29 September 2010

Does the Labour Party still care about development?

I have just returned from the Labour party conference in Manchester. And while the leadership outcome dominated, there were several fringe events on international development. IDS organized one, chaired by Ann McKechin MP, member of the International Development Select Committee and Chair of the All Party Group on Aid, Debt and Trade. Tony German from Development Initiatives and Alexander Woolcoombe from ONE were fellow panelists.

Our session was entitled “where has all the aid gone?” This is a question that the UK public routinely ask. The session focused on how to improve the way we communicate about aid and development and how we ensure the aid budget is transformational for sustainable poverty reduction and empowerment - whichever government department is spending it. We will continue the discussion next week in Birmingham when the Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell, will be on the panel.

Inevitably the discussion moved on to where does the Labour Party now go on international development? Having established and built DFID to be one of the best in the world, does Labour now merely serve as a watchdog to the Coalition? Or does it develop and advocate its own forward vision for development and DFID? While it has to find the right balance between the two, I hope it does not forget about the vision. It is easier to develop unconventional and lateral thinking when in opposition and Labour must make the most of its time out of government, especially given that it is the only major party sitting across the aisle from the Coalition.

Labour needs to develop whole of government, and indeed whole of society, approaches to global development. These approaches need to do three things: accelerate progress on the MDGs, incentivize sustainable natural resource management and be seen to promote rather narrow self-interests. This outcome is possible but will require immense leadership.

Who will be the advocates for development now that Blair and Brown are gone? The rumours are that Douglas Alexander will move to another position within the shadow cabinet, so his experience and knowledge will not be lost. If so, discussed contenders for his position include Ann McKechin, Gareth Thomas and Ivan Lewis – all worthy candidates.

And what of the new Leader, Ed Miliband? He lead authored the Labour Manifesto, which was strong on development. He was the Climate Secretary, so he is knowledgeable on those issues and might be able to do the difficult job of joining up the two portfolios. And the dividing lines with the Coalition are shaping up: over the role of the multilaterals, the importance of relative poverty, and the need to shape market operations. In his first leadership speech the new Labour leader mentioned the achievements of the previous Government on international development.

Whatever the dividing lines, those within the Labour party who care about international development now need to stand up and be counted. They cannot rely on the extraordinarily strong leadership from the top that the Blair and Brown generated. They may yet get it from Ed Miliband. He surely has lots of more urgent things to deal with right now, but as the months pass he has the opportunity to use international development to help identify, communicate and deliver on the values he wants the Labour party to live by and promote. I hope he takes it.

23 September 2010

How Was It For You? The MDG Summit Outcome

It is of course too early to tell how "good" the MDG summit outcome was, but there was at least a welcome commitment to support citizens to do the "telling".

I have not had time to have a detailed look through Ban Ki Moon’s Keeping the Promise, released in advance of the much anticipated UN MDG Summit in New York, nor to scrutinise whether the $40bn pledged in New York is new or not. But the section on “The Way Forward” certainly strikes all the right notes: national ownership and leadership; the interdependence of rights, governance, security, gender inequality, development; and the need to live up to the norms and values in the original Millennium Declaration.

But two additional notes are particularly welcome: (a) the need to view the MDGs through a gender lens and (b) the need for more citizen-led monitoring of MDG delivery.

This is a bit new. Looking at things through a gender lens (not just a mother and child one) should open up spaces within the MDG narrative for discussion of power and politics. The commitment to citizen-led monitoring also promises the strengthening of relationships between citizens, states and businesses.

Inequality is mentioned 5 times in the 30 page document (twice in relation to gender). This is disappointing. As my IDS colleagues have argued, the MDGs are a politics and inequality-free zone. Naila Kabeer’s report, launched by IDS and the MDG Achievement Fund in New York during the Summit, shows that despite gains made to tackle global poverty, the measurements used to calculate countries' performances are disguising evidence of uneven achievement. Because the goals do not address the social justice agenda, argues Naila, many vulnerable people are simply left behind. A week before the Summit IDS’ Martin Greeley argued in his new report that the UN-wide Task Force's MDG progress papers clearly showed that the MDGs are achievable but only if the ambitions and resources of the international community are used more effectively. Yet again ‘inequality’ looms large, with one of the main recommendations of the report being to invest in public services that will tackle inequality.

UNICEF is showing the way with its equity focus, but donors and governments don’t much like talking about inequality. The focus on gender will force them to, but there are other forms of inequality that also need to be addressed.

Perhaps the most stark demonstration of the need to address inequality to accelerate progress on the MDGs is the new data analysis from IDS Fellow Andy Sumner. It finds that three quarters of the world’s poor do not live in “low income” countries any longer. The figures show that poverty is as much about inequality within countries as an absolute lack of resources in a country.

Other reflections?

The Summit has produced some impressive-sounding aid commitments, but only the UK has really shown the global leadership, underpinned by cross party support, to actually pledge putting aid commitments into law.

We also need to remember that much of the inequality and poverty in this world is generated by policies that have nothing to do with how much aid money there is: trade, energy, narcotics, finance, and security are the big ticket items. Citizen-led monitoring of the commitments of governments—high, emerging and low income—in all these areas needs to be a priority.

The Guardian's new Global Development Website

If any of you have not seen it yet, you should check out the Guardian's new website on Global Development. It is quite surreal to see the Guardian Online tab list as "UK, World, Development, US, Politics, Media, Education, Society, Science etc." Third in line is amazing.

I don't know what the traffic will be like, but my sense is that the site will meet a demand from people all over the world to have analysis, opinions, stories and data on development in one place. IDS is a partner in the venture, so we are biased, but we are also proud to be involved in a partnership with a major media outlet that goes beyond natural disaster and conflict in its treatment of global development.

I think a major challenge for the site will be to increase the percent of contributions from around the world...to make it a global site on global development. Global problems require global solutions, yes, but they also require global knowledge--not just analysis and opinion from one corner of the world. Perhaps this site will inspire other newspapers--the Times of India or the Mail and Guardian in South Africa to do the same and result in media networked sites.

In any case, Bravo Guardian!

22 September 2010

Poetry or Prose? The Liberal Democrats in limbo on international development

I just returned from Liberal Democrat party conference in Liverpool. IDS organized a panel on “7 lessons for increasing the impact of aid”, chaired by Malcolm Bruce the Chair of the Select Committee on International Development. We were also part of a panel that BOND, the umbrella organization for UK NGOs working on international development, had organized on the Lib Dem’s new development policy paper.

The Lib Dems are in limbo on international development. Prior to the May 2010 General Election their international development manifesto was quite different from that of the Conservatives. The Conservative manifesto highlights enlightened self interest and a stronger Britain in a safer world, while the Lib Dem manifesto highlights meeting Britain’s obligations to the world and securing Britain’s future with global action. These are quite different framings.

The Lib Dem manifesto has been updated in a Policy Paper published this week, and it’s clear that their positions have remained true to their manifesto. While there are plenty of points of agreement with the Coalition Government (the 0.7 target, aid effectiveness, transparency and accountability, the role of business, need for reformed multilaterals) there are several key tensions as well. Examples include:

  • The strong focus on rights
  • The strong emphasis on development as a political process
  • Very strong priority given to climate change as a development issue
  • Strong accountability to the poor as well as to the UK taxpayer
  • Communication is seen as a way of empowering people
These seem to be substantive differences with current Coalition perspectives and priorities, although the magnitude of them is probably amplified by the need to “campaign in poetry and to govern in prose”.

How far can the Lib Dems’ poetry influence the Coalition Government’s prose? It will be difficult. They have no ministers in DFID. It helps that Nick Clegg, the Deputy PM, is representing the UK at the MDG summit. It helps that Malcolm Bruce, a Lib Dem MP, is the Chair of the International Development Select Committee who hold DFID to account. It also helps that the two candidates for the Lib Dem Party President, Susan Kramer (former International Development spokesperson) and Tim Farron MP (de facto International Development spokesperson) are well versed in the issues.

I hope they find a way to influence, because their policy paper is full of good ideas on aid and development. It is also important for their own prospects as they will have to convince their supporters that they have not “sold out” on this important Lib Dem electoral issue come the general election of 2015.

21 September 2010

Why Works?

A guru has spoken. Angus Deaton at Princeton has a newish (I'm catching up) paper out called “Instruments, Randomization and Learning about Development”. Ok, it’s not the snappiest title, but it is authoritative and by turns sobering, refreshing and taxing.

The whole message of the paper is that a focus on “what works” in the absence of why something works will be nothing more than the generation of isolated bits of knowledge--knowledge that has no transferability or relevance outside of its context.

Deaton argues that randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have accentuated the shift from why to what. But before going on to make this point he notes that RCTs—unless under ideal circumstances—are not even a magic bullet for solving the issue of “what works” in a given context. And even under ideal circumstances he points out that RCTs only generate impact estimates at the mean of the population (i.e. they would not be able to distinguish between interventions that generate very large effects for a few and negative effects for many and interventions that generate modest positive effects for the vast majority).

He argues that the application of experimental and non-experimental methods (such as econometrics) in the absence of theory generates highly localized but decontextualised knowledge—a double whammy. Experimental methods such as randomized controlled trials may even encourage an atheoretical approach.

RCTs will be most useful, as will any analytical method, when they test assumptions and results generated by a theory of change. He says we need to focus on “mechanisms” rather than “projects”—this will increase our chances of learning about what might work outside of a given context.

He runs through all the drawbacks and limitations of RCTs (he is equally harsh with econometrics and the terrible job most of us do with “identification” – i.e. isolating the independent effects of explanatory variables): conceptual, practical, and ethical. My favourite example of the fallibility of randomization is his critique of the use of alphabetization of school names to allocate schools to control and treatment groups (he cites several papers that show that alphabetization is not the same as randomization).

In his conclusions he says “for an RCT to produce ‘useful knowledge’ beyond its local context it must illustrate some general tendency, some effect that is the result of mechanisms that are likely to apply more broadly”. The proponents of RCTs, by definition, focus a huge amount of rigour on establishing internal validity (does the method give a credible estimate of a mean effect in this context?) but much less on external validity (is the effect portable?). In fact they often argue for external validity by failing to allow for the unobservable effects that the internal validity is so keen to control for.

So what are these “mechanisms”? Things like loss aversion, procrastination, risk taking and the way we discount the future. But it’s not clear to me that these have a great deal of portability outside of specific contexts either (many of these studies use US graduate students as their subjects!).

The conclusion, with which it is hard to disagree, is that there is no substitute for specifying the causal nature of the processes of change we are investigating.

As Deaton says “I believe that we are unlikely to banish poverty in the modern world by trials alone unless those trials are guided by and contribute to theoretical understanding." This is actually a pretty mainstream view--we have to have ideas about why and how things work to generate hypotheses to be tested. Perhaps some randomistas and econometricians have forgotten this along the way.

The paper is good, but it takes too long to point out the fallacy of thinking that we can dispense with "why works?" in favour of "what works?".

As development becomes more complex in an increasingly uncertain context, the "why" questions will become more important than ever.

19 September 2010

And what can Africa do for the MDGs?

The Millennium Development Goals have been with us now for 10 years. At the beginning there was much optimism when all the world’s countries promised to drastically reduce poverty by 2015. No doubt, at the review summit next week there will be questions about, what have they achieved for Africa?

During the last few years Africa has seen a number of notable successes. As a whole the region has experienced annual economic growth rates of 6% from 2003 to 2008. In the last 5 years more than half of all sub-Saharan countries have accelerated progress in primary school enrollment and gender equality in education. Two-thirds of African countries are reducing under-5 mortality faster than they were before. These successes--and more--will be documented in the new report, ‘Still Our Common Interest’, by the Commission for Africa to be launched at the MDG summit on 20th September. It could be a significant contribution to the debate and IDS is pleased to be associated with the research.

We realise though we need to be clear about what credit the MDGs can take for these achievements in Africa. Some have argued that the MDGs provided an unfair starting point for African countries and have been something of a burden; it seems clear, whether by design or accident, that different ways of specifying the indicators could have put Africa in a better light. Despite this, there is a consensus that the MDGs have provided an important rallying point for international and African efforts to accelerate development in the region. The goals have probably helped in delivering the 46% increase in aid to Africa since 2004. That aid, combined with homegrown solutions and underpinned by economic growth, has in turn contributed towards further progress against the MDGs.

This, of course, does not mean the MDGs will be met in Africa but it does mean real and tangible progress. There is a way to go and the Commission for Africa’s new report recognises the distance to travel is significant. Now the challenge is to accelerate progress and make it more widespread. Primary school enrollment is up but education quality needs attention looking ahead. There is progress on HIV, but little movement on child nutrition and maternal mortality. Economic growth needs to be more inclusive and employment-led.

And then there is the economic crisis and its aftermath. The crisis has set back African economies in terms of progress on the MDGs. Outright recessions were experienced in almost a quarter of countries. And while Africa has done much better than other regions in maintaining MDG-related social spending, pre-crisis growth rates are not expected to be recovered before 2015. On top of that, just when it is most needed, aid is under pressure in the OECD countries.

The MDGs are well suited for these tough economic times - they are an important mechanism to rally public opinion in North and South. But their ability to raise the profile of the problems is not equal to their capacity to raise the profile of the potential solutions. This needs to be taken into account during their reimagining post 2015 (see Andy Sumner's piece on this).

So how can Africa help the MDGs become more effective? By using the MDGs to go beyond raising money and tracking indicators. Civil society in Africa can use the attention to generate home-grown solutions and hold governments and donors accountable for implementing those solutions.

Of course the MDGs were never meant to apply at the country or regional level- they are global indicators. But by making the MDGs in Africa more African, they can be used to generate a commitment to implementing those solutions. There are examples of embedding MDGs in national development plans. Botswana’s Vision 2016 and National Development Plan for 2009-2016 uses MDG targets; Ethiopia’s National Development Plan prioritises MDG achievements; in Ghana and Sierra Leone the growth and poverty reduction strategies explicitly focus on the MDGs, while Senegal has established a Special Presidential Adviser and appointed a national steering committee to coordinate the national response to the Goals. These are all examples of embedding the MDG targets into national plans.

Other countries have gone further: Mongolia, Ecuador and Barbados have all developed their country level MDGs by expanding the dimensions of well being to be tracked, along with the corresponding indicators and targets.

But no countries have, as far as we are aware, used their MDGs to target investment as well as results. The tracking of indicators without tracking commitments on policies, laws and spending makes it difficult to hold governments to account. It also detracts from debates around solutions.

In 2010 Africa needs the MDGs more than ever, but it needs its own MDGs produced through deliberative processes. These will allow African citizens to better hold their own governments, and those of the donor countries, to account for the promises made in 2000.

Lawrence Haddad and Andy Sumner

16 September 2010

Why should DFID Give Aid to India?

Amidst all the reports today about whether the UK will end aid to India and whether the Indian Government will end its request for aid, it is worth stepping back to think about the reasons for UK aid to India.

I can see at least 5 poverty-related arguments that feel strong to me.

1. DFID works in 3-4 of the poorest Indian states. These are the size of medium countries with populations in the 50-60 million range and if ranked as countries, they would have some of the highest poverty numbers in the world. But this argument only goes so far. These states are not countries, they are part of India. The central government may not be a terribly effective donor to the states, but it is one, nevertheless.

2. But often it is difficult for States to get money from the donor centre. States need to have very strong administrative systems and capacities to do so effectively. The poorest states have the weakest tax base and hence the lowest administrative systems. DFID helps these states to access these central resources to boost investments in child health, nutrition and education where they are most needed.

3. DFID can help state governments take risks and innovate. There is a great demand for innovation in programming but a sense that the risks are high and prohibitive. DFID can act as a support and a lightning rod for risk-taking.

4. DFID has to back up this work by programming resources. They have to be seen to be willing to invest in innovative ideas they support. These investments leverage much larger state investments in areas such as nutrition that have benefit cost ratios of up to 17:1.

5. It is easy to be seduced by the hype of “Incredible!ndia”. But despite the rapid growth, GDP per capita is still just over $1000. This is 6 times lower than its frequent comparator, Brazil and 3.5 times lower than China.

India is still a poor country. DFID still has a key role to play.

14 September 2010

Irish Development Studies: Here and Different?

I was in Dublin yesterday speaking at the launch of the new Irish Development Studies Association (DSA) group. There were about 100 participants, drawn from the research, practice and policy communities. The DSA is all about bringing researchers from academia, practice and policy together to enhance the value and impact of our members work.

In this spirit, I presented on the challenges of linking research and policy--also titled as “If a research paper is not heard, does it exist?” (Powerpoints here)

I heard some great presentations during the Launch (presentations shortly to be uploaded):

  • From University College Dublin, the history of Irish development policy (does Ireland’s relatively recent famine history really make it different in the eyes of African and Asian countries? Does it really drive Irish citizen commitment to overseas development? Even if Ireland was never a colonial power, does its religious and corporate activity constitute a new type of colonialism?)
  • From Trinity College Dublin, development policy coherence across the Irish government (coherence is more needed than ever during an aid downturn, but what are the incentives for squeezed non-aid departments to worry about global poverty?)
  • From Concern, Conservation farming in Zimbabwe (why isn’t a proven low tech yield-raiser gaining more popularity?)
  • From Trocaire, what do development practitioners think about the MDGs? (Half of the 80 people surveyed think they are still relevant, a quarter are not sure and a quarter think they are not relevant.)
It is clear that there is a vibrant Irish development research community—in academia, civil society and development agencies. The Development Studies Association looks forwards to working with them.

12 September 2010

The 7 Habits of Enabling Environments for Nutrition

I recently gave a presentation in Delhi at the Conference on "Nutrition: Reaching the Hard Core" organized by the Britannia Nutrition Foundation.

For me, there are 3 key puzzles on how to overcome malnutrition: (a) how to raise the quality and expand the coverage of direct nutrition interventions such as breastfeeding promotion, (b) how to make investments in various related sectors (such as agriculture) more pro-nutrition, and (c) how to create an environment where it is hard for anyone to neglect malnutrition.

My presentation was on the third area and was entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Enabling Environments for Nutrition”. I focused on:

  1. new surveillance techniques using mobile technologies to allow government and civil society to react in real time to the changing nutrition situation, 
  2. the importance of creative campaigns to reset norms around what are acceptable rates of malnutrition reduction, 
  3. the need to support and expand the cadre of nutrition champions, 
  4. the need to learn from success (and failure) within India (taking advantage of the federal set up) and internationally, 
  5. the potential of a new class of “commitment indices” which monitor the commitments of governments, civil society and businesses, 
  6. the insights to be gained from adopting the new generation of economic growth diagnostics for nutrition to help prioritise and sequence the laundry list of potential nutrition actions for any given context, and 
  7. the value added of customer feedback—asking intended beneficiaries to score existing services and suggest what to do differently. I feel that too little attention has been given to these issues.
Malnutrition is insidious—it sucks the life out of kids before clinical signs show. Malnutrition requires action on many fronts and hence it requires coordination and leveraging. Malnutrition requires scaling up of quality. All of these features—invisibility, scaling, coordination, leveraging—demand leadership. Sometimes leadership just emerges. But with so many lives being ended or wrecked by malnutrition, we can’t afford to wait.

We need to make sure nutrition is not easily neglected. And that means putting pressure on leaders throughout society to focus on malnutrition. These 7 habits could play a big role in doing that.

08 September 2010

Right now what does the UK public think about aid? And why?

The UK Public Opinion Monitor, tracking the opinions of a panel of 6000 UK residents on development issues, has just published its latest report based on data collected between June and August.

The Monitor, co-managed by IDS, finds that despite severe austerity measures and cuts to public services, 62 percent of respondents still think that it is morally right for the UK to help developing countries. But the majority of respondents (64 per cent) think that poverty at home is the priority at the moment. Over half (57 per cent) of respondents did not support the coalition government’s policy of ring-fencing aid spending.

The report also uncovers the drivers behind people’s attitudes on aid spending, including:

  • Aid wastage – 51 per cent of respondents thought that most UK aid to developing countries is wasted. Holding this view increased the likelihood of supporting cuts in aid spending by 15 per cent.
  • Age - Older people are 21 per cent more likely to propose reducing the aid budget than younger people. This was one of the most important factors.
  • Political standpoint - Conservative voters are 12 per cent more likely to support cutting the aid budget than Labour voters. Liberal Democrat voters are no more likely to support cuts than Labour voters.
So perceptions of wastage is an important driver of those who thought we should cut aid although the Monitor found that perceptions on corruption is not. The sensitivity of the cutters to wastage but not corruption is odd, but in line with DFID's increased emphasis on assessing impact. Younger generations were more likely to be supportive of aid. This is interesting, because it's not as if their university grants are not competing with ODA. Also the party political difference is quite small--perhaps a reflection of Labour voters' disaffection with foreign military campaigns or the Conservative voters increasing support for ODA.

I suspect that the way the public is engaged around aid needs to be rethought in terms of why and how aid matters and why and when we need global cooperation to deal with things like climate change and trade.

For example, there should be more experimentation (and evaluation) of:
  • whether authentic impact stories--good and bad--from those directly affected by aid makes a difference to attitudes about wastage
  • how different media framings make a difference to perceptions
  • whether UK taxpayers perceptions about aid change when they have some choice of how the money is spent
There is a rich seam of research just waiting to be tapped here using the using behavioural economics and psychology methods.

The kinds of experiments popularised by Thaler, Sunstein and Gladwell need to be taken into the worlds of aid and international development.

07 September 2010

Business: The Elephant in the Nutrition Room

One of the backdrop questions of my recent India trip was when should the private sector be engaged in the fight against nutrition and when shouldn’t it?

This is a highly explosive topic in development and in nutrition it is at its most combustible. The Britannia Nutrition Foundation is sponsored by Britannia Biscuits, one of the largest food manufacturing companies in India. The position of the Right to Food Campaign in India is not to talk to the private sector. Their position is that food security is a public good and citizens have a right to expect the state to deliver on this right. In the Conference the Foundation, obviously sensitive to criticism, did not push the role of the private sector at all. The issue was the elephant in the room. This non-dialogue is a real shame.

The central question is “are there any overlaps between commercial interests and sustainable and equitable improvements in nutrition?” No-one in India knows the answer to this question because the dialogue is not happening.

It seems to me that 4 things are being unhelpfully conflated.

First, the role of business in making its core activities more supportive of nutrition. This means going beyond CSR and making sure that advertising is responsible, that legal resources are directed in ways that do not only protect shareholders, that labeling is clear and gives consumers real choice, and that transparency is high on the agenda, so that civil society can hold businesses accountable.

Second, business as a substitute for the state. I am not too optimistic here about the role of business, after all nutrition is a public good. But there might be things that the private sector can do better than the state. It is hard to imagine the private sector bungling supply chain management as badly as the state seems to have done.

Third, business as a complementing to the state. For example, while fortification of salt and other widely used low cost foods is only a small part of an effective nutrition strategy, international experience has shown that the private sector is usually the best way of implementing it.

Fourth, working with businesses outside the traditional food areas to make the environment more enabling for nutrition. This may be the most important area, and is certainly the newest. For example, when renewing a contract of mobile telephone operation, the state could build in requirements to set up SMS services to set up a reminder service for childhood vaccinations. Cloud computing companies could be contracted to improve nutrition surveillance. Can the strong expertise of India’s hotel management industry be brought to bear on strengthening customer feedback mechanisms?

I don’t know the answers to these questions—and it seems to me that not many others do either--answers can only come through a dialogue that is sorely missing.

04 September 2010


I’ve just returned from a week in “Incredible!ndia” (the tourist strapline) as part of my on-going engagement with the malnutrition debate there. There are some glimmers of hope. The state of Karnataka has just adopted a Nutrition Mission (an administrative mechanism to facilitate cross-sector working in a less bureaucratic way), there is some unconfirmed indications that undernutrition rates are going down in one of the worst affected states, Madhya Pradesh. DFID in India is increasingly being seen as a catalyst for nutrition work. But there are worrying signs too. It is at least 18 months since the creation of the Prime Minister’s Nutrition Council. It has not met once. This week the media was occupied with the food grains which are rotting in storage facilities amidst widespread hunger and malnutrition.

I went to the state of Bihar, one of the poorest, and visited a couple of early child development centres. There are about 800,000 of these centres throughout India. They represent the frontline in the effort against undernutrition. The Anganwadi workers in charge of the centres were inspirational in their attempts to make a fist out of the hand they have been dealt. But the conditions in which they have to teach and feed 40-50 3-6 year olds, do home visits, and monitor child growth are testing and often counterproductive. The centres are understaffed. Many are without toilets, washing facilities, clean drinking water, decent floors or food storage facilities. It is a miracle that the centres have any positive effect on nutrition status. I visited several such centres in the mid 1990s. Nothing much seems to have changed. This stasis is all the more dramatic in the context of the completion of one of the world’s largest airports in Delhi, the hosting of the Commonwealth Games and space programmes.

To be fair, the Indian Government needs help to combat malnutrition. It is such a huge burden (43% of children are malnourished) that they cannot do it alone. Civil society, business, and the academic community have to help. International donors such as DFID also have an important catalytic role to play. But nutrition is a public good. Leadership has to come from the Indian Government.

We still do not know who in Delhi has nutrition as their number 1 priority. And that is incredible.