Development Blog

The leaders of the G8 came to the UK over a month ago and David Cameron hosted a ‘Hunger Summit’. While the summit did pledge up to $4.15bn (USD) to tackle malnutrition did it take the opportunity to boost public investment in the small holder farmers that feed a third of the world’s population?

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Supporting women smallholder farmers like this one is one of the most effective ways to tip the balance away from under-nutrition and poverty. © CARE Supporting women smallholder farmers like this one is one of the most effective ways to tip the balance away from under-nutrition and poverty. © CARE

Debate on the possibilities at the base of the pyramid (BOP) is ubiquitous; nonetheless, too often regulated to a post-script is that frequently when we refer to the BOP what we actually mean is women at the BOP.  It’s time to stop discussing the BOP as a single, homogenous entity and start looking more specifically at what it will mean to engage with women as producers and as consumers.

Apart from some notable exceptions, the most oft-cited evidence for the business case for gender equality tends to focus disproportionately on large, western companies in the formal sector. Far less visible are examples that demonstrate why companies should-or how they can- act on Women’s Empowerment Principle 5: “implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.”

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In Poverty and Out of Profit: the business case for engaging with poor farmers in Bangladesh's dairy sector In Poverty and Out of Profit: the business case for engaging with poor farmers in Bangladesh's dairy sector

This week American stakeholders announced the formation of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and signatories to the European Fire and Building Safety Accord released their Implementation Plan. While both agreements represent steps in the right direction, to address the root causes of the Rana Plaza disaster, both initiatives must take further measures to build capacity and political will in the Government of Bangladesh.

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Women working in the garment industry in Bangladesh. © CARE/Josh Estey Women working in the garment industry in Bangladesh. © CARE/Josh Estey

A recent WHO study re-confirmed that Pakistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world (nearly 300 women die for every 100,000 births) and many of them are under 20 years old. Despite the challenging political, economic and social context, sixteen parliamentarians from the main four provinces in Pakistan have recently promised to include sexual and reproductive health needs in their provincial health plans.

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A Pakistani woman. © CARE A Pakistani woman. © CARE

In the last few months the world’s leaders have declared and resolved to end sexual violence against women in conflict. First we had the G8 declaration and then UN resolution 2106 but what difference will these really make to the women who are being raped in places like the DRC, Syria and South Sudan?

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G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Bill Gates claims to read 20-30 books a month. Yet the truth is most of us working in development rarely read a book cover to cover. ‘Book Off’ – is CARE International UK’s (CIUK’s) attempt to tap into the best new ideas without spending a day in the library. My contribution to this month’s rapid fire discussion group was a look at conflict guru Chris Cramer’s seminal book, Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing, from 2006, and the key ideas it contains.

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‘Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing’ - Christopher Cramer. ‘Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing’ - Christopher Cramer.

There are certain working conditions that most workers take for granted; established working hours, a minimum wage, paid annual leave, social security and maternity leave. Historically, domestic workers haven’t shared these basic rights but a major new piece of legislation could change this unacceptable breach of human rights. On the 16th June 2011, at the International Labour Organisation's 100th international conference, 183 countries signed Convention 189. This landmark legislation mandates state-supported protection to ensure decent work for domestic workers. However, to date, only eight countries have ratified the convention (Uruguay, the Philippines, Mauritius, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Italy, Paraguay, and South Africa). At CARE International, we believe domestic work is “real” work and it is time for domestic workers to be granted the same working conditions that other workers all over the world are granted without question.  

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 Machala Ecuador: domestic workers are often primary care givers to children. © CARE/Kathryn Richards Machala Ecuador: domestic workers are often primary care givers to children. © CARE/Kathryn Richards