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Brazil's Smartphone Census It is a country that has high levels of poverty and inequality and asks its citizens on the very first page of the national census if they use a hole in the ground or open cesspit for a toilet. Yet...

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War on Want and the Bitter Taste of Tea Campaigning and advocacy group War on Want have just released a report on the pitiful pay and conditions that tea workers endure throughout the world. It's an industry that really hasn't changed a great...

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Why India will never produce a $35 iPad or slate computer So I got quite excited when I read that the Indian Government had announced that it was going to produce an iPad/slate type computer powered by solar batteries with wi-fi and web-conferencing facilities...

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Six Oranges Documentary: Bangladeshi Migrant Workers... My colleagues at Six Oranges have co-produced a new documentary which is directed by Goya award winner David Munoz. Tres Tristes Tigres (Three Sad Tigers) is the story about three migrants from the rural...

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Mean Streets - Valencia Here's an experiment with pictures and video. I recently went to Valencia and looked to capture the city with a loose brief of Street Art and the things the tourist board would not want you to see. There...

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Migrants kill swans for food story makes pre-election appearance

By admin | Posted on 28-03-2010

You know there must be an election around the corner if the ‘Migrants Ate the Village Swans’ myth makes an appearance in the media. Last week, The Express published such a story about migrants, swans and the “raping and pillaging” of local fish in Peterborough. Interesting to note that the local rag’s story makes no mention of migrants. The very smart people at Tabloid Watch have documented these spurious stories and take a hatchet to this one – as opposed to the...

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Poverty Lab raises doubts about microfinance claims

By admin | Posted on 13-03-2010

Esther Duflo of the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US is using the novel approach of randomised trials to find solutions to questions such as: “Does microfinance reduce poverty?” She has been speaking at the TED conference and impressing the assembled experts and celebrities with this approach which is seldom used in research in development issues. In a paper published last year, she and her colleagues assessed the impact of microfinance institutions...

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Far Fetched ideas No1 – Grameen and Yunus in Haiti

By admin | Posted on 28-01-2010

It’s little over a couple of weeks since Haiti’s tragic earthquake – but attention is being turned to rebuilding and the future. What is it about these types of events that make business folks, entrepreneurs and the business community think that this is an opportunity to start experimenting with ‘new’ approaches to rebuilding and reconstruction according to the way the corporate world works? Why do these people think that running a microfinance bank, soft-drinks corporation or computer...

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Does it matter that Microfinance does not lift people out of poverty

By admin | Posted on 28-01-2010

As new research starts to question the success microfinance on poverty reduction, it seems that supporters of the loan schemes are diluting their initial claims. The CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a leading supporter of microfinance, issued a research note this month which looks into the findings of recent research publications. The paper, by CGAP’s Richard Rosenberg, is remarkably upbeat despite none of the research papers that he mentions showing significant eveidence –...