By Danielle Cave, Editorial Team, Interpreting the Aid Review
Today is the final day of the Lowy aid blog. In just 3 months the blog has recorded between 1,000-1,600 visits per day (and this continued to rise). This clearly shows a serious appetite for more domestically-generated discussion on the Australian aid program, international development news, and most importantly, further analysis of Australia's foreign aid program as an increasingly integral part of how Australia interacts with the rest of the world. As the aid program speeds towards a $8-9 billion program (by 2015-16) this will be matched by greater appetite and increasing public curiosity about Australia's role as an international donor - how will informed public discussion & debate keep up?
The conclusion of the Lowy aid blog is being slightly overshadowed
by the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Likely Prince William was unaware that when he was in 'proposal-stance' he was kneeling in the centre of one of Africa's land-grab hotspots
in northern Kenya.
Is AusAID ready for the iPAD era?
No, and neither are most international donors:
"With 15 million iPADs currently in use around the world after only one year of availability, the iPAD is one of many technological advancements that has created an entirely new way people access information and interact, as well as a new market for selling all kinds of content and applications...These policy and business innovations – often driven by technology – are improving lives around the world, but foreign aid institutions such as the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development have found it challenging to integrate innovation in their programs".
"Today, a community health worker in India can test a drop of blood using a cell phone-sized instrument from Nanobiosym in order to diagnose HIV; a patient in Nigeria can purchase medication knowing it’s not counterfeit by texting its serial number to a service called Sproxil; and in Mexico, the Opportunidades program founded just 14 years ago now provides cash to one quarter of the national population – but only in exchange for regular school attendance, health clinic check-ups, and nutritional support". (h/t Lou)
An interesting blog
on the lack of public knowledge in the UK about their role as an aid donor. Below, if you switch 'UK' with 'Australia', the same could be said:
"Of course, the public’s views on aid are held in the context of little or no knowledge of how much aid the UK gives to developing countries, how it is spent and where. This unawareness highlights the need for aid proponents, and especially the government, to engage more actively and effectively with the public on development issues and the role of UKaid".
Many readers would have seen this Hans Rosling
video (which is nearing 4.5 million views), it's truly fascinating and is worth watching again: