Can the poor pay for drinking water?

by Rob Hope

Economists often ask awkward questions. With safe drinking water a human right as well one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there must be the money to pay for everyone to get drinking water, right? Apparently not. With over two billion people without safely-managed water and 663 million without basic water the costs to meet the target by 2030 runs to US$114 billion per year.

The policy puzzle is how to square safe water for everyone with financial sustainability? As words fly up, delivery on the ground remains tricky. So if we ask the question from the perspective of the poor, and what they will pay, does that help us think of new ways forward? Continue reading

Reducing HIV in Africa with ‘cash plus care’

by Lucie Cluver

Our work often feels like a series of battles against an enemy that outwits us.

Despite real global progress in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS (PDF, UNICEF website), children and adolescents remain left behind. Every hour, 30 adolescents are infected with HIV.  The situation is most severe in Southern and Eastern Africa, which accounts for nine in 10 of adolescent AIDS deaths. AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst adolescents in the region.

We have realised that if we are to have any chance of winning the battle, academics need to work in close partnership with governments, UN agencies and policymakers – and with teenagers themselves. Our research studies are developed together with these groups, which often leads us to unexpected questions and findings. Continue reading