Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects

This is a cross-post based on GDN’s Feature Story, “Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects”. The post is based on the GDN 13th Annual Conference Awards and Medals Competition 2nd place winner, Hasina Kharbhih, for the work of ‘Impulse NGO Network‘.

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Researcher capacity building is clearly driven by the importance of communication in bridging research and policy. Our Research Communication Training Workshops are thus an integral pre-conference activity, conducted by GDNet  Research Communication Training facilitation team in collaboration with CommsConsult, that helps researchers better present their research to create a bigger impact with their ideas.  Last year’s GDN awarded winner Hasina Kharbhih sets an example for effective  engagement of policymakers in  creating an impact with research. Her research team utilized a range of communications tools to support the research and help ensure wider impact. This included publishing a formal research report that presents the research findings, in addition to conducting a press release to involve the media and engage Indian government stakeholders in discussions of the findings.

To provide a long lasting, holistic solution to the rampant human trafficking problem, Impulse has created the Meghalaya Model which not only rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of human trafficking, but also oversees prosecution of the traffickers and raises awareness to prevent human trafficking. What makes the Model special is its ability to get various stakeholders involved. “We understand that the issue of human trafficking is too big to be handled only by a few NGOs. The government agencies and other stakeholders have to be involved,” says Hasina Kharbhih, the Team Leader of Impulse. The Model brings together civil society, NGOs, media, educational institutions, government departments, judiciary, law enforcement, and Border Security Forces (BSF) to collectively fight against the problem.

Interested to learn more about the Meghalaya Model and the experience of Impulse NGO Network? Watch our interview with Hasina.

As part of GDNet’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, a panel was held prior to the GDN Conference where a few rigorous, robust and representative cases of knowledge into use in the policy process were selected. Hasina’s case was chosen as one of the Most Significant Cases where a number of interesting policy influencing factors arise.

This year, the GDN 14th Annual Global Development Conference on Inequality, Social Protection and Inclusive Growth will be held on June 19-21, 2013 at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

Don’t miss any discussions and stay up to date with conference proceedings and messages through social media:

  • Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants
  • Ask questions and share your ideas and relevant research by commenting on conference blogs, tweets, photos, video and more
  • Follow @Connect2GDNet and #GDN2013 for live updates and comments on discussion.

Download full Conference Note here!

Awards and Medals Competition: Recognizing innovative ideas

Launched in 2000 with the support of the Government of Japan, the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition aims to recognize innovative ideas and to encourage talented young researchers. This year, 21 finalists had the opportunity to presented their papers and projects on urbanization and development during the 2012 GDN Annual Conference. Interesting discussions emerged throughout the conference’s parallel sessions where researchers presented their innovative work.

GDN Awards and Medals winners

GDN Awards and Medals winners

Housing and basic infrastructure for all: A conceptual framework for urban India

India is projected to have an urban housing shortage of 29 million units by 2017.  This deficit persists because housing interventions to date have been delivered in an ad hoc and fragmented manner in the absence of an enabling framework to facilitate housing delivery. In light of this, the paper presented by Pritika Hingorani (IDFC, India) during the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference develops a conceptual framework which stresses integration – an alignment of the economic, legal, planning, financial systems and a clear mapping of requirements – tenure mix, associated infrastructure that can help ensure targeted and productive investment.

According to the paper Housing and basic infrastructure services for all: A conceptual framework for urban Indiahousing provision must dovetail with a framework to deliver basic infrastructure – in particular, water supply and sanitation, access to transit, electricity and solid waste management. This is crucial to mitigate the externalities associated with urban growth. Planning and economic policies in particular can help create a strong link in delivering both housing and infrastructure.

Titling programs: Physical vs. human capital effects

Land titling programs are programs that allocate legal ownership titles to lands’ occupants. Not only titling programs affect human capital, but is also associated with a wealth effect as it induces higher expenditure on normal goods such as home consumption, education and health services. Moreover, titling programs have a substitution effect: the elimination or reduction of expropriation risk makes investment in the home more attractive and therefore increases the opportunity cost of other forms of spending. As for the effect on human capital, it remains ambiguous.

The paper “Inter-Generational Effects of Titling Programs: Physical vs. Human Capital” presented by Néstor Gandelman (Universidad ORT Uruguay) at the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference introduces a simple model illustrating the above with a focus on Uruguay as a case study where human capital investment is proxied by investment in education and healthcare.

The results of the paper confirm that titling programs favor home investment to the detriment of some aspects of human capital investment for children of 16 and under, particularly education investment (school enrolment, private school attendance, extra lessons beyond school) and healthcare investment (medical and dentist visit).

As Néstor pointed out, “aiming good is not enough”! Although effective in several dimensions, titling programs may have some undesired consequences. Therefore, it is advisable to monitor for side effects when implementing programs that change individual investment decisions.

Are water and sanitation policies in India gender responsive?

Is gender taken into consideration when budgeting, planning and implementing water and sanitation policies in India?

The paper “Gender Responsive Budget Analysis in Water and Sanitation: A Study of Two Resettlement Colonies (Jhuggi Jhopri Clusters) in Delhi” presented by Gyana Ranjan Panda (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability) at the GDN 13th Annual Conference is an attempt to study the Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in the field of urban water and sanitation in Delhi region, with a focus on two resettlement colonies (Bawana and Bhalaswa) as primary areas of inquiry. The paper aims to ascertain the hypothesis that budgeting and planning significantly and disproportionately impact the lives of women and girls.

Read more of this post

Agglomeration Shadow: A Non-Linear Core–Periphery Model of Urban Growth in China (1990-2006)

The core–periphery (CP) model lacks evidence from real data for the nonlinear relationship between distance to core and market potential. The process of industrialization, as well as the geographic diversity across cities, makes China suitable for practical application of the CP model.

The paper presented during the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference by Zheng Xu (University of Connecticut) by Uses Chinese city-level data from 1990 to 2006 to estimates the impact of spatial interactions in China’s urban system on urban economic growth, and fills the gap between CP model and reality. The results show that proximity to major ports and international markets is essential for urban growth. Moreover, the geography–growth relationship follows the ∽-shaped nonlinear pattern implied by the CP model, presenting the existence of agglomeration shadow.

Spatial Concentration/Diversification in India

The process of urbanization in India is large city oriented. Beside the dominance of large cities, there is spatial disparity in terms of their distribution and other characteristics. Since class I cities itself is not a homogeneous category, this paper aims to see the effect of location on characteristics of these cities. In this context it compares the class I cities located within UA boundaries and those located outside UA’s in terms of their growth characteristics. It also aims to analyze the process of concentration/dispersal of population in the urban agglomerations of million plus cities. It also analyses the sectoral and spatial concentration of workforce in class I cities according to size class and their location within or outside the urban agglomerations.

The paper Spatial Concentration/Diversification: Comparative Analysis of Class I Cities Located within and outside Urban Agglomerations in India (1991-2001) presented byRupinder Kaur (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) at the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference concludes that Indian urbanization is experiencing concentrated decentralization where growth is concentrated in class I cities particularly within UAs. While within this category, cities located outside UAs are catching up with those located within UAs. There is a movement from monocentric to polycentric urban pattern in largest UAs of the country. Larger class I cities are experiencing workforce diversification while concentration tendencies are found in smaller cities particularly those which are located outside UAs.


Meghalaya Model to fight against human trafficking

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It means the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs. The legal end of slavery only pushed it under the ground – making the modern slaves invisible.

Meghalaya Model is a comprehensive approach to address human trafficking from different angles, engaging stakeholders to work in a collaborative network, connected by Impulse Case Info Center. Hasina Kharbhi, finalist in the 2011 Global Development Awards Competition – Japanese Award for the Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP), presented this initiative at the GDN 13th Annual Conference. In this video, Hasina introduces the project and what it aims to achieve.


Meghalaya Model is designed to track and rescue trafficked children; to facilitate rehabilitation, making sure that survivors will not get re-trafficked; provide families with livelihood alternatives; to prosecute offenders; to create new policies making the fight against human trafficking always more efficient; and to raise awareness, also through media, preventing human trafficking all together. These activities translate to the pillars of Meghalaya Model, which are the five “Ps” Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution. The process of Meghalaya Model is Reporting, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Repatriation and Re-education.

Through a collaborative, far-reaching network children are more likely to be recovered, traffickers will face prosecution and survivors will have better access to rehabilitation. To make the collaboration more coordinated and proficient between the stakeholders, Impulse established Case Information Centre. It is a one of a kind database to collect all the information about human trafficking cases reported to Impulse or to its partners. Impulse Case Info Center has facilitated over 2000 (and counting) rescue operations of human trafficking victims – none of the survivors have been re-trafficked.

Before the invention of the Meghalaya Model there was no other workable system in order to combat human trafficking in the Northeast of India in a holistic network approach. Now the Model is replicated in all the 8 states of Northeast India bringing together Government and Police Departments to address the issue of human trafficking collectively.

Strengthening youth capacity to climate change mitigation and adaptation

Verengai Mabika finalist in the 2011 Global Development Awards Competition – Japanese Award for the Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP), presented his project at the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference. In this video, he introduces the project and what it aims to achieve.

Development Reality Institute (DRI) has pioneered a catalytic and innovative capacity building programme for youth in Africa aimed at strengthening their capacity to effectively mitigate and adapt the effect of climate change in their communities. The program is a source of inspiration and a platform for experience sharing for the youth as they device solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. DRI project has three output areas which are:

  • Strengthening youth capacity to climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Strengthening institutional, legal and policy framework for climate change programming; and
  • Promoting innovative ideas in coping with climate change by harnessing and documenting indigenous knowledge systems.

DRI project fulfils its objectives through a Climate Change Virtual School, video conferencing and live streaming, Cool clubs, policy dialogue and knowledge management activities.

Cloth for work: Turning age old charitable act into dignified giving

Whether we like it or not, clothes are the symbol of our dignity. Cloth for Work is a special Indian initiative that is not only tackling one of the most important basic needs of village communities – clothing – but dignifying the act of giving.

Cloth for work is a project initiated by GOONJ. During the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference, GOONJI Founder Anshu Gupta presented his project. After the session we caught up with up and recorded the short interview below.

From raising local communities’ awareness about their basic needs – on the top of which clothing – to empowering them in order to address their own local issues, the process seems to be long but rewarding. Whether it is an issue of cleaning a dirty surrounding, tackling an old water problem, increasing land cultivation and productivity, or repairing a damaged road, the project’s initiators help the communities decide on the problem, identify the possible solution and act accordingly. Clothes are then given as a reward. With Cloth for Work initiative, giving clothes is no longer a charity act, but rather a resource for development.

One of the most interesting aspects of this initiative remains the possibility of using old material as a powerful tool to satisfy basic needs. Using old cotton material to produce sanitary pads is one powerful example.

Although prominent, several projects across the Global South whose main target are women overlook the issue of sanitary pads. In a conservative country like India, sanitary pads are considered to be a woman issue, hence a taboo. Cloth for Work used sanitary pads as a tool to open up a dialogue and raise awareness about pads being a human basic need which has been ignored regardless of its vitality. Old materials are converted into sanitary pads by women of village communities themselves. 2 million sanitary pads were created over the past 2 years. Not only such sanitary pads are handmade, easy to produce and cost effective, but also are 100% biodegradable. No other sanitary pad across the globe is that environment friendly!