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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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development

Short Film: How Water Gets From The Nile To Thirsty Refugees

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the civil war in South Sudan and resettled in Uganda. This 12-minute documentary shows the daily struggle to get water.

Source: www.npr.org

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    

Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 

 

Tags: Africa, development, Uganda, migrationrefugees, environment, water, sustainability, resources.

Why do women live longer than men?

Despite the social inequality women experience, they live longer than men. This is the case without a single exception, in all countries.

Source: www.weforum.org

The question “why do women live longer than men?” is both biological and cultural.  This means that 1) gender as a cultural construct that influences behavior is a mitigating factor and 2) sex, as a biochemical issue, is a separate set of determining factors.  Estrogen benefits women because it lowers “bad” cholesterol) and “good” cholesterol, but testosterone does the opposite.  Women are more likely to have chronic diseases, but non-fatal chronic disease, but men are more prone to the more fatal chronic illnesses.  For the cultural reasons, men are less likely to seek treatment, adhere to the prescribed treatment, commit suicide, and engage in more risky behavior.  While these may read like a list of gendered stereotypes that don’t apply to all, when looking at the global data sets, these trends hold  and are more likely to be true.  How masculinity and femininity is constructed certainly shapes many of these factors and deserves some discussion. 

 

Tags: culture, population, mortality, development, cultural norms, statisticsgender

Water Is Life

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled South Sudan to escape the civil war. When they arrive in Uganda, water is what they need most. Without it, they will die.

Source: www.youtube.com

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    

 

Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 

 

TagsAfrica, development, Uganda, South Sudan, migrationrefugees, environment, waterenvironment depend, sustainability, resources.

Senegal’s Great Green Wall combats desertification

“A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this “Green Wall” was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).

 

Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

Death toll doubles in Ethiopia garbage dump collapse

“The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia’s capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said Wednesday, as the country began three days of mourning for victims who were mostly women and children. Saturday’s collapse of a mountain of garbage buried makeshift mud-and-stick homes inside the Koshe landfill on the outskirts of the capital.”

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Some geographies are uncomfortable to discuss because they expose some of the social and spatial inequalities that we wish weren’t part of economic geographies.

 

Questions to Ponder: Why did this happen?  Why were so many people in the landfill?  

 

Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development, urbanpoverty, squatter.

How did Zimbabwe get so poor?

President Mugabe’s economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe has brought the country poverty and malnutrition. After 36 years in charge, he’s looking to extend his rule by 5 more years.

Source: www.youtube.com

Poverty at the national level is usually not a function of limited resources, but more often it is a sign of weak institutions.  This is but one example of how governmental mismanagement can put a country’s developmental progress back decades.

 

Tags: Africa, Zimbabwe, development, economic, political.

Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman

At first, the trial and convictions in the death of Farkhunda Malikzada seemed a victory in the long struggle to give Afghan women their due in court. But a deeper look suggests otherwise.

Source: www.nytimes.com

DISCLAIMER: I strongly recommend that the video not be shown in class (I wouldn’t show the embedded video in my college classes, but I would discuss the article).  The video is as horrific as anything I’ve ever seen and yet I feel compelled to share the story because it is important to understand the cultural and institutional problems of Afghanistan to get a handle on the deeply entrenched issues. This also shows parts of Afghanistan are seeking to make the transition into a more modern society, but there are other elements that are firmly rooted in the past where mob rule was once more easily justified.  

 

Tags: Afghanistan, culture, developmentgender

The other Asian tiger

“Vietnam’s success merits a closer look.”

 

Which Asian country has roared ahead over the past quarter-century, with millions of its people escaping poverty? And which Asian economy, still mainly rural, will be the continent’s next dynamo? Most would probably respond “China” to the first question and “India” to the second. But these answers would overlook a country that, in any other part of the world, would stand out for its past success and future promise.

Vietnam, with a population of more than 90m, has notched up the world’s second-fastest growth rate per person since 1990, behind only China. If it can maintain a 7% pace over the next decade, it will follow the same trajectory as erstwhile Asian tigers such as South Korea and Taiwan. Quite an achievement for a country that in the 1980s was emerging from decades of war and was as poor as Ethiopia.

 

Tags: Vietnam, globalizationdevelopment, economic, SouthEastAsia.

Source: www.economist.com

India’s campaign to change cultural practices

“Television commercials and billboards now carry a message that strike at the heart of the Indian contradiction of being the world’s fastest-growing major economy and also where relieving oneself in the open is the norm in most villages. Research shows that one of the reasons for the stubborn social practice is the centuries-old caste system, in which cleaning human waste was a job reserved only for the lowest caste. Having a toilet at home is still considered unclean by many villagers. They regard it cleaner to go to the open farms, which can cause water-borne diseases, the second leading cause of death of Indian children younger than 5.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

An aggressive new campaign is ridiculing those who are no longer poor but continue to defecate in the open–even this UNICEF campaign (some language and low-brow humor, so use your own discretion) is working hard to change the cultural patterns and practices surrounding defecation and sanitation.  There are more cellphones than toilets in India and the lack of adequate sanitation and toilets is serious enough that that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made building toilets a national priority.  Comics are using their platform to bring this issue of uneven development to light. 54% of people in India do not have regular access to toilets and these comedians are using their platform to not only get some laughs, but to advocate for social change. 

 

Tagsdevelopment, poverty, India.

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