By Miles Tendi
Diplomatic relations between the governments of Britain and Zimbabwe have been highly charged since 2000. This fractious relationship has coincided with what a host of scholars regard as a period of political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe (1998-2008). The Zimbabwean crisis was internationalised in 2000, when the British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s New Labour government, which espoused liberal internationalism in its international relations, publicly criticised President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party’s employment of violence against domestic opposition and the forcible seizure of white-owned commercial farms in a programme the party presented as addressing colonial land imbalance between whites and blacks. Continue reading
By Gina Crivello
This picture was drawn by a 12 year old girl in Peru, depicting her image of a girl who is ‘living well’ in her community – she chose to draw a picture of a family.
On this International Day of Families, I reflect on what studying children’s experience tells us about families in poverty. And Young Lives has a lot to say about this year’s theme of ‘intergenerational solidarity’. Across our study countries, our interviews with children and their caregivers show that young and old collaborate to overcome poverty and to improve livelihoods. Children actively contribute to household welfare through a range of activities, including chores, caring for younger siblings or sick relatives, unpaid work on family farms and businesses, and paid work. Continue reading
By Paul Dornan
In a conversation on inequality and the MDGs hosted by The Broker, Oxfam’s Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva highlights the debates between those who argue that inequality results from rewarding effort, and others who hold that inequality produces inefficient or damaging results. The concept of equality/inequality of opportunity helps us find a way through these issues. Continue reading
By Agnieszka Kubal
[P]articular categories and assumptions, generally taken for granted in the law, may limit the possibilities of those whose lives are shaped by the law. Progressive struggle for social change… comes in part through resistance and transformation of seemingly taken-for-granted categories and terms. Bryant G. Garth & Austin Sarat (1998)
The most common way to define ‘illegal’ or irregular migration would be against the benchmark of migration law. A person who breaks the law is ascribed an ‘illegal’ or irregular status. This ‘method’ seems dubious for at least two reasons. First, according to classical jurisprudence, a person cannot be illegal. Acts are illegal. For example, driving in breach of a road law does not produce illegal drivers but rather counts as illegal driving. Second, the category of ‘illegality’ as used analytically with reference to migrants has recently become dangerously broad. Unauthorized entry or overstaying one’s leave to remain are put under the same umbrella as much more legally ambiguous situations.
By Dr Maria Villares-Varela
The idea that there has been a shift in migration gender ratios causing a feminisation of migration flows that has characterised a new period of migration, has been widely proclaimed by scholars over the past two decades. I would argue that what has actually occurred has been a feminisation of the scientific interest in the issue of gender and migration, more than a feminisation of migration flows. The absence of women within historic migration data is more due to the invisibility of women in research before the 1980s than an indication that women were not migrating. This lack of empirical descriptive work on the gender composition of historical migration flows leaves this aspect of migration patterns under-researched.
By Kirrily Pells
“I used to rely on education but now I prefer to work.” [Bereket (age 16) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia]
Bereket is an orphan and lives in a slum area in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with his grandmother. Currently he is in Grade 8, although he misses school between five and seven days a month to work washing cars. Bereket says: “Learning enables you to have a vast knowledge and it helps you to think good things, and that makes me happy. But I hate sitting in a classroom where there are many students. It is hard for me to sit in a classroom for long hours.” He adds, “When the students come wearing better clothes, I don’t like to feel inferior to them, so it is a must for me to work hard to change my situation.” It is working that has changed his attitude to education: “I used to think and hope that education would change my life, but now I only hope that having a business will change me. I used to rely on education, but now I prefer to work.” Continue reading
By Melissa Siegel
The project “The Effects of Migration on Children and the Elderly Left Behind in Moldova” is a 36-month-long research initiative implemented by the Maastricht University Graduate School of Governance (the Netherlands) in cooperation with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany) and the International Centre for Social Research and Policy Analysis (Georgia). In the course of this project, a large-scale household survey was implemented among 3,255 households containing 12,335 individuals in Moldova (including 3,328 are children and 2,313 are elderly).
By Paola Ballon Fernandez and
José Manuel Roche
UNICEF’s Regional Office in Cairo recently hosted a training course on ‘Child Poverty and Disparity Measurement and Analysis’. The aim of the course was to give technical experts, from governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as from UNICEF, an in-depth overview of the conceptual and methodological aspects of measuring child poverty, using both monetary and multidimensional approaches. Continue reading
By Tom Scott-Smith
Humanitarianism is a frustratingly vague term, encompassing a variety of activities; in recent years it has referred to international law, medical relief, peacekeeping troops, and democratic elections. Three new books further demonstrate this diversity. All described as studies of humanitarianism, they nevertheless address very different topics: Erica Bornstein’s Disquieting Gifts looks at gift relationships in New Delhi, Miriam Ticktin’s Casualties of Care looks at French immigration policy, and Didier Fassin’s Humanitarian Reason examines a range of topics, from AIDS to refugee camps. Reading these fascinating books, one cannot help but conclude that humanitarianism is a catch-all term, which has only become vaguer with the establishment of oxymoronic monstrosities such as ‘humanitarian war’ and ‘humanitarian bombing’. Continue reading
By Dawn Chatty
Za’tari is a containment camp 12km from the Syrian–Jordanian border. It was opened in July 2012 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. It was built for a capacity of 60,000 people, but at the time of my visit on March 18th, its population had topped 100,000 and was growing at nearly 5,000 a day. Syrians from Der’a and the surrounding countryside were fleeing the fighting in droves. Many of them were being displaced for a second time having previously moved from the pastoral region of the Jezirah of Syria which had been stricken by drought between 2006 and 2011.
Za’tari itself was once a small ‘backwater’ village with a pumping station. Today, it has been transformed it into a heaving marketplace and transportation hub. Cars, buses and ambulances carrying wounded fighters from the on-going fighting at the Jordanian-Syrian border congest the main thoroughfare, as the Free Syria Army tries to take control of the border crossings.