Browse by Theme: Livelihoods

The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last week (13-16 July) got rather tepid and mixed reviews. Surprisingly, for a conference on financing, the outcome document contains very few numbers, and many NGOs are unhappy about the lack of funding commitments (including CARE), lack of a commitment to a new intergovernmental tax body, and a concern about the prominence of private financing (Oxfam, CAFOD, Christian Aid).

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The real challenge for the new Sustainable Development Goals is what happens after they are agreed. Deciding on the goals and targets is only the first step; backing them up with the commitment to implement them is crucial. The emerging consensus between the private sector, civil society, governments and multilateral agencies on the need for progress on economically empowering women is a positive sign. But how can business help make this ambition a reality?

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How can we make sure that in a developing country that is economically and socially dependent on a single commodity, this becomes a development driver rather than a curse?

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A ground-breaking piece of development progress was marked last month when the World Bank updated its financial inclusion database and revealed that in the last three years alone, the number of people worldwide who have an account grew by 700 million, bringing the number of unbanked individuals down to 2 billion. The speed and scale of progress is staggering.

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How much does the average high street shopper pay attention to where their clothes come from? If asked, most people wouldn’t think of Laos – but according to a 2012 World Bank report, even though Laos’ production of garments is still modest compared to some of its more competitive neighbours (China, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam), garment production is the largest manufacturing sector in the country, with an annual turnover of $200 million. The sector employs more than 20,000 people in over 100 factories, and as with other low-cost garment-producing countries, most of the garment workers in Laos are young (17-25 years old), female (85%) and have migrated from the country’s rural areas. But do the pull factors of rural-urban migration translate into a better life?

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When I arrived in Yasubi, a small and industrious village in the Okapa district of the Papua New Guinea highlands, I could see that most of the services we normally take for granted – like electricity, running water, accessible roads – were absent. Most of the hard-working, coffee-producing families live in traditional round huts, with smoke from a wood fire rising through the grass roof so that, from outside, the structure looks like some huge vegetable just pulled out of a pot of hot water.

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Promoting gender equality is a core belief of the Cocoa Life programme. For years we have been working with partners including humanitarian organisations like CARE International to implement programmes that empower women in cocoa communities, writes Cathy Pieters, Global Director of Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International.

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