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Identifying economic and financial drivers of industrial livestock production - the case of the global chicken industry

June 10, 2022

This report articulates the asymmetries of power and policies that give rise to corporate concentration in livestock industries, in particular poultry.Another aim of this report is to provide an analytical framework on how to research economic and global finance drivers of corporate expansion and concentration of industrialized livestock production systems in low- and middle-income countries. It explains how to map the economic organization of livestock industries from the local to global level. For example: What are the spheres of influence? How is market power concentrated in corporations? What are the firm ownership structures? What are the investment portfolios of public development banks?The framework is followed by an analysis of the economic organization of the global poultry genetics industry. Lastly, the report presents a case of how global finance and corporate consolidation is linked to the Indian poultry industry, examining how corporate concentration and public policies have shaped the Indian poultry industry into vertically integrated broiler production systems.This report helps front-line persons and policy-makers understand the pathways and power-sharing practices between international and domestic private and public capital that support industrial livestock production systems and their negative externalities. It provides evidence that they can use to identify and address power imbalance in a financialized livestock industry, characterized by spheres of influences and political clientelism between IFIs, LMICs governments, multinational firms and domestic agribusinesses. 

Powered by the People: Community-Driven Change in Urban Informal Settlements

June 1, 2022

A decade ago, a Muslim religious scholar named Hussain Khan was a vocal critic of the Mahila Mandal Federation (MMF), a Mumbai-based grassroots women's group, which has been nurtured by an NGO called CORO for the past 20 years. He questioned MMF's efforts to help women take on leadership roles in their communities in urban informal settlements. But instead of viewing Khan as an adversary, MMF believed he might one day become an ally.Today, Khan hosts MMF meetings at his madrassa (school), which traditionally excludes women. And he has developed a course, "Quran and the Constitution," which builds community members' awareness of their constitutional rights and their moral responsibility to help neighbours in need.What prompted Khan's change of heart?Along with MMF, CORO spent three years conversing with Khan about the challenges women living in urban informal settlements encounter, including domestic violence and low access to education. CORO was well-positioned to engage in those meetings, since it is largely led by Dalit and Muslim people who live in the communities in which they work. Khan was later selected into CORO's Samta Fellowship, where he spent a full year reflecting on the values enshrined in the Indian constitution and acquiring leadership and movement-building skills that he took back to his community.It is not an accident that Khan now champions the work of a grassroots group that he formerly opposed. It is an outgrowth of CORO's core approach to supporting community-driven change: to meet people where they are and earn their trust. The idea is to unlock their "power within" to advocate for the rights of Dalits, Muslims, and other historically marginalised communities to have an equal opportunity to advance their lives.To learn more about how this kind of ground up, community-driven change comes to life, a Bridgespan Group team spent several months researching and interviewing CORO as well as three other NGOs in the Global South: Mumbai-based Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA); Kenya's Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO); and Ubuntu Pathways (UP), which works in South Africa's Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) townships.Our research reaffirmed that community-driven change is challenging to execute. Multifaceted power dynamics related to gender, caste, class, and religion often pose significant barriers to change. However, we also learned that, despite all of this, the four NGOs pushed past those challenges to build long track records of success by playing a supporting role as community groups built their own solutions. Tightly focusing on a few NGOs, rather than on many, gave us a close-up look at on-the-ground approaches to working with community members as they take steps towards leading their own change. One of our main insights was the similarities in how community-driven organisations think. Specifically, we identified five mutually reinforcing mindsets that help orient these NGOs around community members' priorities and lived experience. 

Mapping India's Energy Policy 2022

May 31, 2022

Carefully designed energy support measures—subsidies, public utilities' investments, and public finance institutions' lending—and government's energy revenues play a key role in India's transition to clean energy and reaching net-zero emissions by 2070. Looking at how the Government of India has supported different types of energy from FY 2014 to FY 2021, the study aims to improve transparency, create accountability, and encourage a responsible shift in support away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.Mapping India's Energy Subsidies 2022 covers India's subsidies to fossil fuels, electricity transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and electric vehicles between fiscal year (FY) 2014 and FY 2021.We found that fossil fuels continue to receive far more subsidies than clean energy in India. This disparity became even more pronounced from FY 2020 to FY 2021, going from 7.3 times to 9 times the amount of subsidies to renewables.

Civic Life Today: The State of Indian Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

The challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic rippled throughout the world, and India was uniquely and severely impacted. A large population, dense urban centres, large-scale migration, pre-existing social and economic disparities, less-than-adequate medical infrastructure and government decision-making led to a gradually worsening pandemic environment that, at one point, became the epicenter of rising infections.Despite these conditions, this report shows a population that is highly civically active. We witnessed this through iVolunteer's COVID relief campaigns powered by individuals across the socio-economic strata:Volunteers helped distribute 1 million+ ration kits in remote villages and serve 200,000+ meals to urban poor and front-end medical staff.People donated Rs 20,000,000 to families who had lost basic income.Support from both inside and outside of India sourced and distributed 75,000 pieces of safety and medical equipment.Thousands helped underprivileged children transition to virtual education by recording books, creating worksheets and conducting telephonic sessions while also supporting critical services in their neighborhoods.

The Unfreedom Monitor: A Methodology for Tracking Digital Authoritarianism Around the World

April 1, 2022

Digital communications technologies have been a powerful tool in the advancement of democratic governance, but in recent years there is concern that they are being used to undermine democracy as well. The Unfreedom Monitor, part of Global Voices' Advox project, aims to study and report on this growing phenomenon. This briefing document provides an overview of key developments in digital authoritarianism in a sample of 10 countries, while explaining the theoretical framework and methodology behind the project. The document also provides a basis for expanding this research to other countries so we can deepen our understanding of digital authoritarianism globally as well as its crucial implications for the future.

Policies for Cooperative Ownership in the Digital Economy

December 6, 2021

The past decade gave rise to the so-called 'gig economy'—a cluster of service sector jobs contingent workers fulfill through digital platforms. Firms like Uber, TaskRabbit, and GrubHub established themselves as two-way intermediaries between workers and customers with the promise of revolutionizing work itself. While the gig economy has provided some convenience and savings to customers and flexibility to workers, the rise of the gig economy has also been disastrous. Using legal loopholes, well-funded lobbying efforts, and publicity campaigns, platform companies have eroded labor protections, worsened environmental conditions, and undermined public services. In contrast to the early, high-minded dreams of a 'sharing economy,' the gig economy is in effect defined by precarity and exploitation.On the one hand, these problems have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. Gig workers were on the frontline of the emergency, delivering groceries, cleaning supplies, and preparing food. They were, however, also the workers who were most exposed to the economic dislocation of the pandemic.On the other hand, effective government response has caused a tightening labor market that leaves some platforms without a sufficient supply of cheap labor. The promise of tech companies was that they would become hegemonic service providers, and thus their losses would be justified with long-term profits. Many of these already unprofitable firms face a real danger of failure just as their aggressive expansion has weakened public infrastructure, leaving vital gaps in essential services.Our report provides a path forward at this critical juncture: the active promotion of platform cooperatives. Platform cooperatives are democratically-governed organizations owned by workers, customers, and other stakeholders. These entities match workers and customers and return a greater share of income to workers, increase worker protections, and build communities. Though still early in their development, platform cooperatives build on the proven business models of cooperatives to establish alternatives to the gig economy and its supporting digital infrastructure.Platform cooperatives are critical to creating a fairer economy and building back better from the pandemic. However, they require active government intervention to be able to compete with well-funded and established private platforms.This report suggests that governments on every level, from national to municipal, can take measures to empower platform cooperatives.

Forgotten by Funders

December 1, 2021

This report highlights the underfunding of work with and for imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women and girls,  alongside a worrying increase in the global female prison population. The report draws from the survey responses of 34 organisations, most of which are based in the Global South and have women with lived experience of the justice system involved with or leading their work. Calling to donors that fund human rights, women's rights and/or access to justice, the report concludes that this heavily gendered area of human rights tends to fall through the cracks of donor strategies, including recent Gender Equality Forum pledges. 

CAF America Survey, Volume 8: Lessons in Disaster Philanthropy

November 16, 2021

In its eighth COVID-19 survey conducted in August 2021, CAF America polled 436 charitable organizations operating in 5 countries (Brazil, Argentina, Russia, India, and South Africa) to report on their current status and outlook for the future.This report takes account of diverse nonprofits, nearly all of which remain operational, to identify what had to change in their operating context, their relationships with donors, and their approach to achieving their mission to be able to support their communities during the past year.The survey prompted respondents to reflect on the impact the pandemic has had on their work and share their present vision for an uncertain future.Donors can use this current, cross-sectional snapshot of nonprofits worldwide to inform their giving strategies as they reimagine their roles in supporting their partners' efforts to build and reinforce their organizational resilience.Building on the insights corporate donors shared in the fourth volume of this series, excerpts from recent interviews will provide readers a window into how the pandemic is shaping the future of corporate philanthropy.

True Value: Revealing the Positive Impacts of Food Systems Transformation

October 14, 2021

This report True Value: Revealing the Positive Impacts of Food Systems Transformation presents powerful and compelling evidence that food systems transformation is possible and having an impact now. Conducted by TMG Think Tank for Sustainability, an inclusive and true cost evaluation approach is applied to six food systems initiatives featured in the Beacons of Hope series to understand the breadth and depth of their positive impacts. True Cost Accounting (TCA) is an innovative tool that provides a holistic understanding of the relationships between agriculture, food, the environment, and human well-being.Using TCA enables us to see the significant monetary and non-monetary benefits sustainable food systems have on issues like public health, biodiversity conservation, climate, workers' rights, cultural diversity, and gender empowerment. It also demonstrates how TCA can be used for a variety of organizations -- from businesses, farmer cooperatives, food banks, research facilities, and more -- as a systemic approach to assess, measure, and value the positive and negative impacts of food systems. 

The meatification and re-meatification of diets: The unequal burdens of animal flesh and the urgency of plant-meat alternatives

October 1, 2021

* This report reviews the trajectories of meat consumption shifting from the periphery to the center of human diets (i.e. "meatification") in six countries (two high-income - U.S., Germany; two upper middle-income - Brazil, China; two lower middle-income - India, Nigeria). It also suggests that plant-based ingredients that resemble meat (i.e. "plant-meats") could play an crucial role in reversing meatification although they should not be seen as a silver bullet.* These six countries are chosen as case studies to illuminate the highly uneven character of global livestock production and meat consumption. This unevenness indicates the need to prioritize certain countries in efforts to address the negative impacts of meatification.* The report also draws attention to some critically important points to bear in mind when trying to address meat consumption and production concerns: 1) A handful of huge transnational corporations dominate livestock slaughter and processing, and exert significant influence over meat production and consumption on a world scale. 2) The rise in global meat consumption is not only influenced by consumer preferences and demand, but also affected by agrarian changes and powerful actors in the agro-food system seeking to expand livestock production and absorb chronic grain and oilseed surpluses. 3) Meatification has triggered serious environmental problems.

India Giving 2021: An Overview of Charitable Giving in India

September 20, 2021

The India Giving report 2021 shines a light on the individual giving landscape in India. This year, India Giving explores why and how people donate their time and money to social causes. Of the 2,053 people interviewed, 85% had taken a charitable action in response to Covid-19. A majority of people gave money directly to poor families, followed by donations to religious institutions, and then non-profit organisations.This year, the survey also gauged the level of trust in non-profit organisations and whether the government and businesses should support them. The results were positive with most people agreeing that non-profits need the support of both governments and businesses. This is quite encouraging, given the challenges faced by the non-profit sector over the past year when the regulatory landscape was made more stringent and NGOs faced difficulties in raising funds for their activities. 

Impact of the PSE in India, Kenya & Russia: Country Case Studies

September 8, 2021

This study examines philanthropy support organisations (PSOs) in India, Russia and Kenya, to understand their role in driving the growth and development of philanthropy, giving, and private social investment in these countries. The study examines the development of the sector in each country, by assessing its size, scope and other characteristics. There is some attempt to understand the individual and collective impact of PSOs in each country.