Some of the Social Key Issues facing developing countries:
Child labor is a widespread phenomenon in the developing world. The International Labour Organization estimates that, in relative terms, child labor is most widespread in Africa even though Africa accounts for only one-third of the working children in the developing world. Children's participation in the labor force exceeds 30 percent in many areas. Studies have also shown that most child labor occurs in the informal sectors in Africa, including the agricultural sector. Given that almost half of the African population is children, and that the high incidence of HIV/AIDS is leading to a decrease in the middle aged population, all accounts suggest that dramatic steps are required to aggressively curb further loss of human capital accumulation and step up efforts to ensure that all African children can grow up to lead productive and healthy lives.
In a region facing unique challenges in fighting poverty, people with disabilities will automatically be disproportionately represented. Their numbers are rising due to conflict, malnutrition, natural disasters and HIV/AIDS. With disabled people invisible in development initiatives, hundreds of thousands of people who see themselves as potential and willing contributors to family and national economic activities are instead relegated to the margins of society where they are a perceived as being a burden. The result can be devastating, both to the individual and to the economy. Despite the importance of including disabled people in poverty alleviation initiatives across the regions, not much information is to be found about this issue. As a contribution to ameliorating the lack of information about disability and poverty in, among others, the Africa region a series of country studies on the situation of disabled people has been initiated. Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the first countries to undergo such studies.
Social funds are multi-sectoral programs that provide financing (usually grants) for small-scale public investments targeted at meeting the needs of the poor and vulnerable communities, and at contributing to social capital and development at the local level. They serve as innovators and demonstrators of new methods of decentralized participatory decision-making, management, and accountability that may be adopted for broader application by public sector organizations.
The institutional framework of a funding agency (this can be a central government, an agency, a social fund, NGO, CBO, the local government, etc.), targeting, selection criteria, rules for processing projects and contracting vary greatly. Some are fairly centralized, others work in collaboration with or through local governments; some give funds to community groups for implementation, other to local governments, and others contract third parties on behalf of the communities.
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