Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Within the framework of a policy to reduce poverty it is crucial to ensure that everyone, and especially the most disadvantaged groups, have dignified and durable means of existence. In order to achieve this, accessibility of the necessary services and resources is vital. The territorial dimension, among other things, is of primary importance, particularly in the rural areas, where the habitat is naturally dispersed over vast areas.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have therefore become indispensable instruments in development planning to ensure that the available means of implementation are used in the most rational way. The issue of managing travel distances and problems with the accessibility has been a major concern for those responsible for urban planning and rural development and is increasingly well managed as information technologies develop. This study is an interesting and relevant contribution to the endeavour to resolve this issue. Mr Delgado has used a clever and apparently inexpensive combination of technological methods (GIS + computer database) and participative field work to make an inventory of the services and resources deemed most necessary to the subsistence of the inhabitants and model their ease/difficulty of access. The study does, however, highlight a fact that comes as no surprise: the poorer you are, the more expensive and the more limited the means of transport and access are to the places where services and resources are provided. This thesis concludes with two concrete and feasible measures, to be applied in the study region (Community of Claveria, in the Province of Eastern Misamis in the Philippines) whilst demonstrating the immediate positive results that these measures can bring about. The instrument and method put forward and used in the study seem to have interesting possibilities for application in other similar contexts.
Having said that, the struggle against poverty constitutes a large and multi-dimensional effort. The author remains well aware that only the physical accessibility to services and resources has been tackled in his work. He also knows that a development policy must also aim, among other things, to strengthen the capacities of the local institutions, the quality of services provided, and even the socio-economic impact of demographic development and land-use.
Report: Mr A. Jacques de Dixmude, Directorate-General of Development Co-operation, Brussels, Belgium