Investments & Democracy
Part I: Find a ‘cheetah’ in your country & show its work.
I chose a feminist organization called Women’s leadership Centre that is based in Windhoek, Namibia and started up in 2012. This organization works to empower women in the community by promoting women’s writing and other forms of personal and creative expression as a form of resistance to discrimination and oppression embedded in their patriarchal cultures and society (Women’s Leadership Centre). The members of this group envision a society in which all women actively engage in shaping politics, practices and values of both public and private spaces. The members work toward this vision by information-sharing, education and training, research writing, art, photography and distribute feminist texts within their society.
I found this was in align with the “cheetah” mindset because this organization is actively working toward change and looking toward the future, a future that is equal, respectful and promotes human rights. Some of the projects that they are working on include advocating for the promotion and protection of lesbian women’s human rights; a campaign that provides a platform for poor women and other marginalized women to engage in political parties and elections; and a project that trains and teaches women about their human rights, which helps women question their cultures issues of gender inequality, violence against women, and young women/girls risk of HIV and AIDS.
2. Chapter 3 of Radelet’s Emerging Africa talks extensively about democracy building as well as discusses how one defines democracy, what is elemental and how are democracies ranked and judged. How does your country rank? Explore the following sites:
According to Think Tank Freedom House, Namibia is a free country with an aggregate score of 77 out of 100. Namibia’s press freedom status is partly free. Their political rights, civil liberties and freedom rating is 2 out of 7. Here are some more specific ranked categories:
- Electoral process: 10/12
- Political pluralism and participation is 11/16
- Functioning of government is 9/12
- Freedom of expression and belief is 14/16
- Associational and organizational rights are 12/12
- Rule of law is 11/16
- Personal autonomy and individual rights are 10/16
Namibia’s Polity IV index seems to have stayed on a constant 6 point line from 1990-2013 (see graph below).
There is a YALI Regional Leadership Center in Pretoria, South Africa that people in Namibia could go to and participate in. The Regional Leadership Centers provide quality leadership training, support entrepreneurship and enhances professional development and networking.
An interesting article I found on AllAfrica was about how an ad agency put up giant blown-up condoms on termite mounds to remind people on the holiday, to be safe, “especially if a holiday party gets hot.” (Namibia’s Economist, 2016).
Another article that I liked was about how charcoal made from eucalyptus trees could help clean polluted water. “Improving the quality of drinking and irrigation water by lowering the microbiological hazards and food safety risks would be beneficial to people’s health and the environment” (News24wire, 2017).
- What are effective health investments?
An effective health investment is malaria prevention, which means investing in an insecticide-treated bed net. Children who sleep under a treated net has a 30 percent less risk of being infected with malaria and the average return is $88 every year over the child’s entire adult work life (Banerjee & Duflo, p.45). It is also effective to invest in diarrhea prevention, which means purchasing three miracle drugs: chlorine bleach for purifying dirty water, salt, and sugar- the key ingredients of the oral rehydration solution (ORS). This would save the many children who have been dying from diarrhea every year. Investing in clean water and sanitation helps both these health problems tremendously- the number of severe diarrhea cases fall by one-half, and the number of malaria cases fall by one-third (Banerjee & Duflo, p. 47). It was interesting to read about access to clean water and sanitation is a social issue. Water has to be piped to each house, which means high-caste households would have to share water with low-caste households. You can imagine the unfortunate resistance of rich households wanting to share water with malaria and diarrhea-invested poor people.
Other effective health investments include getting children immunized, deworming drugs, exclusive breast-feeding until six months, routine antenatal procedures such as a tetanus shot for the expectant mother, vitamin B against night blindness, iron pills and iron-fortified flour against anemia.
Banerjee, A. & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor Economics. Print.
Namibia’s Economist. (2015, December 15). Namibians Surprised by Giant Condoms on Termite Mounds. Retrieved from: http://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00048066.html
(n.a., n.d.). Women’s Leadership Centre. Retrieved from: http://www.wlc-namibia.org/index.php/projects
News24Wire. (2017, February 8). South Africa: ‘Biochar’ Could Help Clean Polluted Water. Retrieved from: http://allafrica.com/stories/201702080388.html