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Sharing the Burden

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
April 2, 2012 |

It's 113 years since Rudyard Kipling -- poet propagandist for empire -- exhorted Americans, newly ensconced as the colonial power in the Philippines, to "Take up the White Man's burden/The savage wars of peace/Fill full the mouth of Famine/And bid the sickness cease." A century and change later, a new survey suggests people in the rich world have attitudes towards developing countries that would make Kipling proud.

New Podcast: The ‘Youth Voice’ in Youth Savings

March 23, 2012

Originally posted on www.youthsave.org

Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, 50% of which is comprised of youth. In 2011 YouthSave’s financial institution partner, Kenya Post Office Savings began piloting its YouthSave account, SMATA, across a number of its branches, including one in Kenyatta Market just outside of Kibera. In this podcast, we highlight the youth voice, hearing directly from four exceptional young people living in Kibera, on their savings goals, challenges, and plans for the future. The interviews of youth clients in this podcast provide a snapshot of what saving and having a savings account means to many.

Next Billion Big Idea Series: Taking Mobile Money Forward

March 6, 2012
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This piece was originally posted on Next Billion as part of their Big Idea series on the growth of mobile money.

The excitement of mobile money has been dampened by an inability of deployments to take hold outside a handful of successful markets. Driving the enthusiasm forward is the opportunity to bridge the gap between one billion people in emerging markets who have mobile phones but no bank account. Last week, McKinsey & Company released a report “Mobile money: Getting to scale in emerging markets” seeking to cut through this excitement and identify critical success factors for implementation.

Mapping the Potential for Wealth Creation through Cash Transfers

March 6, 2012

NAF's Global Savings and Social Protection initiative is excited to release its first heat-mapping of different countries' potential to implement savings-linked social protection programs. NAF has identified 51 countries around the world that have social safety net/public benefit programs that involve cash transfers. For these countries, this map shows 11 different variables relating to their payment infrastructure. A country's score of 1-5 on each variable corresponds to its relative quintile; that is to say, India's score on ATM's per 100,000 adults is a '2' because its data falls in the second quintile (between the 20th and 40th percentile). Each variable is used to compute the country's composite Payment Infrastructure rating of Low/Medium/High. Roll over or click a country to view individual indicators.

Mobile Phones Will Not Save the Poorest of the Poor

  • By
  • Sascha Meinrath,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2012 |

Entrepreneurs, businesses, NGOs, and governments exalt mobile technology as a game-changing tool to fight global poverty. But what if our eagerness to connect the world is inadvertently exacerbating the global economic divide?

Are Mobile Solutions Overhyped?

  • By
  • Eric Tyler,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Kentaro Toyama, University of California, Berkeley; Maura O’Neill, USAID; and Katrin Verclas, MobileActive
February 7, 2012 |

Editor’s Note: Contributors to this post will be part of a panel on the topic taking place on Thursday, February 9th in Washington, D.C. Sign up for the event here. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

From your pocket to theirs: a new approach to charity

January 12, 2012

The Global Assets Project has written extensively about the virtues of international aid agencies and national governments transferring money directly to poor households. As such, we are thrilled to see a US-based NGO, GiveDirectly, taking this idea "to the streets" and enabling people to directly donate money to poor households in Kenya via their mobile phones. Similar to other cash-transfer programs, GiveDirectly’s model is incredibly efficient, with around 90 cents of every dollar ending up in the hands of beneficiaries, and enables recipients to decide for themselves how to go about meeting their needs.

Democracy Promotion: Done Right, A Progressive Cause

  • By
  • Rosa Brooks,
  • New America Foundation
December 14, 2011 |

By the beginning of the Obama Administration, democracy promotion had become a rather tarnished idea, and understandably so. Like Islam or Christianity, much blood has been shed beneath its banner. It may be true that democracies don’t go to war with one another, but they certainly go to war, and their wars kill people just as dead as the wars undertaken by illiberal regimes. Anyone on the political left can tell the story: During the Cold War, the United States fought endless proxy wars and engaged in a great deal of overt and covert mischief, all in the name of democracy.

Kenya’s Leaders in the Financial Services and Savings Industry Gather in Nairobi for Joint SPINNAKER-FSD Workshop

December 1, 2011

This post originally appeared on the SPINNAKER Network.

On November 18th in Nairobi, Kenya, the Global Assets Project in partnership with FSD Kenya held a half-day industry workshop to share initial findings from the SPINNAKER Network’s recent landscape study on savings products in the country. Jamie Zimmerman presented on the study’s initial findings to Kenya’s policy makers, practitioners, and financial institution representatives, and facilitated various discussions on salient issues related to 1) access to financial services 2) client uptake of savings products and 3) regulatory hurdles facing institutions seeking to offer savings products to the poor.

A Troubled Revolution in Egypt

  • By
  • Katherine Zoepf,
  • New America Foundation
November 22, 2011 |

A decade ago, as a bookish schoolgirl in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag, Samira Ibrahim Mohamed was fascinated by Egyptology and yearned to see the antiquities at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo one day.

But when she finally set foot on the grounds of the landmark pink stone building, on March 9, the museum had been turned into a makeshift torture center. Ms. Mohamed, who had just been arrested by the army during a protest on nearby Tahrir Square, was given electric shocks that she said made her body twitch spasmodically for days afterward.

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