Learning at leisure: Using entertainment education to empower the poor
(Getty Images)
October 4th, 2011
03:56 PM ET

Learning at leisure: Using entertainment education to empower the poor

Editor's Note: Mahmoud Mohieldin is a World Bank Managing Director, responsible for the Bank’s knowledge development. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

By Mahmoud Mohieldin – Special to CNN

What does a TV program showcasing Bollywood film songs have to do with India’s development? Viewers don’t typically sit in front of the television expecting to be empowered with knowledge that helps them improve their lives. But if writers and producers are provided with substantive information about critical topics, could television be transformed into more than just entertainment? Could popular programs be used to subtly yet effectively deliver information that convinces audiences to change their behavior and improve their lives – or, in the case of same language subtitling, helps them learn to read?

That was the idea behind The World Bank’s Development Marketplace grant program in financing an innovative pilot led by Brij Kothari at PlanetRead Literacy for a Billion. The pilot added Hindi subtitles to a popular television program that showcased Bollywood film songs, with striking results. As compared to a control group, levels of illiteracy were cut in half, and the percent of children who were learning to read and became good readers more than doubled. FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Development • Education • Innovation
Innovations in access to finance
A man sending money through a pioneering mobile phone service called M-Pesa, in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. (Getty Images)
August 1st, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Innovations in access to finance

Editor's Note: Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin is a World Bank Managing Director, responsible for the Bank’s knowledge development. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

By Mahmoud Mohieldin – Special to CNN

Access to finance is critical for a country’s development - it is as much a part of a country’s basic infrastructure as access to roads, or electricity, or the Internet. Ample evidence indicates that economies with deeper financial sectors and well-functioning financial systems perform better.

Moreover, access to finance is an important contributor to inclusive development. Poor households in particular need access to a broad range of financial services — savings, insurance, money transfers, and credit — in order to smooth consumption, build assets, absorb shocks and manage risks associated with irregular and unpredictable income. Without access to good formal services, the poor must rely on the less reliable and often far more expensive informal sector. A growing body of evidence confirms that gaining access to finance has a positive impact on household welfare.  FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Economy • Global • Innovation