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Five Development Success Stories

South Korea South Korea’s recent development has been nothing short of spectacular. In less than half a century, it has gone from being wracked by poverty and dependent on foreign aid, to one of the most advanced countries in the world. In 1960, the average income per person was the equivalent of just $155 a

Julius Kambarage Nyerere

As part of the ‘Postgrads from the Edge’ series, University of Edinburgh PhD student Tom Cunningham has written a great post on perhaps the university’s best-known African graduate, Julius Nyerere: As President of Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) he led Tanganyika to Independence in 1961 and served as President of the Republic of Tanzania (the

The Eradication of Poverty

Last Monday was International Day for the Eradication of Poverty; a day which can trace its roots to a gathering of more than 100,000 people in Paris on 17th October 1987 to honour the victims of poverty and demand more action worldwide. According to the UN, the day calls for “presenting and promoting… concrete activities

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

How do you know if your chosen fabulous looking charity is providing good value for your money? Charities frequently report percentages of money spent on “Programs”, “Administration” and “Fundraising” or some similar ensemble. While I understand the motivation for this approach, I think it is the wrong way to go about finding out if your

Names Out Of A Hat

24,000 trees. That’s how many we have in our nursery to give out to farmers. Sounds like a lot. And it is when you have to shovel the 400 tons of soil needed to grow the seeds. But it is not really many trees when you start thinking about which farmers – exactly – they

The Science Is In: Seed Change Works

According to this recent article in The Economist, Seed Change’s model of tackling poverty is pretty close to the ideal. The article outlines recent work done by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (and several others) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (who are also authors of the highly readable and informative Poor Economics of a few years