Category Archives: Asia

The Ease of Doing Business in 185 Economies, Including How Women Fare

The World Bank released its 10th annual edition of Doing Business which shows the state of, in fact, doing business in 185 economies. On its ease of doing business index it is easiest to do business in Singapore followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, United States, Denmark, Norway, and the UK. Some African countries made doing business easier such as Zimbabwe that reduced start-up fees and sped up name search in databases, for example. Zambia also reduced their required start-up capital amount and Mozambique simplified its licensing procedures. You can search by country if you’re interested in seeing how they have improved or reduced the ease of doing business. Poland is the most improved economy in the past year. Of African countries, Burundi was the most improved.

As far as women in business, 39 countries made a legal move toward gender equality and yet 232 million women still live in economies where they cannot start their own business without their husband’s permission. Legally women have equal rights with men in only 45 countries out of 141 economies.

Heifer International Teaches Children About Giving

Heifer International, the organization we affectionately know to empower families the world over through animal gifts that provide not only a way out of hunger, but also a way into sustainable self-reliance, just launched a new interactive educational tool teaching children the power of giving. Aimed squarely at children between the ages of 5-10, Heifer’s new character, Sarah the Goat, guides children through the process of what it means to give an animal gift to a family living in poverty.

Children even as young as five will be able to grasp the concept of how one animal -from a goat, to a chicken, to a llama – can immeasurably changed the trajectory of a family with little to eat and hardly a way to earn income. As parents it is important to introduce our children to philanthropy at an early age. Heifer International helps us do that by creating an easy-to-understand tool allowing kids to understand that small changes can result in sustainable difference.

Using Heifer’s educational tool, children are mentioned in writing by name (parents have to put it in to get started) to kick off the personalized lesson and then Sarah the Goat begins to ask  questions that  allows kids to think critically about the importance of an animal to families in the developing world. While the issues of poverty and hunger are huge concepts for children to fully understand Sarah the Goat brings those huge issues to a kid’s level without missing the greater point of doing something for others.

To use the educational tool with your child visit

[Watch] No Joke. #ChoiceMatters. Everywhere

Women around the world, especially in developing countries, often have difficulties accessing quality reproductive health care. For more than 55 years, Pathfinder International has worked to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive health care to enable and empower individuals to make choices about their body and their future.

To bring home the realities that women around the world face to access reproductive health care, Pathfinder created the No Joke. #ChoiceMatters. Everywhere video.  Watch this video and see why, although funny, the subject matter really is no joke at all.

Sunday’s Global News and Development Must-Reads

As you gear up for another week here are a few must-reads about global news and development I recommend.

  • African women won’t wield political influence without cultural change: This article from today’s Guardian highlights the quota system put in place in many African countries that require a certain percentage of female representation in government. Read more to see whether these quotas work or are largely just for show.
  • Adult and Youth Literacy Projections: Yesterday was International Literacy Day. UNESCO reports Brazil, China, Indonesia, Iran and Mexico are expected to reach near-universal youth #literacy by 2015!
  • [Watch] Chisomo’s Story. You may have heard about Save the Children’s and the Ad Council’s new campaign Every Beat Matters. It is a global initiative that seeks to provide basic health care for children around the world and shine a light on the health workers that work tirelessly to keep them alive. Watch Chismo’s story about the work he does as the sole health worker in a village of 2216 people.
  • Slum surveys giving ‘invisible’ inhabitants a say in urban planning: Living in urban slums poses difficult for its residents not only because of squalid living conditions and rife poverty. Residents also need to contend with government ordered evictions where one moment people have makeshift homes and the next they are completely razed. Read more about how slum dwellers are becoming more empowered
  • [Photo] The photo above caught my eye. It was taken after hurricane Issac hit Haiti.
    Haitians Receive Government Food Aid in Aftermath Tropical Storm Isaac
    A young girl waits in line for food aid being distributed by the Haitian government in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm-swept through Haiti on 25 August with high winds and heavy rains, flooding low-lying areas of the capital Port-au-Prince and the south and seriously damaging camps for people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. 26 August 2012 | Port-au-Prince, Haiti | UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Gifting Education to Children in Need

Our partner Pratham is celebrating International Literacy Day (September 8) through an awareness campaign called I Believe. Pratham works with communities, parents, and governments to provide educational programs, create educational standards, and advocate for educational reform in India. In India 100 million children cannot read at age level.

There is a lot you can do to spread the word about I Believe on International Literacy Day. You can tweet on Pratham’s behalf and share their message with your followers, follow the campaign on Facebook, add a badge to your site and also donate $25 to educate a child for one year.

Visit Pratham USA’s web site to learn more!

Images courtesy of Pratham USA.