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#Stepforward: Panellists debate role concept of ‘human capital’ in development




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VSO-RwandaResearch conducted by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) concludes that ‘human-capital’ is a central ingredient to determining whether development interventions are effective and sustainable. A panel of development experts and volunteers meeting in Brussels on 2 December will dissect this concept and ask how people-centred approaches can be better integrated in the future vision of development.

“It is clear to me that people around the world want greater influence on the decisions that affect their lives. The poorest countries and communities don’t want to be told what is best for them. They want to be active partners in their own development. Building up this so-called ‘human capital’ is about enabling people and their communities to do just that by bringing people together to work in ways that strengthen their ability to improve the quality of their own lives.  ” said Jim Emerson, CEO of VSO.

The panel comprises Jim Emerson, VSO Chief Executive, Patta Scott-Villiers, Research Fellow at IDS, Pauline Kibe, an international volunteer from Kenya who worked with a local HIV/AIDS-focused partner organisation in Malawi, a representative of the European Institutions (tbc) and Marilou Celles Pantaleon, president of the Philippines Public Sector Teachers Organization (TOPPS )/ Education International.  The moderator is Shirin Wheeler, former BBC news journalist and member of the European Commission Spokesperson Service.


The discussion will be followed by a photo exhibition showcasing the inspiring work of EU Aid volunteers in India and the Philippines, by celebrated photographer Peter Caton.

This debate coincides with a week of global activities marking International Volunteers Day. VSO is calling on people the world over to #StepForward in whatever way they can to help end poverty and inequality.

Step Forward for International Volunteer day, December 5th 2014


VSO is celebrating the national, international, youth and professional volunteers who are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. VSO is and inviting people everywhere to engage in events and on social media, to take their own step forward as volunteers or supporters in 2015. Click here.

About the IDS/VSO research: Valuing Volunteering Series

Valuing Volunteering is a global action research project conducted by VSO and the Institute of Development Studies into how, where and when does volunteering affect poverty? It is one of the most substantial pieces of action research to have ever been undertaken, collectively spanning an eight year period across four countries, and is one of the most in depth studies into volunteering for development to date. Click here.

VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all. Click here.

Tuesday  December 2014
Residence Palace – Polak Room, 155, Rue de la Loi - 1040 Brussels
Register here


Kazakh president sets out five priorities for #Kazakhstan’s 'Third Stage of Modernization' 




In his annual address to the nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, announced five main priorities as part of what he described as “Kazakhstan’s third stage of modernization”. The priorities are aimed at ensuring economic growth and supporting the country to become one of the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050.

The five priorities are: Acceleration of technological modernization of the economy, improved business environment, macroeconomic stability, improved quality of human capital and institutional reforms, including improved security and more action to tackle corruption.


President Nazarbayev said in his annual address: “I am setting the task of ensuring the implementation of the Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create a new model of economic growth that will ensure the country's global competitiveness.”

He added: “This modernization is not a plan to combat current global challenges, but a reliable bridge to the future, to meet the objectives of Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. It will be carried out on the basis of the 100 Concrete Steps Plan of the Nation.”

The Head of State also instructed the Government to developa package of measures for the technological re-equipment of basic industries by 2025.


The annual address followed a special announcement given by the President last week, in which he set out bold plansto increase the powers of parliament. President Nazarbayev stated that these constitutional reforms are aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan, as the Government will be accountable to parliament.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has proposed a constitutional reform aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan. During a special televised address to the nation on 25 January, the President announced a number of functions that would be transferred either to the Government or Parliament. Public discussions on the proposed constitutional reforms will take place for the next month, concluding on 26 February. After this, the reforms will be presented to Parliament.