Information and stories on development news.

10 Facts on Global Road Safety
According to the World Health Organization’s new report titled “Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013: Supporting a Decade of Action”, approximately 1.24 million people die every year on the world’s roads. Another 20 to 50 million sustain nonfatal injuries as a result of road traffic crashes. Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally with an impact similar to many communicable diseases. Current trends suggest that by 2030 road traffic accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death unless urgent action is taken. Road traffic injuries are estimated to cost low- and middle-income countries between 1–2 % of their gross national product, estimated at over US$ 100 billion a year. Hence this is a serious problem that gets in the way of poverty eradication.

The following are findings from the report about worldwide road safety:

  1. Of the 1.24 million global road traffic deaths, young adults aged between 15 and 44 years account for 59% of it.
  2. 92% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. These countries have only 53% of the world’s registered vehicles.
  3. Vulnerable road users account for half of all road traffic deaths globally. Pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorized two-wheelers and their passengers are collectively known as “vulnerable road users.” The proportion of road traffic deaths in vulnerable road users is greater in low-income countries than in high-income countries.
  4. Controlling speed reduces road traffic injuries. Only 59 countries, covering 39% of the world’s population (2.67 billion people), have implemented an urban speed limit of 50 km/h or less and allow local authorities to reduce these limits. A 5% cut in average speed can reduce the number of fatal crashes by as much as 30%.
  5. Drinking alcohol and driving increases the risk of a crash. Above a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 g/dl, the risk of road traffic crash increases dramatically. 89 countries, covering 66% of the world’s population (4.55 billion people), have a comprehensive drink-driving law enforcing the WHO-recommended blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.05 g/dl or less.
  6. Wearing a good-quality helmet can reduce the risk of death from a road crash by 40%. Wearing a good-quality helmet can also reduce the risk of severe injury by over 70%. 90 countries, representing 77% of the world’s population, have a comprehensive helmet law covering all riders, all roads and all engine types, and apply a helmet standard.
  7. Wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of death among front-seat passengers by 40–65%. Wearing a seat-belt can also reduce deaths among rear-seat car occupants by 25–75%. 111 countries, representing 69% of the world’s population, have comprehensive seat-belt laws covering all occupants in a car.
  8. Infant seats, child seats and booster seats can reduce child deaths by 54–80% in the event of a crash. More than half of all countries have implemented a law on child-restraint use in cars.
  9. Prompt, good-quality pre-hospital care can save the lives of many people injured in road traffic crashes. 111 countries have a universal national access emergency number, but only 59 countries have ambulance services available to transport over 75% of injured patients to hospital.
  10. Since 2007, 88 countries have reduced the number of road traffic deaths. This suggests that progress can be made if there is sufficient political commitment. However, in 87 countries the number of road traffic deaths has increased, while at the global level the number of deaths has remained stable. The pace of legislative change and enforcement need to be hastened and more attention paid to vulnerable road users to reduce the number of road traffic deaths.

– Maria Caluag

Source: WHO
Photo: Facebook

Working to sustain natural resources is Winrock International’s top priority. As a non-profit organization that works with people both in the United States and around the world, Winrock seeks to empower disadvantaged citizens and produce increasing economic opportunities for these individuals.

Winrock’s main areas of focus are empowerment, civil engagement, enterprise, agriculture, environment, forestry, energy, and ecosystem services. Through strengthening the social capacities of women, children and civil society organizations, individuals are encouraged to be politically active in national development to transform their societies into democratic cooperatives. Programs of this nature include employment training, participation in local government, and prevention of human trafficking and child labor. Supporting, establishing, and growing small agricultural projects allow Winrock International to target sustained development of the stability of nations. Promoting ecological use of natural resources supports food and income needs of growing families.

Created in 1985, Winrock was created from the merging of the International Agricultural Development Service, the Winrock International Livestock Research and Training Center, and the Agricultural Development Council. These organizations together provide advanced degree academic programs for 588 men and women across the globe. Also strengthening local academic institutions, Winrock International sponsors conferences, and supports research initiatives.

Winrock has a deep commitment to finding students that are committed to serving their respected countries; it is encouraged that students return to their home countries to assume leadership positions in leading institutions and organizations, and more than 90 percent follow suit. Among many others, a few of Winrock’s capabilities include biodiversity, agriculture, pollution, human rights, workforce development, and conflict management.

With a strategic outlook on the goal of benefiting the poor and disadvantaged of the world, Winrock is dedicated to increasing long-term productivity and responsible resource management. Unity is the cornerstone of organization, according to Winrock. They determine their success by their integrated programs and how well they address the developmental challenges of the communities they seek to aid.

Volunteering is essential to Winrock’s existence. Working with farmers, businesses and governments worldwide, Winrock’s volunteer programs offer short-term assignments to support existing programs. Areas available for volunteering include agricultural development, natural resource management, renewable energy, economic growth, enterprise development, democracy and governance, and women and youth empowerment. For more information, visit Winrock and turn inspiration into action.

– Kali Faulwetter

Source: Winrock
Photo: IMOW

The United States, Australia, and India have come together to develop climate-resilient varieties of rice and wheat that make up two of the “big three” crops that are imperative to feeding people worldwide. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting a new public-private research partnership between the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) and India’s Vibha Agrotech.

With ACPFG’s unique gene technologies that are already in use and Vibha’s field evaluation and rice transformation capabilities, farmers will acquire new rice and wheat varieties that will allow more stable crop production when facing sudden drought and evolving salt-water intrusion. The most successful varieties evaluated will eventually be transferred into the varieties that the farmers already grow.

While the research and crop growth will take place in Australia and India in the preliminary stages, the technologies will eventually be available to developing countries globally. The climate-resilient crops will be most useful in countries where climate change and subsequent stresses impact cereal yields and will help to ensure that farmers will have a good harvest despite these unpredictable climate changes.

The partnership is part of Feed the Future, the US Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. According to Dr. Julie Howard, USAID’s Chief Scientist in the Bureau for Food Security and Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Agricultural Research, Extension and Education, in order to ensure food security, global food production must increase by 60% by 2050. Unfortunately, climate change is already affecting yields globally. “That means we must use all the tools available to us to grow more food on less land and with less water,” she said.

– Kira Maixner

Source: Business Standard
Photo: Rising Pyramid


Caroline Anstey, from the Global Arab Network at the World Bank, identified how development is extremely challenging to achieve in places where conflict, war, or any kind of political instability is present. In particular, she shed light on Palestinian development. She expressed how there were little improvements, which marked the light at the end of the tunnel, such as students learning animation skills at an institute, roads being paved to facilitate transportation, and access to health and education. However, despite those, the 50% unemployment rate marks a hopeless and almost helpless Palestinian economy.

There has been some success, according to Anstey.  “Since 2004, 11 countries have graduated from fragile status.” However, she emphasizes that it takes a certain sustainable commitment to end cycles of violence and develop a country, a commitment that remains “long after the cameras leave.” Each country is different, and so it might take different approaches to fulfill each country’s needs. In the Palestinian case, development work and projects can meet immediate needs and offer short-term solutions to help better prepare for the future. On a different note, it is crucial to recognize that no real substantial long-term development can happen in Palestine without a political solution.

On the bright side, Palestine is one of the countries that met the U.N. Millennium Goals because they halved the number of people living on less than almost 1 dollar a day. According to Anstey, the World Bank has worked directly with the Palestinian Authority on “social safety net reform[s]” where they reached out to the poorest Palestinians and offered them cash transfers. Just as well, social safety nets in Palestine have not been costly in relation to GDP and have been successful in reaching out to the poorest Palestinians, those who truly needed help and qualified.

Anstey realizes that in order to achieve tangible development results, solutions must be crafted specifically to meet each distinct circumstance, for again, not all countries have the same needs.

– Leen Abdallah
Source: Global Arab Network

The USAID is awarding the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) a $24 million dollar contract for a three-year sustainable electricity pilot in Haiti.  The project will serve to provide electricity to the rural region around Caracol and give at least 5,000 Haitians light.  NRECA will consolidate an electric distribution system in Caracol with a a power generation system to create regional utility services able to serve the rural region.

The project will serve as a blueprint for sustainable electric projects both in Haiti and globally and NRECA is excited for the USAID partnership. The funds from USAID will allow NRECA to operate the power plant and train a competent, educated workforce to continue the project after the three-year duration. NRECA is a national service organization that represents the US not-for-profit, consumer owned electric cooperatives.

80 local Haitians will be hired and trained to oversee the project so that it can continue to run without the need for outside technical expertise. Electricity will be fueled by diesel and heavy fuel oil. In the future, plans to create a solar power component to fuel the project are being drawn up.  The plant will be the only utility in Haiti to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

USAID hopes the model will be a new blueprint for providing reliable electricity and sound business help to meet the needs of economically-disadvantaged communities. The community will be engaged through focus groups to discuss topics such as costs of service, consumer obligations, and tariffs. The model and project are a step in the right direction towards sustainable development.

Amanda Kloeppel

Source: NRECA

Nike, NASA, USAID and Sustainability
Nike has partnered with NASA, USAID and the US Department of State to bring together specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs to take action around a global challenge — sourcing and utilizing sustainable materials. A three-day LAUNCH 2020 Summit is planned for September 2013, highlighting the importance of innovation and collaboration in developing materials that will not have a negative impact on people and the planet.

It is estimated that around 150 billion garments were produced around the world in 2010, and by 2015 the global apparel industry is expected to produce more than 400 billion square meters of fabric every year. This massive industry has a tremendous effect on agriculture, natural resources, communities, and environmental damage due to toxins, waste and carbon emissions.

LAUNCH, started in 2010, seeks “innovations that will transform the system of fabrics to one that advances equitable global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources.”  This is what sustainability is all about; finding business practices that are not detrimental, while also allowing for continued growth.

There is also a LAUNCH 2013 Challenge Statement, an open call for innovators to invent new systems of producing fabrics. In August, 2013, the 10 strongest ideas will be selected and participants will take part in an intensive program to provide them access to “capital, creativity and capacity.” Three years ago LAUNCH chose astronaut Ron Garan’s innovation on clean water. Garan developed a concept to deliver clean water, energy and sanitation to poor communities, through the combination of sustainable development and carbon credits. As part of the LAUNCH process, Garan met with experts and investors to bring his idea to life. His Carbon for Water project has now successfully distributed one million filters that provide clean water to 4.5 million people in Kenya.

Nike also recently joined 32 other multinational companies, including eBay, IKEA, L’Oréal and Limited Brands, in signing a “Climate Declaration” asking federal policymakers to take action on climate change. As part of the declaration, the companies also asserted that over coming climate challenge is also one of the biggest American economic opportunities of the 21st century.

– Mary Purcell
Source: Sustainable Brands, LAUNCH



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Global poverty is an international issue, and because of its scope helping the poor can often seem like an insurmountable problem. However, if everyone one person devoted to the cause could take 5 or 10 minutes to make an effort and get involved, the solution to poverty wouldn’t seem so out of reach. Here are some simple ways to make a difference:

1. Call or Write Congress

The power of free speech is often underestimated; when in reality congressional leaders often support poverty-reduction legislation when as few as 7 to 10 people in their district contact them in support of it. Calling your leaders each week only takes up to a minute out of your schedule – all you need to say is that you are calling to support funding for USAID or poverty-focused aid. Simple as that!

2. Donate to the Cause

There are many ways to donate either time or money – instead of birthday or graduation presents, ask for donations. Set up a fundraiser with your local bakery. Volunteer and donate your time to aid organizations. The options are endless.

3. Spread the Word

In order to solve a global problem, it is important to have a global presence. Whether through flier posting, blogging, or word of mouth, make sure to educate those around you to the trials of those in poverty and the simplicity of the solution. Encourage others to call their congressional leaders in order to have the most impact on foreign aid legislation. It’s as easy as posting a link with the information to your social media accounts.

Being an active member of the movement to eradicate poverty is incredibly important; and the more people that get interested and involved, the faster the government will take note and put more poverty-focused aid into legislation. It’s quick and simple, so why not take a minute to call right now?

-Sarah Rybak
Source: The Borgen Project
Photo: The Ambrose School

Most major news venues are preaching about the crash of the global economy, however, there are certain attitudes that have been left untold. In a study done by the Pew Research Center from March 2 to May 1 of this year, attitudes reflect that things are not as bad as they seem, especially from the viewpoints of citizens of emerging economies worldwide.

Citizens of both advanced and developing economies declared that their personal finances were in a positive state despite the unequal and jobless market the recession brought. Citizens of emerging economies were particularly optimistic, 48% expecting their national economies to improve in the next 12 months. 53% of people surveyed in emerging economies said that they thought their economy was doing well. Furthermore, these positive attitudes have changed very little and have even improved from 2007 to 2013.

In contrast, 25% of people living in advanced economies said they thought their economy was failing and as many as 32% said their economy would get worse. The survey revealed that negative attitudes about national economies are more typical of European Countries and advanced economies such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece.

The survey proved that even in the face of a negative reality, emerging economies come out on top. 80% of Chinese citizens and 85% of Malayasian citizens that took part in the survey agreed that their emerging economy was doing well, while 24% of those surveyed in advanced economies thought the opposite about their own national economy. One factor that all participants surveyed could agree on was that the gap between the rich and the poor was definitely increasing, most distressfully in developing countries.

Kira Maixner

Source: Hindustan Times
Photo: The Guardian

DFID is the Department for International Development.  Set up in 1997, DFID leads the UK government’s fight against world poverty. They are responsible for the implementation of long-term programs to help stop the underlying causes of poverty and to respond to humanitarian emergencies.

DFID is a ministerial department that is supported by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact. The department is responsible for honoring the UK’s international commitments and taking action on the Millennium Development Goals. These include: targeting international development policy on economic growth and wealth creation, improving international development coherence and performance in fragile and conflict-affected countries, improving conditions for women and girls, including, education, family planning and violence prevention, and finally, working to prevent climate change.

DFID has prioritized several goals to create the most effective aid organization possible. These priorities include education, health, economic growth and the private sector, governance and conflict, climate and the environment, and water and sanitation. Many of their goals within the individual categories closely align with those outlined in the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.  DFID is a state-funded department, which accepts applications for various aid programs.

DFID works in 29 countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They are working with international organizations and the governments of poorer countries to help end poverty. They are taking action to mitigate climate change, help developing countries’ economies grow and countering weapons. They expel a great deal of energy working to create stability in the developing world as well as fight corruption, forcing countries to become more transparent and accountable. DFID also understands that children in developing countries need improved access to education, health services, and sanitation, and they are implementing programs in many countries to improve these standards.

DFID is headed by three ministers. Justine Greening serves as the Secretary of State for International Development, Alan Duncan serves as the Minister of State for International Development and Lynne Featherstone serves as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development.

-Caitlin Zusy

USAID and Qualcomm announced a formal agreement to work to expand global technology and increase collaborative efforts in development.  Qualcomm, a San-Diego based telecommunications company, has been working with USAID in recent years to improve access to technology in developing countries. The formal agreement will give Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Division the ability to carry out projects.

Those that have already benefited from USAID and Qualcomm’s projects are fishermen in Brazil, police officers in El Salvador, and health workers in the Philippines.  In Brazil, the joint project provided small-scale fisherman with mobile devices and applications to connect with buyers, track sales, and get weather updates. Qualcomm was able to equip police in high-crime neighborhoods in El Salvador with smart phones that allowed them to connect to a database to work to reduce crime. Collaboration in the Philippines helped rural health clinics establish electronic records.

USAID commended Qualcomm for being an innovative, nimble, and strategic global technology leader.  USAID and Qualcomm share a vision of how to address the challenges in the developing world. Among the current goals of the formal agreement are to close the mobile phone gender gap, expand access to broadband, reduce the negative effects of climate change, and connect small farmers to market data.  Projects in Africa and Asia are the top priority and future consideration will be given to other areas including Latin America.

The future of technology in developing nations is changing quickly and this is just more step in the right direction.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: UT San Diego
Photo: CIAT News