Author: Kristin Westad

Kristin lives in Franklin, MA. Kristin has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing a career as a freelance researcher and writer. Kristin loves Pugs – she's owned four of them!

SEATTLE — In today’s world, technology is essential to nearly every aspect of human development. Technology helps to meet the basic needs of humanity like producing food and providing access to clean water and shelter. It also offers opportunities to enhance human lives and makes them more enjoyable. However, the benefits of technology are only as great as its availability. People living in developing countries often lack the most basic technology that many in developed countries take for granted. According to the World Bank, 1.2 billion people worldwide have zero access to electricity. Those that still rely on unimproved water sources…

Read More

WASHINGTON — On Jan. 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act (H.R. 601). The bill, which has essentially the same language as the Education for All Act of 2016, provides accountability for existing U.S. efforts to improve quality basic education in developing and war-torn countries. The Education for All Act (H.R. 4481) passed the House in the 114th Congress on Sept. 7, 2016. It later passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December, but unfortunately, Congress adjourned before it was considered in the full Senate. Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and Dave Reichert…

Read More

SEATTLE — About 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity. In September of 2015, world leaders of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which featured 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal number seven of the agenda reads, “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” Sri Mulyani Indrawati, former chief executive of the World Bank, says addressing energy poverty is vital to alleviating poverty more broadly. Sigora Haiti is a renewable energy company working to address energy poverty in Haiti. According to the latest data from the World Bank,…

Read More

GENEVA — In December, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released The Least Developed Countries Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond – Making the Most of the Process. The annual report provides comprehensive data and analysis on the world’s most disadvantaged countries. The least developed countries (LDCs) are the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. They are classified as such by the U.N. based on gross national income (GNI), human assets and degree of economic vulnerability. The U.N. General Assembly created the list in 1971 to bring attention and support to its most disadvantaged members.…

Read More

SEATTLE, Washington — This past October, the Lancet medical journal published an early childhood development series, part of which highlighted the economic costs of stunted growth caused by poverty. Specifically, the series reported that stunting and extreme poverty may result in “nearly 250 million young children across the world…who are unlikely to fulfill their potential as adults.” Three research papers focused on early childhood development from conception to the age of five. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stunting refers to a child being too short for their age. Specifically, it is “the failure to grow both physically and cognitively and…

Read More

UGANDA — The Mobile Vital Records System (VRS) is among the newest technologies in Uganda. Its goal is to raise the rate of birth registrations in the country. According to a 2014 World Bank report, Uganda’s fertility rate is 5.8 births per woman, one of the highest in the world. However, the 2011 Uganda Health Demographic Survey reported that only 30 percent of children under the age of five had their birth registered. Moreover, out of those registered, just 17 percent had a birth certificate. Ugandan law requires children be registered at birth. This provides official documentation that the child exists, and…

Read More