›April 28, 2014 // By Elizabeth Leahy Madsen
Democracy is fickle. Many of the competing theories on the best ways to foment and consolidate plural, inclusive governance or predict its rise and fall focus on political and economic forces. Yet a small group of demographers have explored population age structure as a catalyst for and reflection of a host of changes in societies that can affect governance.
›March 21, 2014 // By Kathleen Mogelgaard
It was a scorching hot April afternoon in Keur Moussa, a small farming community about 60 kilometers outside Dakar, Senegal. The landscape was mostly barren and very dry, and a fine red dust settled into our clothes as we walked with community leaders to learn about their efforts to cope with a changing environment. In this part of the world, adapting to climate change is figuring out how to manage water: how to survive for long periods without it, and what to do when too much comes at unexpected times.
›August 7, 2013 // By Elizabeth Leahy Madsen
In a recent post on the new United Nations population projections, I discussed the risk in assuming that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will progress through the demographic transition at a pace similar to other regions. Making this assumption is questionable because fertility decline in Africa has generally proceeded more slowly than in other parts of the world, with several cases of “stalls” and even small fertility increases over time.
›August 1, 2013 // By Kathleen Mogelgaard
Cambodia to grow by nearly one-third by 2050; Kenya to more than double; Mali to swell to three times its current size. These were the population projections available when Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative, was beginning implementation in 19 focus countries around the globe in 2010.
›June 20, 2013 // By Kathleen Mogelgaard
A woman sat crouched on the side of a busy road in Dakar, a baby in a sling on her back and a basket of peanuts in front. I know only a little French, and no Wolof, but I decided to try anyway. “Bonsoir,” I said, and smiled at the toddler beside her. “Combien?” I asked, pointing at the peanuts.
She smiled back at me, we negotiated a sale, and in exchange for the coins in my pocket I walked away with a few bags of the small, tasty nuts that are grown throughout the “peanut basin” of central Senegal.
The 2011-12 West African food crisis led to riots in Senegal and Burkina Faso as well as food insecurity for millions of rural and urban poor across the region. The crisis emerged from a number of factors, including instability in northern Mali, increases in global food prices, and low rainfall in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 growing seasons. Many countries in the region are now reassessing and expanding domestic agricultural capabilities. At the top of the agenda for Senegal, a democratic republic on track to reach many Millennium Development Goals, is reducing youth unemployment and increasing domestic agricultural capacity.
“It’s always important when working in policy to consider what we can do beyond conception and look at more implementation,” said Valerie Stahl of New York University at the Wilson Center last month.
Stahl was one of three graduate students presenting their winning papers for an annual academic paper competition, “Reducing Urban Poverty,” co-sponsored by the Wilson Center, USAID, International Housing Coalition, Cities Alliance, and the World Bank. This year’s competition was the third in an effort to better link new academic work on urban issues to actual policymaking. [Video Below]
Over the past few months, the Sahel drought has sparked attention of news media and concerned citizens around the world. Throughout this media blitz, I have been struck by the sharp contrast between this coverage and how the devastating effects of malnutrition are usually portrayed. Malnutrition is often overlooked in favor of more “newsworthy” diseases, and it takes a crisis to focus our attention on this public health issue. Yet an emergency such as this drought – affecting more than 18 million people, including nearly 2 million children – is difficult to ignore.
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