Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download


2 D+C  e-Paper  August 2016 Title: Farmers’ market in rural Burkina Faso. Photo: Böthling/Photography Focus: Life chances in rural areas Saving our heritage Culture and tradition matter in the development of any rural community, and especially so in the case of marginalised ones, such as India’s Adivasi tribes. Boro Baski, who belongs to the Santals, discusses the issue.  Page 14 Marriage instead of graduation Bangladeshhasimprovedschoolenrolmentwithspectacu­ lar success in the past 25 years, and today, girls are more likely to go to school than boys. However, drop-out rates areaworry,especiallyoutsidethecities,write­development scholars M. Niaz Asadullah and Zaki Wahhaj.  Page 16 Unblocking investments The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are meant to bring about a world without hunger. Words must be followed up with action, demands Stefan Schmitz of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Page 18 Long distances People’s incomes have to rise for food security to improve and poverty to go down in rural Africa. Susanne Neubert of the Berlin-based Centre for Rural Development (Seminar für ländliche Entwicklung – SLE) argues that better transport opportunities are what matters most in this context.  Page 19 In need of cure Health services tend to be poor in developing countries’ remote areas. Anne Jung of medico international, a German non-governmental organisation, draws lessons from Sierra Leone’s Ebola disaster. Olaf Hirschmann and Herman Joseph Kawuma of GLRA, another German NGO, elaborate how to stem leprosy in Uganda.  Pages 23, 26 Restoring everyday life The success of Colombia’s peace talks will depend substantially on improving the life chances of villagers, many of whom were displaced by violent conflict. Gregor Maaß and Mario Pilz, two German scholars, indicate how that can be done.  Page 29 Lessons from Mariana When a dam burst in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in 2015, the ensuing mudslide killed 19 people and caused major devastation. Authorities need to strike a healthy balance between economic development and environ­ mental sustainability, argues Renata Buriti, who specialises in water-resources management.  Page 32 Editorial Rural urbanisation In Germany, rural life is not at all like rural life in Africa and other less developed world regions, but resembles urban life in many ways. The infrastructure tends to be very good, at least by global standards, and so does access to services. Even in remote German villages, there is employment in different trades and professions, though the variety is of course smaller than in the cities. The roads are good. There are schools, hospitals and supermarkets, and the power grid does not let people down. In regard to educational opportunities, professional options, health care, leisure activities and personal choices in general rural life in many advanced nations has actually become quite urban. Matters are completely different in the rural areas of developing countries, where poverty and the lack of opportunities haunt masses of people. At first glance, their needs are not as obvious as the misery of slum dwellers in the cities, but rural poverty is even more common and often more desperate. All too often, the state itself is absent from rural areas, as is evident in the lack of roads, electric power or facilities for health care and education. In such an underdeveloped environment, no trades can prosper and no businesses grow, and only agriculture provides livelihoods. Accordingly, farms are extremely important and get most of the attention. Promoting them is essential for rural development. The challenges are huge, however, and require donor support, at least initially, as experts argue. Build- ing and developing infrastructure is indispensable. Roads, water supply and other hard infrastructure matter, and so do schools, health centres and access to public administrations in general. Extension services must make region- ally specific advice available and inform peasants about farming methods, seed, irrigation, fertiliser et cetera. Nowadays, the impacts of climate change must obviously be taken into account too. The best kind of rural development would be the emergence of many small towns as nodes linking the villages. If farmers thrived, new markets would emerge to supply them with the inputs they need. Moreover, their products could be processed at the town level, adding even more opportunities for income generation and employment. For many reasons, lots of small towns are preferable to megacity growth. Small towns are more attractive in environmental, social and economic terms. They are thus more sustainable than huge agglomerations, which mostly are overburdened anyway. Ultimately, rural life in developing regions might become urbanised in a similar way as it is in Germany today. Such a development could serve democratisation too. As stated above, there is an utter lack of state institutions and services in rural areas. Elected gov- ernments really do not have much of a role to play, and traditions and clan elders set the rules accordingly. Democratic modernisation depends on infra- structure and leads to better infrastructure. Roads, water mains, schools and hospitals are the kind of proof of effective governance that allows people to have faith in their state, which in turn fosters its legitimacy. The more peo- ple identify with the state, the system of government and democracy, the less their lives will be determined by tradi- tion alone, and the more they will be able to take their fate into their own hands. Sabine Balk isamemberoftheeditorialteamof D+C/E+Z. [email protected]