For an elderly man in West Africa, it is the comfort of hearing his wife’s voice on his long journey to receive cancer treatment. For villagers in Peru, it is an emergency lifeline following a devastating earthquake.
Despite reforms, labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been unable to absorb the growing number of job seekers. Women and educated youth are particularly vulnerable to high unemployment. However, data on entrepreneurship and the private enterprise sector in the region have been virtually non-existent.
Asian researchers have developed new environmental and community approaches to reduce the number of mosquitoes carrying dengue, the fastest-growing mosquito-borne viral disease. Dengue is a significant economic and social burden in many countries worldwide.
An IDRC-funded project in Asia found that distance education can be as effective as traditional face-to-face education in delivering quality teaching and a good learning experience. This finding is particularly significant for remote and resource-poor regions in countries such as Mongolia and Cambodia. The project underscored the importance of choosing appropriate technologies and mediums of distance education based on learner needs, capacities, and the socio-economic context.
Health systems in countries across Asia struggle to provide access to health services, especially to vulnerable populations. Information and communication technologies like mobile phones are being used to address health challenges. This networked approach to health, or eHealth, can increase access to services and information. But can it fill critical gaps in health service provision?
Despite strong economic growth, the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN region — more than 7%. Particularly hard hit are youth, who account for more than half of the close to 3 million unemployed.