My Wish Came True: Innovation in Sri Lankan Universities Just before participating in the mid-term review mission of Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century (HETC) project in Sri Lanka in mid-February, 2014, I went to Galle, a southern fort city in Sri Lanka, for a day. Galle has been used as a trading port around the 14th century and later occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British who ...

Women Take ICT Skills to the Next Level in Sri Lanka In light of International Women’s Day coming up on March 8th, I would like to share some two inspiring stories of young women that I met in Sri Lanka. They showed incredible entrepreneurialism and innovation in integrating ICT skills in creative teaching and learning at a university.       The first woman that I met was a young Information ...

“Grow Now Clean Up Later” No Longer an Option for India India’s stellar economic performance during the past decade has brought immense benefits to the people. Emmployment opportunities have increased, enabling millions to emerge from poverty. But rapid growth has been clouded by a degrading environment and a growing scarcity of natural resources. Today, India ranks 155th among 178 countries accounting for all measurable environmental indicators, and almost dead last ...

The Quest for Aid Effectiveness Has foreign aid been helpful for development? What helps and hinders it? What does the evidence say? The key challenge facing foreign aid globally is its effectiveness. Research on aid effectiveness has focused on outcomes such as a country’s economic growth or quality of institutions. These studies came to mixed conclusions over whether aid can effectively promote economic development. ...

Giving Every Mother Her Due in Tamil Nadu As fate would have it, Sriviliputtur Government Hospital (in Tamil Nadu’s Ramnathapuram district) happened to be one of the first hospitals he reviewed on taking charge. An officer on Pankaj Kumar Bansal’s team drew his attention to a heavily pregnant lady, who was close to panic stricken tears on being referred out, yet again, to another government hospital for ...

A recent Bangladesh World Bank study reports that remittance sent by expatriates is mostly used for consumption and in the “non-productive” sectors in the country. The survey conducted in 2011 found 90% of remittances were used for meeting basic needs. Seventy-five percent of households receiving remittance spent those on food, 42% on loan repayment, 65% on education, 57% on treatment, ...

New Text Message: Improving Service Delivery in Pakistan through Mobile Phones After visiting a government office, residents in Punjab may be surprised to find a familiar voice on the phone – their Chief Minister. “You have recently registered property,” the voice of Shahbaz Sharif booms, “Did you face any difficulties? Did you have to pay a bribe?” (Hear the robo-call here!)   It is an uncomfortable question – but one ...

Improving Service Delivery in Pakistan, One Text Message at a Time After visiting a government office, residents in Punjab may be surprised to find a familiar voice on the phone – their Chief Minister. “You have recently registered property,” the voice of Shahbaz Sharif booms, “Did you face any difficulties? Did you have to pay a bribe?” (Hear the robo-call here!)   It is an uncomfortable question – but one ...

How Fair is “Fair Compensation” Under India’s New Land Acquisition Act? The much anticipated Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (“the Act”) has just come into force in India on January 1st, 2014. Unlike the replaced 1894 legislation, this act addresses the rehabilitation and resettlement of those who depend on land, in addition to land owners. As emphasized in its title the new act ...

Can Businesses Help Create Political Stability? Businesses generally stand little chance of doing well when politics is not stable. Political stability is a necessary condition for an enabling business environment. What can the business community do to help achieve sustained political stability? Experience shows more often than not they fail to do so. What keeps the private sector divided even when both their collective and ...

A ‘Losing Prospect’ Argument for Changing Sanitation Behaviour Fact #1: One in six people still defecate in the open.  Fact #2: Most of them are not entirely convinced that a toilet does any good. Fact #3: Many of the recent toilet adopters still like to go in the open.[1] I don’t mean to be alarmist, but these signal a need for a shift in thinking about the complex problem of addressing behaviour change with respect to toilet adoption.

Explaining the Recent Decline in Remittances in Bangladesh Migrant workers sent $6.77 billion home to Bangladesh in July-December, down 8.41% from the same time a year ago. For the first time in recent memory, Bangladesh has experienced a decline in remittances in the first half of the fiscal year. There are four factors that can potentially account for the decline in remittances: the stock of Bangladeshi migrants ...

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