to get an education, and to not be worried about marrying too young or experiencing violence. I want them to grow up to be strong young women who can make their own choices, go to school, own land and control their own lives.
Kadiatu Blango outlines a few answers to questions from Restless Development:
What challenges do women face in your community?
The main challenges faced by women are numerous to name but a few are:
How does your family make a living?
What opportunities would you like to see for your kids?
What would you like to see leaders promise to do to help communities like yours?
What would you like world leaders to focus on that would have impact on your life?
Underlying these points are high rates of teenage pregnancy. About 34 percent of women aged 15 to 19 have either already had a baby or are pregnant. This also often leads to interrupted education, reduced earning potential, poor marital outcomes and reduced health outcomes for surviving children.
Furthermore, youth unemployment is a major problem in Sierra Leone, with an estimated one-third of urban and one-sixth of rural 20- to 24-year-olds out of work, and more than 17 percent of the urban populations aged 15 to 35 years unemployed. Work opportunities are rare (around 9 percent of the workforce are formally employed), which means that stories like Kadiatu’s are mainly the norm rather than the exception.
Featuring contributions from African citizens who are living in communities affected by extreme poverty, ONE’s African Voices series will follow their progress to give a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges they face and also to track changes that occur over time. Find out more at one.org/africanvoices.
Restless Development is an agency that places young people at the forefront of change and development. It works in Africa and Asia to empower young people to take their lives into their own hand and trains, educates and inspires young people to be part of the solution. Find out more at www.restlessdevelopment.org
May 10th, 2012 11:09 AM UTC
By Katherine Sladden
The UN has announced that Prime Minister David Cameron, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will co-chair a UN High Level Panel to advise the United Nations on global development beyond 2015 – the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set in 2000 to significantly reduce global poverty and disease.
These leaders have an important job to do – they will need to help ensure that the existing MDGs are met as far as possible – a important job we must all stay focused on – and then set the agenda for what happens next.
Responding to the announcement, Michael Elliott, President and CEO of ONE, said:
“We congratulate the three leaders who have been chosen to lead the High Level Panel, all of whom are well qualified for the task ahead.
“We want to see the panel members adopt two important principles. First, to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals are met as far as possible by 2015. It would be a travesty to set out new goals before we have done everything possible to reach the ones now in place. Second, to guarantee that the voices of the poorest are heard and acted upon in deciding what comes next. The simplest way to find out what the world’s poor want and need is to ask them, and the panel’s first item of business should be to undertake a genuine process of wide-ranging consultation to that end.
“Meanwhile, we should remember that we still have 1330 days to go before the end of 2015. During that time, governments and civil society must make a determined final push to halve global poverty and disease. Over the next three years, that will remain a primary focus of ONE and our 3 million supporters around the globe.”
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of ONE, added:
“This appointment is a recognition of David Cameron’s strong record on international development. He has demonstrated his commitment to the fight against extreme poverty and has backed his words with action.
“The Prime Minister must now take on the responsibility of global leadership. He has the chance to help set the world on a credible path towards ending extreme poverty and hunger. But to succeed, he will need to make this is a top priority in his negotiations with other leaders, in his UN role and as chair of next year’s G8.”
You can find out more about the MDGs here.
Jun 15th, 2011 9:53 AM UTC
By Brooke Riley
At the recent UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, world leaders made a critical step in the right direction with the launch of a global plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and to keep their mothers alive. Last year, ONE members tirelessly advocated for the Global Fund during our “No Child Born with HIV” campaign, and we’re pleased that this plan will help us work towards turning that goal into reality.
Tremendous gains have been made in recent years in reducing HIV infections among children and scaling up the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, yet much work remains. In 2009, an estimated 370,000 new infections occurred among children, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. The global strategy identifies two top goals: to reduce the number of new infections among children by 90 percent and reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50 percent. Under the plan, resources will be channelled to 22 priority countries, where nearly all HIV-positive pregnant women live.
The global plan identifies a four-prong framework for achieving these goals: preventing HIV among women of reproductive age through services related to reproductive health such as postpartum care; providing appropriate counselling and support to women living with HIV; ensuring HIV testing, counselling and access to treatment for pregnant women living with HIV; and HIV care, treatment and support for women and children living with HIV and their families.
We’re pleased to see that the global plan puts accountability at the helm and recognizes the critical importance of an integrated approach that connects an array of maternal and child health services across the health system. Additionally, the plan identifies the need for countries to be at the lead by providing political leadership, funding, effective strategies and strong monitoring and evaluation. While we applaud the effort to create this strategy, a plan is only so strong in so far as it has concerted political support and funding. Moving forward, if we hope to ensure no child is born with HIV by 2015, we need to see the following:
In answering the call to action at the launch of the plan, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief announced an additional $75 million to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV efforts. Additionally, private donors — including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — pledged $40 million, Chevron pledged $20 million and Johnson & Johnson pledged $15 million.
During the high-level meeting, Ambassador Eric Goosby, the United States Global AIDS coordinator, summed up the need for this critically important plan: “Nearly every minute a child is born with HIV. Working together, we can reverse this tide as we have done in the United States and they are very close to doing in Botswana. Preventing new HIV infections among children across the globe is truly a smart investment that saves lives and helps to give children a healthy start in life.”
Apr 3rd, 2011 11:00 AM UTC
By Melinda French Gates
As Mother’s Day is marked in the UK, Melinda Gates explains why we have an extra reason to celebrate.
Mother’s Day is usually a joyous occasion—and this year we have even more reason to celebrate. Mothers and their children are surviving today at higher rates than at any other point in history. In fact, just since 1990, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has declined from more than 12 million per year to slightly over 8 million.
I feel fortunate because I get to see this progress firsthand. On a recent trip to Nairobi, I spoke with a group of women about their children. One mother told me, “I want to bring every good thing to one before I have another.” It reinforced what I always hear on my trips to different countries around the globe—that mothers everywhere have the same goal for our children, a successful future.
So, what’s behind this success? Over the past decade, innovators around the world have developed new tools and technologies– vaccines, drugs, and bednets to name a few—which have been integral in saving millions of lives.
But the innovation driving this success is not just limited to these stunning breakthroughs in science, in technology; it can be creative without being high-tech. I’m talking about pioneering ways of changing behavior, working with communities and sharing these new ideas with women in the poorest areas of the world.
Take breastfeeding, for example. Simply put, breastfeeding is a life-saving act. We know exclusive breastfeeding – when the newborn is fed only with breast milk and nothing else in the first six months – is one of the best ways to save baby’s lives.
When I was in Dowa, Malawi last year I visited the Dowa District Hospital. Exclusive breastfeeding is a core project of the government, one supported by Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives Program. The initiative encourages women to give birth in a health clinic and then provides them with three home visits from healthcare workers, in the weeks following the birth. These visits help mothers learn about how to care for their children, including exclusively breastfeeding. Programs like these aren’t created in a laboratory, yet help mothers realize they can significantly improve the health of their newborns without any new technologies.
The British government and citizens have been true leaders around these types of health innovations for women and children. I had the pleasure of meeting with Andrew Mitchell recently and was impressed with his remarkable passion. I’ve met with a lot of ministers over the years, but I don’t often see the dedication like that of Minister Mitchell. It’s also truly amazing to see the way Britain has stood by its international commitments on foreign aid in the midst of the current global financial crisis.
Investing in the health of women and children is the right thing to do. If we keep innovating, we’ll make faster and faster progress and achieve more with our investments. We’ll save the lives of mothers and their children in even greater numbers. And we’ll help make sure that motherhood is always a joy, for every mother, everywhere.
I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
This post was first published on the UK Department for International Development (DFID) blog
Sep 25th, 2010 11:27 AM UTC
By Erin Hohlfelder
Initiatives worth $40 billion don’t often go unnoticed, so you may have seen that on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (PDF), a plan designed to accelerate progress toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by galvanizing global commitments around a comprehensive plan. The Secretary-General’s office announced that the commitments made so far will:
In addition to financial commitments, the Global Strategy promotes country-led health plans with sustainable investment, integrated delivery of health services, health systems strengthening, innovative approaches to financing and improved monitoring and evaluation of programs to ensure that maximum benefit will be derived from commitments made to women and children.
On paper, it sounds pretty incredible, and at ONE, we celebrate the renewed focus on maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) — an issue which we feel is long overdue. We’re also thrilled to see the diversity of partners (PDF) who have come together and have committed to achieving real outcomes in health — not just financial inputs.
It wasn’t just the usual crop of donor countries who made commitments (though many pledged substantially). Benin agreed to provide antiretroviral treatment to 90 percent of their HIV-positive pregnant women. Ethiopia pledged to increase the proportion of its children immunized against measles to 90 percent. Niger provided free care for maternal and child health. And NGOs and philanthropies of all sizes, UN agencies, members of academia and the private sector rounded out a true 21st century global partnership.
But now that the confetti has settled in New York City, what will the Global Strategy really amount to? To be frank, it’s hard to tell. Though each entity’s commitments were outlined, it was not clear how the $40 billion figure was calculated and how much of it was actually new money. We know that some of the $40 billion has been generated in the period “since April,” meaning chunks could have come through commitments made at prior forums, including this summer’s G8 Summit in Canada. And speaking of which, we’re having flashbacks to our analysis of the Summit’s Muskoka Initiative for MNCH, where money was pledged and the rhetoric was great, but ultimately, there was no great accountability mechanism established by which the advocacy community could measure commitments, progress or gaps.
While that’s frustrating for us, it’s a matter of life and death for the mothers and children depending on these initiatives for support. So at ONE, we will stay engaged and work to ensure that a monitoring body is established to ensure that these and other commitments made this week are kept.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.