India loses up to $46 billion to malnourishment #WTFnews


Malnourished child

Malnourished child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Author(s):
Jitendra
Issue Date:
2013-5-29

Report by children’s non-profit links childhood malnourishment to educational performance, adult income and GDP

 

Malnutrition decrease the gross domestic product (GDP) in low- and middle-income countries, says a report by international non-profit Save the Children. Malnutrition affects educational development, physical productivity and health, and also perpetuates inequalities, such as those created by caste in India, says the report.

The report, Food for thought: Tackling child malnutrition to unlock potential to boost prosperity, is based on a study conducted in four countries—India, Vietnam, Peru and Ethiopia. It argues that investment in preventing malnutrition in women and children would be the down payment for future prosperity.

The study estimates that the economic cost of micro-nutrient malnutrition costs India between 0.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent of its GDP, which is equivalent to $15–46 billion. China, too, loses between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent of GDP, equivalent to $15– 29 billion because of malnutrition.

The study looks at various pathways of malnutrition, and elaborates on the cognitive and physical impacts on children, as well as additional medical costs due to ill health. These cumulative effects can reduce GDP by 2 per cent to 11 per cent.

Hindrance to inclusive growth

This study is the first of its kind to link child malnutrition to educational outcomes. Children who are malnourished from an early age are severely disadvantaged in their ability to learn.

The lack of proper nutrition for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children, especially before their second birthday can impair the child’s brain development, cognitive abilities and physical development, leading to stunting or reduced growth. Brain drain

In comparison to children who are provided with proper nutrition, children malnourished at age five would be expected to demonstrate the following impacts of malnutrition three years later:
They score 7 per cent lower in maths tests
Such children are19 per cent less likely to be able to read a simple sentence at the age of eight
They are 12.5 per cent less likely to be able to write a simple sentence
They are 13 per cent less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age at school

The report clearly links child malnutrition to educational outcomes, and demonstrates that children who are malnourished from an early age are severely disadvantaged in their ability to learn. These children later in life go on to earn 20 per cent less that other adults who are well-nourished in their childhood.

In effect, malnourishment perpetuates the cycle of poverty, as poverty-stricken and malnourished mothers have stunted children. The report states that children born to the poorest of families in developing countries are 2.8 times more likely to be malnourished than those in the richest, and are likely to go on to earn less than their better-off and better-nourished peers.

Thus the unequal social prevalence of malnourishment acts as a barrier to inclusive growth and the reduction of inequalities.

In India, the problem of malnourishment is helping to perpetuate the caste system, says the report. It goes on to say that if nutritional inequalities were tackled in such a way that low-caste children gained the same average nutritional status as their upper caste counterpart, this would close existing caste cognitive differentials by 25 per cent.

Hard facts

According to the report, State of the World’s Children, 2012, by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 47 per cent children under five in South Asia and 39 per cent under-fives in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted and their potential severely damaged. In Nigeria, 10.9 million children under five are stunted while in India, the figure is 61.4 million.

As many as 19,000 children continue to die worldwide each day from diseases which could have been easily prevented. Malnutrition is responsible for 2.3 million children’s deaths annually, and 130 million malnourished children who managed to reach school failed to learn even basics and are left without core skills and abilities they need to make their lives more productive.

The report suggests that direct nutrition interventions, such as promoting breastfeeding, and indirect nutrition interventions, such as social protection, investments in agriculture, and ensuring access to safe water and sanitation, can address malnutrition’s underlying causes.

Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/india-loses-46-billion-malnourishment

 

In #India firms reap bitter harvest in #Africa #Ethipopia


26 October 2012 , By Aman Sethi, The Hindu
Have Emami and Karuturi bitten off more than they can chew in their land quest?

Indian companies which invested in controversial deals involving hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Ethiopia have found themselves out of their depth in a fast-growing African economy that is still in the process of building critical transport and irrigation networks.

Documents related to one such transaction reveal how Emami Biotech, a subsidiary of the Rs.2,200-crore Emami Group, pulled out of a Rs. 400-crore, 40,000-hectare, bio-fuel plantation only a year after the project was announced.

Indian companies are the second largest investors in the Ethiopian economy with approved investments worth nearly $5 billion.

While a majority of the businesses are small manufacturing and trading enterprises run by business families long settled in East Africa, the big money has come with the recent entry of large Indian investors.

A number of Indian companies have signed agreements to lease more than 4,40,000 hectares of land across Ethiopia, 1,00,000 hectares of which has been granted to a single Bangalore-based company, Karuturi Global Ltd. International. Rights organisations and NGOs have characterised the deals as instances of land grab and have accused the government of forcibly resettling pastoral communities.

The Ethiopian government has denied these allegations, insisting that large-scale commercial agriculture is a vital part of an ambitious project to transform the national economy. Yet, the failure of Emami Biotech’s plantation and the glacial progress of Karuturi’s 1,00,000-hectare project in Gambella have led some to question the ability of these companies to manage such large plots of land.

“We think [that] before making necessary preparations, they just express interest, get investment licences, get land and then preparations take more time,” said Federal Minister for Industries Mekonnen Manyazewal. “Once they start operations, obviously there will be challenges but we are prepared to solve their problems.”

A senior Ethiopian bureaucrat said the government had taken considerable political risk by embarking on such sensitive projects …involving the displacement of thousands and felt that the Indian investors had not done their homework. Emami Biotech’s project in Oromia, he said, was a case in point.

In August 2009, the company announced it was investing Rs. 400 crore to acquire 100,000 acres to plant Jatropha and other oil seeds and to set up an oil extraction plant. Mott McDonald, a reputed engineering and development consultancy, conducted a feasibility study. The Ethiopian government welcomed the investment and even appointed Emami Director Aditya V. Aggarwal as Honorary Ethiopian Consul at its newly opened Consular Office in Kolkata.

Pulling out

The following year however, Emami was ready to pull out. On December 22, 2010, the company wrote to the Oromia Investment Commission, claiming that only half the land initially allotted to Emami was suitable for agriculture, and even that land didn’t have enough water.

As per the letter, the company invested $1.5 million in the project, dug several bore wells, and constructed a check dam. It also tried to grow maize, pulses, soya bean and sunflower, “but all our hard works becomes in vain [sic],” the letter said. The other parts of the land, the company claimed, lay along a disputed border between Oromia and the neighbouring province of Somaliland.

The letter lists seven additional problems, including crop damage by local villagers and their cattle and a lack of cooperation from the local administration. While Oromia officials said there were no clashes between the company and the local villagers, a researcher acquainted with the project said the company and the villagers had clashed over scarce water supplies.

The Ethiopian government is sceptical of the company’s claims. “It is a matter of due diligence, they must have known [about the water]. I don’t think that has lead to the withdrawal,” said Mr. Mekonnen, the Minister for Industries, noting that the company had conducted a feasibility study.

Global recession

Analysts said the global recession could have led to a slump in demand for biofuels, affecting the viability of Emami’s project.

“Since Jatropha plantation does not require [much] water, the land allocated was arid and the lease rental was extremely low,” said an analyst, adding Emami realised that the Jatropha plantation was not lucrative and tried to cultivate other crops, “This led Emami to request the government to reallocate the land and give them land that has much better water resources.”

“[In Ethiopia] the cost of clearing land and making it into a farm is about $1,500 per hectare,” said Bharat Kulkarni, Director, Stalwart Management Consultancy Services, a firm that advises those looking to invest in Africa. “Unfortunately, investors land up in Ethiopia without actually realising this challenge.” Other factors include the high internal cost of transport, the absence of trained labour, government inefficiencies and the high costs of equipment.

“We have returned the 30,000 acres of land handed over to us but are in talks with the government for alternative land,” said a spokesperson from Emami Biotech, but refused to share the reasons for this decision. Asked whether the Ethiopian government would reallocate land to the company, Mr. Mekonnen was non-committal. “We will think twice,” he said.

 

#Fellowship- Maternal Health #India #mustshare


THE MATERNAL HEALTH YOUNG CHAMPIONS PROGRAM

 

 

 
Maternal mortality is a major threat to women’s lives in developing countries. While maternal health outcomes have improved in some countries over the past few decades, rates of maternal death remain alarmingly high. Every minute, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth and over 300 million women in poor countries suffer from maternal morbidity. In many very poor countries the majority of mothers do not receive even the most basic health care, and quality care during childbirth – when both the mother and child are most at risk – is often unavailable.
 
Program Overview
To reduce maternal mortality and morbidity over the long-term, emerging public health leaders need to be equipped with the skills, commitment, and vision to respond fully to multiple causes and consequences of this threat.
 
Maternal Health Young Champions are students or young graduates in public health or a related field who are committed to improving maternal mortality and morbidity through either research or innovative field work in their home country.
Maternal Health Young Champions Program, a partnership between the Institute of International Education and Harvard School of Public Health, offers a unique fellowship to 10 young people who are passionate about improving maternal health in their home country. The Young Champions who are selected will be matched with in-country mentors from selected organizations for a nine-month research or field project internship focusing on a particular area of maternal health. The fellowship includes leadership training and participation in the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania.
 
Eligibility Requirements Applications are currently being accepted from candidates from Ethiopia, India, Mexico, and Nigeria who meet the following minimum criteria:
  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree
  • 20-35 years of age
  • Clearly articulated plans for continued technical experience, research, or study
  • Demonstrated career commitment to improvement of maternal health, especially in developing countries
  • Interest in academic research or technical service provision in the field (excluding policy advocacy)
  • Articulated work/study project goals
Please circulate this information widely within your institution or networks, particularly to candidates whom you think would be excellent applicants for this program.

For more information on the program or to apply, go to www.iie.org/mhyc or contact:

John Bodra
Program Officer India
Tel: +91-11-2651-6873                     Email: info@iieindia.org.in

APPLICATION DEADLINE-NOVEMBER 10, 2012

 

UN adopts historic ‘land grab’ guidelines


Man next to a pile of hay
In recent years large-scale acquisitions of farmland in developing countries have caused concern
11 May 2012 Last updated at 15:23 GMT,  BBC NEWS

The United Nations has adopted global guidelines for rich countries buying land in developing nations.

The voluntary rules call on governments to protect the rights of indigenous peoples who use the land.

It is estimated that 200m hectares, an area eight times the size of Britain, has been bought or leased over the past decade, much of it in Africa and Asia.

But aid agencies warn it will be very difficult to ensure the guidelines are implemented everywhere.

AFP quoted Clara Jamart from Oxfam as saying this was just a first step and urging caution.

“Governments have no obligation to apply these measures,” she said.

There has been growing concern about so-called land grabs, when foreign governments or companies buy large areas of land to farm.

In Africa countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone have all signed major land deals with foreign investors.

Responsible investment

It is hoped this new agreement will secure access to land, fisheries and forests for millions of poor people who have historically used the land.

The document took three years to draw up and calls on governments to be transparent about land deals, consult local communities and defend women’s rights to own land.

It also emphasises the responsibility of businesses and multinational corporations to respect human rights when they move in to an area.

Problems can arise because in many parts of Africa local farmers, herders and gatherers do not have any formal documents for the land they use, which is often owned by the state.

Authorities often argue that big international deals bring investment and new technology to a region, benefiting local people.

But this is not always the reality and human rights organisations have highlighted cases where tens of thousands of people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands to make way for foreign investors.

Too Young to Wed


Stephanie Sinclair, for the Pulitzer Center

Every year, throughout the world, millions of young girls are forced into marriage. Child marriage is outlawed in many countries and international agreements forbid the practice yet this tradition still spans continents, language, religion and caste.

Over an eight-year period, photographer Stephanie Sinclair has investigated the phenomenon of child marriage in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia. Her multimedia presentation, produced in association with National Geographic, synthesizes this body of work into a call to action.

In a related post Stephanie Sinclair shares the difficult experiences child brides face. She discusses the need for their voices to be heard and the challenges she faced as a journalist who witnessed their struggles and abuse.

Stephanie Sinclair’s images are featured in a story on child marriage in the June 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine.

How to help: National Geographic has compiled a list of organizations that encourage families to delay marriage and give girls an opportunity to reach their full potential.

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