Children's voices took centre stage at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, which kicked off in Durban, South Africa, on May 15, 2022. Their voices resonated with the saying: "Nothing about us without us."
The Global Estimate on Child Labour estimates 160 million children are in child labour worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Children washing clothes in rivers, begging on the streets, hawking, walking for kilometres in search of water and firewood, their tiny hands competing with older, experienced hands to pick coffee or tea, or as child soldiers are familiar sights in Africa and Asia.
This is our third episode on the ongoing movements of people around the world. You can listen to the previous ones, the first about climate migrants
and the second on remittances
, on any podcast app.
It was a long, harrowing road for Freshta and Shabaneh, two mothers (their names are pseudonyms) who fled Kabul, Afghanistan, late last summer before eventually settling in the southern New Jersey township of Hamilton.
The Theater of the Oppressed helped her become aware of the triple discrimination suffered by black women in Brazil and the means to confront it, such as the Rio de Janeiro Domestic Workers Union, which she has chaired since 2018.
I recently visited Abu Dhabi and my impressions became intermingled with worries about the war in Ukraine. I also happened to read Livy’s The Early History of Rome
, written around the beginning of CE, coming across these lines:
After two years of human devastation, the world is learning to live with COVID-19 while trying to balance the protection of public health and livelihoods.
For countries in Asia and the Pacific, this is challenging not only because national coffers are heavily strained by record public spending to mitigate pandemic suffering, but also due to deeper structural economic issues.
Food systems are under severe stress around the world now. The thresholds of tolerance are already exceeding limits with millions facing acute food and water scarcity throughout all continents. Over a quarter of Africa’s population are facing hunger and food insecurity. Conflict, droughts, flooding, rising unemployment, inequality, economic crises, and the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic have been ravaging the Continent on an unprecedented scale.
The world is sailing into a perfect storm as key leaders seem intent on threatening more war, albeit while proclaiming the noblest of intentions. By doing so, they block international cooperation to create conditions for sustainable peace and shared prosperity for all.
The spectre of ‘stagflation’ threatens the world once again. This time, the risk is the direct consequence of political provocations and war, and not simply due to inexorable economic forces.
Stagflation is a composite word implying inflation with stagnation. Stagnation refers to weak, ‘near zero’ growth, inevitably worsening unemployment. Inflation refers to price increases – not high prices, as often implied.
According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)
, the unemployment rate in urban India stood at 9.4 percent between January and March 2021, with an even higher proportion of youth unemployment (22.9 percent). In the same time period, more than 11 percent of the urban workforce reported working for less than 36 hours in a typical week.
“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. Still haunted by the clever preaching of monetarist guru Milton Friedman’s ghost, all too many monetary authorities address every inflationary threat or sign they see by raising interest rates.
Doris Martínez was a cook in a Venezuelan restaurant that closed its doors; she emigrated to Colombia, got sick from working long hours standing in front of a stove, and returned to her country where, together with her husband and children, she runs a busy fast food kiosk on a road in Valles del Tuy, near the Venezuelan capital.
More than 60 percent of the world’s adult labour force –or about 2 billion workers– work in the informal economy. “They are not recognised, registered, regulated or protected under labour legislation and social protection. The consequences can be severe, for individuals, families as well as economies.”
For the past three years, BRAC International
has been piloting in Liberia an adaptation of its acclaimed Graduation approach
, whose impact on reducing extreme poverty was first proven in Bangladesh
. The success of the Liberia pilot, which I managed, provides not only further proof of impact but vital lessons that can enhance and accelerate scaling of the approach globally.
All too many developing countries have been persuaded or required to prioritize inflation targeting
(IT) in their monetary policy. By doing so, they have tied their own hands instead of adopting bolder economic policies for growth, jobs and sustainable development.
The world is currently facing a devastating war with dire prospects for our global security. Men are waging this war while women seek peace and security for their families, communities and our global society. Women are give birth and nurture while some men actively seek death and destruction. This is one of the fundamental differences between the sexes which underpins patriarchy and generates inequality on many levels. Women and girls bear the brunt of this unbalanced approach to life.
When countries improve their Global ranking, there is rejoicing within the community that progress has been made at last.. but has it and why does it matter ?
In the second week of January 2022, Purushottam—locally known as Prashant—a street vendor in central Delhi’s Connaught Place area, died by suicide. It was later discovered that the reason for his death was his inability to pay certain debts.
"We started making shampoos and soaps in the kitchen of a friend’s house in 2017. We were five or six girls without jobs, looking for a collective solution, and today we are here," says Letsy Villca, standing between the white walls of the spacious laboratory of Maleza Cosmética Natural, a cooperative that brings together 44 women in their early twenties in the Argentine capital.