Global Ideas News Brief: Girls education + Affordable solar

Global Ideas News Brief: Girls education + Affordable solar

Women and children in Kagarko, Nigeria--about 500 miles from where more than 250 schoolgirls were recently kidnapped. Photo: Mercy Corps.

Nigerian girls

What’s So Scary About Smart Girls?
NYT, Kristof
When terrorists in Nigeria organized a secret attack last month, they didn’t target an army barracks, a police department or a drone base. No, Boko Haram militants attacked what is even scarier to a fanatic: a girls’ school. That’s what extremists do. They target educated girls, their worst nightmare.

The Real Africa
NYT, Brooks
Boko Haram is not the main story in Africa or even in Nigeria. It is a small rear-guard reaction to the main story. The main story in Africa is an impressive surge of growth, urbanization and modernization, which has sparked panic in a few people who don’t like these things.

Energy and climate

How to make solar panels affordable--for billions
The Atlantic
Like the installment plans of the Great Depression, Simpa Networks' "Progressive Purchase" agreements are enabling customers in rural India to get solar power for their homes.

A Coffee Crop Withers: Fungus Cripples Coffee Production Across Central America
NYT
When coffee rust attacked the farms clinging to the volcanic slopes above this Mayan town, the disease was unsparing, reducing mountainside rows of coffee trees to lattices of gray twigs.

Climate change making food crops less nutritious, research finds
The Guardian
Rising carbon dioxide emissions are set to make the world's staple food crops less nutritious, according to new scientific research, worsening the serious ill health already suffered by billions of malnourished people.

Development goals

At the U.N., a Free-for-All on Setting Global Goals
NYT
For the 11th time in just over a year, diplomats are gathering this week at the United Nations to continue fine-tuning a vast wish list of national priorities into a tight set of humankind’s most pressing challenges.The new crop of objectives is meant to succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals the United Nations set in 2000.

Financial innovation

Microinsurance: Scaling Through Peer Learning
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Insurers in Peru and South Africa are learning from each other how to reach low-income clients and help break the cycle of poverty.

Aid

South Sudan food security crisis could spiral into famine, agencies warn
The Guardian
Continued violence prevents delivery of vital supplies, leaving up to 3.7 million people in critical need of humanitarian assistance.

Health and gender

Teaching Liberation to Pakistan’s Girls
NYT
The words “sex education” release a tirade of moral righteousness from many Pakistanis, who find this the dirtiest phrase of all. At least in some parts of Pakistan, though, that is beginning to change.

Funding development

The Dirt on Seed-Funding Social Change
Stanford Social Innovation Review
If Upaya can prove that dignified, reliable jobs provide the most sustainable progress out of poverty and that businesses can advance social missions without sacrificing financial gains, it would be easy to replicate the Upaya model in other countries; and it could reset guidelines for business models across all industries.

Youth skills

What will the 2014 Fifa World Cup mean for Brazil's young people?
The Guardian
The football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games may help to tackle youth unemployment, but what will be left once the athletes and tourists return home?

Economic opportunity

Nepalese women torn between slavery in Lebanon and poverty at home
The Guardian
Many migrant workers suffer terrible conditions in Lebanon, but poverty and lack of opportunity in Nepal drives them back.

Telling the story of development

See How Filmmakers Used Drones To Tell A Stunning Tale Of How The World Uses Water
Fast.Co.Exist
The film Watermark takes us to a giant Chinese dam, the choreographed fountains of Las Vegas, a polluted river in Bangladesh, and an Indian pilgrimage to the Ganges. Here's an awesome look at how they did it.

Interest

A Health Clinic Inside A Shipping Container, So Doctors Can Move To Where People Are Sick
Fast.Co.Exist
In Southeast Asia, there's only one doctor on average for every 4,000 people. This cheap, mobile structure could help that one doctor get to more of them.

Watch What Happens When You Ask Models To Make Malaria Sexy
Fast.Co.Exist
It's the oldest trick in the book: Use sex and humor to sell something. But in this case, it gets a sobering--and hilarious--twist.

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