Science – Technology – Microfinancing (dgAlert)

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Science and Technology for Micro-finance Schemes

From subsistence living to small-scale enterprises to eradicate poverty in Eastern and Southern Africa“In recent years, micro-finance has become a major component of the strategy for poverty alleviation. But, most often this only provides subsistence living for the clients with little opportunity of providing jobs for others in the community. The overall goal of this project is to transform small-scale income- earning activities from subsistence living to micro-enterprises that provide jobs for others. Through the additional employment created, the project will increase the impact of the micro-finance schemes and accelerate the rate of poverty reduction. It will enable the poor to become not only income-earners but also employers of the poorest among them.

The project aims to bring appropriate technologies into income-generating activities and help more appropriate technologies to be used by the credit agencies for providing services and information to their clients. In particular, the project will achieve the following:· Identify and compile information on best practices and policies for the growth and transformation of micro-finance projects. These practices and policies will include not only those for the injection of technology into the financed activities but also include those relating to the use of technology to provide services and information (e.g. the use of ICTs) to the clients of the schemes.
· Dissemination and sharing of information and experience on best practices among agencies involved in the administration of micro-finance schemes.

Encouraging several micro-finance schemes in six African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Sierra Leone, Senegal) to adopt the policies and best practices identified above.

While the project will result in the publication of a book on best practices for technological capacity building in small-scale enterprises, perhaps the most important outcome expected to be derived from the advocacy role played for the adoption of policies that enable small-scale enterprise growth through the injection of technology. It is expected that there will be improvement in the operation, effectiveness, productivity and size of the activities funded by those micro-finance schemes that adopt the policies advocated in the book on best practices.”

Micro-Finance and Development (dgAlert)

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Micro-Finance Interventions in Development: An Introduction

“Micro-Finance is a new word that has become a part of the development vocabulary today. This phrase comprises of two words: micro and finance, which literally could mean small credit. However, the concept of micro-Finance goes far beyond small credit and not all small credit is micro-Finance. In this paper, the author briefly outline: what is micro-Finance, why micro-Finance is required, and how micro-Finance is being extended.”

Science and Technology Literacy (dgAlert)

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Science and Technology Literacy

“The discussion about scientific and technological literacy that has gone on for two decades has yielded important results, and has influenced educational systems in many countries. This blog posting, however, suggests that the benefits have not extended to the half of the world’s population who live on less than $2 dollars a day, who spend little time in schools, and who have few opportunities for continuing education. Yet their traditional and local knowledge systems need to be more fully informed by the natural and social sciences and modern technology. Poor people need often to replace harmful superstitious beliefs with more accurate and useful understanding of the natural world, society, and human-built technological systems which form their environment. Schools should do more to prepare children of the poor in poor countries for lifetime learning, including how to operate and maintain technology, how to design solutions to problems, and how to get good information. It is hoped that people will join into the discussion by adding comments to this blog posting. John Daly, Thoughts About K4D, March 20, 2007.

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Agriculture and Natural Resources in Laos (dgAlert)

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Governance Issues in Agriculture and Natural Resources in Laos

“This case study highlights a few key issues affecting the performance of the agriculture and natural resources sector in Laos. Major concerns include corruption and its consequences, deficiencies and inconsistencies in the legislative framework and its implementation to manage common property natural resources on a sustainable basis, inadequately supervised and largely unaccountable state-owned enterprises, and a number of policies that appear to be biased against the interests of the rural poor (including ethnic minorities).”

African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS)

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African Center for Technology Studies

“ACTS is a Nairobi-based international intergovernmental science, technology and environmental policy think-tank that generates and disseminates new knowledge through policy analysis, capacity building and outreach.
The Centre strives to rationalize scientific and technological information to enable African countries make effective policy choices for improved living standards. ACTS works with partners and networks including academic and research institutions, national governments, UN bodies, regional and international processes and NGOs. ACTS’ research and capacity building activities are organised in five programmatic areas: Biodiversity and Environmental Governance; Energy and Water Security; Agriculture and Food Security; Cross-Cutting Issues; and Science and Technology Literacy. Its members include the the Governments of Kenya, Malawi, Malta, Uganda and Ghana, as well as the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

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Threats for top rivers (dgAlert)

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Going nowhere fast: Top rivers face mounting threats

20 Mar 2007
Gland, Switzerland – Rivers on every continent are drying out, threatening severe water shortages, according to a new WWF report.

“The report, World’s Top Rivers at Risk, released ahead of World Water Day (22 March), lists the top ten rivers that are fast dying as a result of climate change, pollution and dams.

“All the rivers in the report symbolize the current freshwater crisis, which we have been signalling for years,” says WWF Global Freshwater Programme Director Jamie Pittock.

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Rural development in Morocco (dgAlert)

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Survival, Change and Decision-Making in Rural Households: Three Village Case Studies from Eastern Morocco

“Elhouafi and Taghilast are poor communities where rainfed cereal production and extensive livestock-rearing are practised in increasingly degraded natural environments. In spite of the many similarities between the two villages, the case studies reveal a number of important differences in terms of (i) survival strategies, (ii) perceptions and priorities, (iii) environmental circumstances, (iv) community organization and (v) the role of women in the household economy and in decision-making. The situation in Oulad Lfqir is, in turn, different from that of other, similar villages with irrigation-based economies, owing to a single critical variable: river pollution.

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