2018 Cases

Imagine that your team has been provided with a grant by the Georgetown Development Initiative to launch a pilot that addresses one of these cases. Develop a proposal for the pilot, including the budget, and describe how and where the project will be scaled.

Case #1: Food Insecurity/Health in Latin America

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The Task:
Identify and implement either an innovative program, policy, or tool to help tackle any or all of the following in Latin America:

  • Food insecurity
  • Malnutrition
  • Underweight, overweight, and/or obesity
  • Chronic diseases related to overweight such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.

You may choose a specific country to implement your proposal, or provide a plan for the overall region.

The Problem:

Although many Latin American countries have experienced economic and social growth over the past decade, inequalities in income distribution and health outcomes remain a problem. In particular, lower income households often face food insecurity in their communities, making them vulnerable to malnutrition, chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertensive disease and cardiovascular diseases (ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in Latin America for adults 40 and above), and lower life expectancies.

Poor nutrition is especially detrimental to children, as its effects ripple throughout their life. Malnourished children have lower school completion rates, lower household incomes and ultimately, a lower chance at escaping the cycle of poverty. A key indicator of malnutrition is weight, including being underweight, overweight and obese. Currently, close to 360 million people - around 58% - of the Latin America and Caribbean region - are overweight. In children under 5, 5.5% are classified as underweight, 7·1% as overweight, and 11% suffer from stunting. In the adolescents group (ages 12-19), as much as 32% are classified as overweight.

Case #2: Mental Health Needs of Child and Adolescent Refugees

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Task:

Design an innovative tool/program/strategy to address the current gap in mental health care delivery for child and adolescent refugees.

You may tailor your solution to a specific group of refugees, or provide a plan for the general crisis.

The Problem:

In recent years, millions of people have been displaced forcibly worldwide. At the end of 2016, it is estimated that 65.6 million people were removed from their homes.  Of the many challenges that these refugee crises have imposed on the global community, the mental health problems of fleeing children and adolescents often remain unaddressed. Yet the sheer magnitude of the problem illustrates the urgency of the situation. Taking Syrian refugees as an example. A report by the Migration Policy Institute estimates that almost half of Syrian refugee children exhibited symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their early exposure to war and violences (Also see the case of Rohingya children). Their problems are also likely to persist after they reach refugee camps, where resources for mental health care are severely constrained. Additionally, factors such as the losses of parents and the social stigma associated with mental illnesses may further limit the support they can receive.  

When the mental health problems of refugee children are untreated, not only do they render the children vulnerable to long-term health issues, but they can also have broader implications for society. Studies have shown that childhood psychological problems can negatively affect adulthood earnings and social relationships. Therefore, when refugee children grow up, they are less likely to achieve their full economic potential and contribute to the development of their countries.

 

Case #3: Microfinance in India

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The Task:

Identify and implement an innovative strategy, plan, or tool to address the issues with microfinance in India today. The goal of this task is to not only identify where MFIs are going wrong now but also how they can improve and what components or ideas they can use to improve.

The Problem:

Microfinance in India plays an extremely crucial role in supporting the rural poor. which constitutes more than 70% of the country’s population. India has approximately 223 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), and their goal is to provide products and services to help low income families achieve their financial objectives. However, these MFIs simply do not reach their intended market and leave over 200 million rural poor financially excluded (Kabra et al 9). MFIs are meant to be a strong instrument in the fight against poverty but are not able to perform in India to the scale that one would hope. The majority of the population in India is unable to take full advantage of the products and services offered by MFIs, and as a result, millions of micro-entrepreneurs are still struggling and facing poverty.

One of the critical components of solving this issue could be correlated to the management of risks through appropriate investment valuations or following changing rules and regulations. Another very talked about component could be the fact that India’s rapid digitization through the Aadhar project has opened up hundreds of possibilities in micro-finance such as the application of fin-tech to better reach the population. As such, there are a number of different ways and/or components that can be used to solve the issues with microfinance in India today.

Case #4: Open Category

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Your team may select a development challenge of your choice for a specific country/region to enter under the open category. Keep in mind that your development challenge should be current!