Building and Maintaining Homes in Underdeveloped Areas

Housing is one of, if not the biggest issue facing underpriveledged populations both in the US/Europe and around the globe.  Finding affordable, sustainable and quality housing for the masses has proven both a difficult and worthwhile challenge to governments, NGO’s and aid agencies around the world.  There are many challenges, such as regulatory red-tape, natural resources and political climates.  Today, however, we are going to talk about a more tangible issue facing us, the actual building and maintaining of homes and buildings.

Home and Builing Construction in Under-Utilized Areas

The U.S. Government has different benefits and designations for under-utilized areas, such as the “Historical Under-Utilized Business Zones”, or “Hub Zones“.  Given that there are many incentives in developing in these areas, it can make financial and regulatory sense to go that route.  However, you will need to make sure you are using contractors that can handle these regulatory requirements and/or are already certified hubzone contractors.  This is covered below when we talk about sourcing contractors for your projects.

“Going Green” with LEED Certification

Another ting to keep an eye on for construction initiatives are the incentives associated with building “Green” buildings.  No, not the color green, but the environmental kind.  “LEED” certification has been used in the US and elsewhere for years to classify and certify buildings that follow green practices, and there are government tax incentives for following them.

It makes sense to follow these practices not just for the short term financial benefit, but also for the longer term maintenance costs.  A green building will likely cost 30% less then a non-green buildings when it comes to energy costs.  When building for underprivileged populations, the energy costs often fall on the owners, so it makes sense to try and reduce this as much as possible.

Low-Income Tenant Tax Incentives

While perhaps obvious to most people undertaking these initiatives, be sure not to leave any money on the table regarding potential tax incentives for providing low-income housing and resources.  Remember, local, city and national governments can all provide tax credits or other incentives for this, so make sure to contact an experience tax professional in your country for the best possible opportunities.

Sourcing Contractors for Building Initiatives

Sourcing contractors can be difficult but there are many tools available to help handle this, include The Bacon, a platform designed to help pair buyers and suppliers.  Make sure to include in your RFQs all necessary certifications (both quality and diversity) along with any other governmental regulations that might be necessary.

Be sure to get explicit confirmation surrounds these requirements.  Don’t assume anything.  As we all know, when it comes to red tape, the letter of the law is very stringent, so make sure you have everything in writing, including certificates/etc.

 

 

The Emigrants Life – Moving House and Home to a new country

Let’s face it, life is not perfect. It will never be. And there are some people who are facing life situations much harder than others. This depends directly in the kind of country you’re living, its culture, its politics, its religious views and the average behavior of the inhabitants of that country.

emigrants moving to the USA

Sometimes you’re born in one of these countries while having a higher mindset that tends to go above the standards, most of the time in an intellectual way, sometimes you’re just way more visionary than the rest. And this is the moment where you realize the country you live in will progressively represent a boundary on your personal development and what you do. This is the moment where you start considering emigration, and moving your home (and family) to another country you consider it offers the lifestyle and opportunities you’re looking for.

You just need to have a fairly clear concept of what involves emigrating and the different changes, sometimes drastic, your life will take; which, you will likely not be perfectly comfortable with all of them. This is why we’ll be giving you 5 tips to meditate and think about as a way to prepare yourself for a life changing process.

1. Be open-minded.

Do not attach yourself to your culture, political or religious views. You’re about to see a whole new world where people will have a different ethical pattern. This is something that commonly results uncomfortable for people who migrate to more modern countries than theirs, and they start finding features and beliefs they do not share.

You don’t have to share them, just be aware that you’re in a different environment where that’s perfectly normal. You don’t have to feel uncomfortable or frightened.

2. Be friendly and respectful of others.

Show your new foreign countries acquaintances that you’re someone anyone would enjoy to be with is a key to success. It’s a clean way to earn the acceptance of people with higher education standards and a more open culture, furthermost one of the best personal growth experiences.

3. Be ready to get out of your comfort zone.

In any situation, moving to a new home is going to be difficult, especially when you are in a new country.  You’re in a different world where things will very likely work different. You will be demanded a certain level of preparation in your area of professionalism, as well as a certain level of education and professional ethics you were probably not used to, and you will have to meet the requirements in order to create successful relationships.

4. Economic standards will be different.

One of the most common reasons behind moving to another country is probably the source of income and your overall monthly profit, which is clearly going to be much higher than before. Anyways, remember that life’s price is different from one country to another, and you can’t close your mind into paying the same cost of living you used to pay earlier with a higher salary, but look for a stable relation on profit and expenses.

This is a really important one. The laws you probably overlooked in your former country might be of outermost importance in your new country. So be mindful of overall ethics, transit laws and rule charts in any place you visit.

Resources:

https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/move-united-states

French Influence on Households in Developing Nations

A number of developing countries have in one way or the other depended on developed countries for their survival. Interactions between developing and developed countries can be traced back to times before colonization, and then colonization happened. Developed countries have currently assumed “big brother” status in their relationships with the developing world. In the face of looming ecological and economic crisis, a number of international conventions have led to the development of policies and international commitments that have seen developed countries focus on improving certain sectors of life in their developing counterparts.

French Flag
The French Flag (pictured above) – France has left its mark across the globe, and continues to do so in a post-imperialist society.

Foreign Influence after Imperialism

France is one such developed country on a mission to make the world a better place. As a country, it has made several commitments to improving lives in developing countries with the key areas of focus being health, environmental health and climate change related issues as well as poverty reduction. This is achieved through coordination and cooperation of the ministry of economy and finance, the ministry of foreign affairs and the French Development Agency in conjunction with investors from the private sector. The French government has invested a considerable amount of money in donor funding particularly in the education and health care sector. As of the year 2008, France had invested a total of €20 million to enable the fast tracking of multilateral initiatives aimed at improving the education conditions of developing countries. In the same breath, it donated €130 million yearly towards improving accessibility and quality of basic education in developing countries. As a result, the percentage of individuals enrolling in schools for basic education has gone up by sixteen percent in sub Saharan Africa from the year 1996 to the year 2006.

Health Care and Other Influences

The Impact of French on Other Countries
French families and culture have spread influence throughout the globe.

On the health care front, France has been at the fore front of championing for universal health care. This has seen the country advance €2 million to an informal network comprising of South Africa, Senegal, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Thailand and Norway for the purpose of subsidizing health care facilitation and strengthening efforts towards the various social protection needs of the member countries. By so doing, they have enabled developing countries such as Chile, Thailand, Rwanda and Gabon make immense strides in their respective health care sectors. Gabon for example has been empowered to be innovative in their fund raising so as to source funds that can be dedicated to health care of their citizens.

On a smaller and more personal scale, the impact on individual households can also be felt.  Use of modernized equipment like vacuum and steam cleaners and other “appareil entretien maison” (household appliances), has risen in recent decades due to the modernization brought on, at least in part, by French influences.

Economic Impact

While the monies invested in developing countries through donor funding does not necessarily trickle down to the pockets of individuals of the respective countries at the grass root levels, the effects are more wholesome and far reaching from a societal point of view. By enabling access to basic and higher education and improving health care facilities, donor aid by France is improving the lives of members of developing country households. The French influence on households in developing countries thus takes a rather indirect dimension. By providing educational enlightenment and improving the health care services and consequently the health of individuals in developing countries, France through donor aid is investing in a future where developing countries have both the intellectual capacity and manpower to reach their full potential.

Financial Education for Developing Countries

Financial EducationPoor people in third world countries have dreams and visions just like everybody else all over the world. The major difference between these people in developing countries and the ones in developed countries is that the poor ones lack opportunities and resources. Money management is a challenge facing the people in developing countries. It is difficult to make future planning when making ends meet on a daily basis is a struggle in itself. To reduce “outflow”, poor people end up minimizing expenditure and consumption in many ways. popular strategies of controlling the outflows include

  • opening savings accounts for various purposes such as dowry, building houses, health expenses and buying land
  • designating the income resources for specific expenditures
  • purchasing food stocks and any other basic needs in bulk
  • keeping written account of one’s personal expenses

In times of stress, it is normal for poor people to cut back on expenses for clothing and education. The number of meals in a day may even be reduced. Furthermore, the family may move to a cheaper house.

INTRODUCTION OF MICROFINANCE

Even though informal saving continues to be an important part of money management in developing countries, the introduction of microfinance industries is playing a major role. Not only do the microfinance industries offer a wide range of products and services to their clients, they also seek new strategies for becoming even more profitable than they already are. Few of the microfinance industries are currently forming alliances with various financial institutions so as to effectively deliver their services.

Choosing the correct microfinance company to invest in is quite crucial due to the increasing number of services. One needs a lot of skill and information to calculate the costs and the amount required to make repayments. It is the role of the microfinance industries to empower their clients to make strategic choices regarding the use of these financial services which are a benefit to both the client and the company.

OBJECTIVES OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION

The main purpose of financial education is to make people aware of the different concepts of proper money management. It aims at enabling people to be more informed when it comes to making financial decisions on spending and budgeting.

Financial literacy helps people to set realistic financial goals and optimize their options.

Financial education covers a wide scope of topics ranging from managing risks, managing one’s cash flow and building assets.

BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION

In this context of developing countries, financial education is majorly helpful to the poor people who are vulnerable to financial pressures. Additionally it opens up potential employment opportunities for online based financial jobs, such as Xero Waterloo, an online bookkeeping firm.  Financial education, therefore, increases the client’s skill of decision making and further prepares them to cope with their daily lives.

Financial education also helps the clients to choose keenly among the various micro-finance industries being set up. Through this knowledge of the different services available, chances of experiencing business risks are low.

Furthermore, financial education encourages the young people in these developing countries to develop the habit of saving. Through this, they can set up their own businesses and not just rely on the white collar jobs.

What can be done to promote sustainable development?

Sustainable Development

The world today is need of sustainable development; such economic development that does not affect the natural resources of the world and does not deplete the environment. While this should have been the take on development all along, mankind did not realize, until recently how it was affecting the water reservoirs, the air quality, health and well-being of those who are currently inhabiting this world, but more importantly of the generations to come.

Going Forward

Going forward, experts of the field, environmentalists and researchers feel that economic development should go hand in hand with environmental development. For starters, globally the countries are turning towards renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, and moving away from old sources such as oil. Countries have added goals in addition to the economic development goals. Bhutan has recently been declared a carbon-negative country despite its run towards fiscal and economic development. These are the goals that are globally being sought. China, within it more populated and polluted cities, has systematically been setting-up vertical forests, thus depleting the carbon count of those cities. Yet, the fact is that with increasing population globally, the need for residential buildings is rising, which is fast cutting into the agricultural lands and forests. The Amazon, the Rain forest as well as others across the globe are being chopped down to make way for the buildings and for the type of economic development that cannot be labeled “sustainable.” The problems remain that with the decrease of forests, the wildlife, flora and fauna, is being affected in ways beyond the imaginations of common men.

The Age-Old Question

 

The question, however, by far remain this: What can be done to promote sustainable development? While countries around the globe are focusing on the issue, the latest trends have again started to ignore the proclamations of the scientists, and are heading backwards in terms of development and science. It is imperative that the narrative be taken control of again, and shaped in a way that the developers realize the importance of keeping the development sustainable!

 

Micro-credit And Its Effect On Developing Economies

Micro-credit or micro-finance refers to nothing but small or micro loans lent to the poorer section of the society. The amount can either be given to individuals or a group of people to help them fund any sort of a business. Micro-credit is a way of providing very poor people with the required amount of capital to get self-employed. It is expected to alleviate poverty. Another of its principle is to lend to women because conventional loans don’t always reach them. Impoverished and illiterate women are often unable to do the required paperwork for the traditional loans which is why microcredit is considered ideal for them.

The Beginnings of Micro-Finance

In developed nations such as the US and UK, even the lower-income individuals have capability to borrow money at reasonable rates, and it can be considered good credit, as long as they don’t default or otherwise languish in debt.  However in poorer nations with essentially destitute populations, this is not the case.  There was no finance system to speak of for the very poor.

The present concept of Microcredit is said to have first developed with Grameen Bank, a modern micro-finance institution in Bangladesh in the year 1983. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank started this project in a town, Jobra lending his own money to the locals there. He later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in this field in 2006. The year 2005 was declared the International Year of Microcredit by the United Nations.

According to available data, 38 billion US Dollars are held by around 74 million people as micro-loans as of 2009. And Grameen Bank reports that the success rates of repayment lie between 95 to 98 percent.

Impact of Micro-Finance Systems

The arguments put forward with regards the impact of the micro-credit system on developing economies are rather controversial. Proponents of the idea state that this system does reduce poverty by increasing incomes and employment. And in the process results in better health and education conditions of the entire community involved. They say it also leads to female empowerment, one of its chief goals. On the other hand, the opponents argue that the micro-finance system has led the poor people into a vicious debt cycle. The money lent is often used up in buying personal durable goods instead of proper business investment.

Microfinance in South Sudan
In South Sudan, micro-financing has helped spur businesses such as this one.

It’s well known that micro-finance did indeed generate employment and new business. However, it did not necessarily increase the wages of the people after paying the interests, as claimed by the proponents. Neither did it have such negative effects as stated by the opponents. The micro-loan system has often been directed towards women for their upliftment. But, based on two rigorous research work carried out in India and Manila, the micro-credit system has been found to have no credible effect on women empowerment. While this system has evidently led to more hiring in the US, it has also been blamed for suicides of people driven into debt in Andhra Pradesh (India). However, one major problem is that the micro-finance system is rarely studied objectively. Lack of adequate data or rigorous research or use of improper methodologies often results in data which is not truly representative of the present situation.

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