Development in difficult places – how do we reach the billion people that have been left behind?

Stephen Hall -

Barotse floodplain, Zambia. Photo by Georgina Smith, 2012.

Researchers, development practitioners and policy makers recognise that efforts during the 1970’s and 80’s to develop new high yielding hybrid seeds and transfer them to farmers played an important part in removing the spectre of widespread starvation, especially in Asia. This, combined with the introduction of fertiliser and efforts to develop markets, also ushered in a period of cheap and relatively stable prices for the world’s staple crops and brought millions of farmers out of poverty. Aptly named The Green Revolution this undoubted success deserves celebration.

Reflections on Gender Transformative Research

Stephen Hall -

Women harvest rice in the Indian village of Mahadeva. Equal access to key assets could raise total agricultural production in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent, or 100 to 150 million people. This “gender gap” has massive implications for poverty reduction and nutrition. Uttar Pradesh, India, 2010. © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

For any organization trying to decide how best to achieve development impact, a good place to start is with a ‘Theory of Change’, or ToC. Formally defined as “a statement of the interconnected causal pathways that describe the types of interventions that bring about desired outcomes” [1], a ToC can be more plainly said to be a description of what you need to do to make a difference.

Fish and nutrition – not all fish are created equal

Stephen Hall -

Drying Omena, Lake Victoria. Photo credit Patrick Dugan

It might surprise you to learn that fish are more similar to fruit and vegetables than they are to poultry, cattle, or any of the other animals we eat. At least, they are if you think about the variety of shapes and sizes that fish and fruits and vegetables come in. As foods though, the more important similarity is that these various types differ widely in the nutrition they offer. So as with fruit and vegetables, while admonitions to eat more fish are often heard, exactly what kind of fish you eat matters – especially if you are malnourished.