During apartheid, Transkei, present-day Eastern Cape Province, was a so-called homeland in South Africa, a sort of reservation where portions of the black population were forced to move to. The image of the province is still predominantly that of a problem area, both environmentally and socially speaking. This was also the image that Flora Hajdu had with her when she started her field studies there. As a doctoral candidate at Theme Water, she planned to study the environmental problems created by the presumed overexploitation of the natural resources there.
For a period of three years, with the aid of local assistants, she performed several rounds of interviews with individuals from all households in two villages in the coastal region of Pondoland in the Eastern Cape. The picture she conveys is considerably brighter than our conventional image. The people make their living largely in local occupations, often in the informal sector, and she has not been able to confirm any general environmental damage.
The conventional picture says that people here most often find their livelihood from small farms, animal husbandry, or fishing. In fact, these sectors contribute only a tiny percentage of household income. Instead, people work on tea plantations, in nature preserves, as teachers, or with tourism, commerce, handicrafts, or transport. The informal sector is also severely underestimated as a source of income, according to Flora Hajdu.
There is a great gap between the national and local levels, she points out. A series of concrete examples show how lack of knowledge about local conditions is leading to an ineffective policy. While programs for combating poverty often involve the creation of temporary work, the people themselves identify entirely different needs, such as the fact that good roads would dramatically increase their capacity to create their own jobs.
Flora Hajdu also highlights an idea that is being discussed more and more: simply giving poor people money that they can use as they see fit, rather than investing in expensive and perhaps ineffective programs. This is also a hot topic in South Africa: How can the country afford to provide all its citizens with a sum corresponding to USD 20 per month, without requiring something in return?
Flora Hajdu is cautious about overgeneralizing and is reluctant to do so from her own findings.
“The general conclusion is that those in power must learn about the concrete conditions at the local level before they decide what should be done,” she says.
Anika Agebjörn | alfa
New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences