27 myths about the developing world

I found this article in Global Citizen website and I love it. Totally agree with points 10, 14 and 18… well, with all of them! here you have the link to the original article, comments are really interesting too!!

Sorry, i was trying to find author’s name but impossible… can’t give you the reference!

Photo by america R. Arias (A3R)


Here the article:

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation »

May 30, 2014

27 myths about the developing world

1.) There is an agreed upon way to decide what is a developing country

There is no agreed upon metric for deciding which countries are considered “developing”. The standard of living for a given country can be calculated a dozen different ways with different factors. There is even debate as to whether the term should still be used because it assumes a desire for Western style economic development.

2.) When people say “developing world” or “third world” they mean Africa.

Yes, there are many developing nations in Africa. And yes, most of the myths on this list apply to how people think of Africa. There are developing countries in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. And Africa isn’t a monolith of poverty. This myth feeds into a lot of misconceptions about Africa like…

3.) Africa is a country.

It’s not as though people don’t know that Africa is a continent not a country. The problem is that people make sweeping generalizations about Africa. Whereas most people in the Global North have a clear idea about the differences between Germany and Italy, African nations often get painted with the same brush. In fact there are 54 different African nations all with different cultures, ethnicities, and economic statuses.

4.) Poor countries are just short of natural resources.

This is one of the most damaging myths because it makes people believe that there isn’t much that can be done to help. But it’s simply not true. For example, about 400 billion dollars worth of resources leave the continent of Africa every year. There are a lot of reasons why developing nations can have a lot of poverty, but a lack of natural resources is rarely a big factor. This myth also leads people to conclude that…

5.) Developing nations don’t have their own cultures or histories (because they have always been poor).

This one will probably seem obvious but there is a misconception that developing nations have no culture or history because they’ve always been poor and cut off from the rest of the world. Aside from the racist assumptions about poverty in tribal civilizations, this myth ignores the rich and powerful cities, kingdoms and empires that have existed in areas that are now impoverished. Look into the Malian Empire or the Mughal Empire if you don’t believe me.

6.) The people in developing nations are all poor.

There are clearly poor people in developing nations. But there are also poor in developed countries. Worse, the belief that a developing nation is entirely populated by poor people erases the many success stories of the rising global middle class people. Only focusing on those in desperate poverty makes for ineffective policies and leads to false assumptions about how people live in other countries.

7.) All people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas.

Most of the world’s poor, about 75%, do live in rural areas and rely mostly on farming. However like most things on this list, facts become myths when people replace the word “most” with the word “all”. The 25% of the world’s poor that live in urban areas need different types of aid, and different kinds of policy change, than those in rural areas. They shouldn’t be ignored.

8.) Developed nations spend a lot of their budgets on international aid.

How much do you think the United States spends in international aid every year? It’s probably less than you think . When asked how much of the national budget was spent on foreign aid the average American responded with 25%. The actual amount is less than 1%. Even the most generous nation in the world, Norway, gives less than 3% a year. When asked how much the United States should spend on foreign aid, the average response was 10%.

9.) Relying on aid hurts developing nations.

The argument usually goes like this: “If developing nations rely on foreign aid, they will never develop their own economies.” However, it is important to remember that the aid that directly saves lives, such as medicine and food, is really an investment in the nation’s future. Without a strong and healthy population there is truly no hope for independence from aid.

10.) Volunteering in a developing nation is the best way to make a difference.

A common misconception, although a valiant one! However, volunteering in a developing country usually benefits the volunteer more than locals, unless you have specific, applicable skills like medicine or engineering. The volunteer will learn a lot but will likely have little impact on community development. The best aid is the kind that gives locals the ability to craft their own instituions that can continue on long after the trickle of aid money has come to an end. Traveling to teach English for a month is not near as impactful as funding the local schoolteachers who will live and work there for their entire careers.

11.) Pictures of starving people, or sad children, are a great way to motivate people to make a difference.

There is a name for the type of imagery that is supposed to shock people in developed nations with the realities of extreme poverty: “poverty porn”. While there is a time and place to document suffering, it is important to make sure the person in the photograph is aware of what the picture will be used for, and that the image is presented with context. When photos of children with distended bellies are used as symbols instead of portraits of living people, they are erased as individuals. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully and presented with dignity: as a person with their own dreams, character, and motivations. Although these images undoubtably work at provoking sympathy, advocacy efforts need to be motivated by accurate information and these images don’t tell the whole story.

12.) People living in extreme poverty are poor because they made bad choices.

This rumor has been around as long as poverty has. The world’s poorest are often stigmatized as stupid, lazy, dirty, and violent. Structural inequality can be subtle and difficult to understand, but these types of assumptions poisons the efforts made to change the systems that keep people poor. Just because a person is successful, it shouldn’t give them the right to shirk responsibility to address structural inequality.

13.) There just isn’t enough food to feed everyone.

This is usually the conclusion people make when they hear that so many people all over the world go hungry. In fact, there is enough food to feed the planet one and a half times over. People who can comfortably afford food usually waste a staggering amount. Hunger is not a supply issue, it’s a distribution issue.

14.) Developing nations are all corrupt, and aid just supports that corruption.

First of all, let’s not pretend that developing nations are the only ones with corruption at the government level. When a mayor in the developed world is found to be corrupt, no one suggests that we cut off services to the city in question. It is important to ask ourselves if we are willing to sacrifice the lives of people who rely on aid until we are sure that every incident of corruption is removed. Of course institutions and governments should be transparent and accountable, but the cost of corruption usually only accounts for a small percentage of total aid.

15.) We should focus on poverty in our own countries before trying to help anyone else.

There is poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness in developed nations. No one is suggesting that these problems should be ignored. However, the fact remains that less than 1% of most developed nation’s budget goes to foreign aid whereas large portions of their budget address domestic health and infrastructure. The type of poverty in the developing world is objectively different from the type of poverty exerienced in developing countries.

16.) Future technologies will solve all of the problems of global poverty.

Though it’s refreshing to see some optimistic myths about global poverty, the fact remains that relying on future innovations is not a viable plan and it does nothing for those living in poverty today. Which leads to me to another myth…

17.) Developing nations are technologically backwards.

There are places where there’s a lack of access to digital technology but it isn’t like developing nations are cut off from the tech boom. In fact, many times technology has spread faster in developing nations than developed ones. Cell phones are widely used and they have contributed to many innovations and has led income increases. Ignoring the use of technology in developing nations ignores how important it can be as a part of strategies for ending global poverty. This myth also ignores the innovations in digital technology that originate in the developing world.

18.) Developing nations are violent and unsafe.

Wars are certainly one of the biggest causes of poverty and displacement, but not all developing nations are unsafe. Parts of highly developed nations can be less safe than parts of developing nations. The assumption that all parts of developing countries are torn by violenceprobably comes from movies and the kinds of news stories that come out of some developing nations.

19.) The decline of poverty is all due to international aid (especially celebrities contributing to charity) 

This myth ignores the strides made by the people within developing nations. The fact that the work Western nations are doing is the most visible doesn’t mean that Western people are doing the most. Aid is important to empower those living in poverty to lift themselves out of it. By giving them access to the basics: food, water, health, sanitation and education etc. Economies won’t boom just from aid, aid can give millions of people access to basic needs, allowing them to be entreprenurial and participate in the market.

20.) Any kind of aid is helpful to a developing nation.

There are some kinds of aid that can end up taking more resources from poorer communities than they contribute, especially when you consider the cost of shipping, storing, and distributing certain donated goods. For example, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami thousands of useless items like winter coats, high heeled shoes, and expired canned food were donated to effected nations. Though this was a generous act, donators didn’t research what was actually needed by the people effected.

21.)  If people in developing nations started acting like people in Western nations, they wouldn’t be so poor!

There is a long tradition of people saying that poverty is a cultural problem. Though there can be facets of a culture that slow economic growth, such as human rights violations, women’s equality etc. But a culture that happens to have a greater incidence of wealth is not a better culture because it is political history that’s the biggest factor in determining who is poor. People believed that Irish culture was at fault for their poverty during the 19th century.

22.) Developing nations are dirty.

There is no nation that can be considered as a whole “dirty”, just as there is no nation in which all of the people are poor. In fact, developed nations produce far more trash and waste than developing nations. Calling developing nations dirty is disrespectful and trivializes the real issue of sanitation for those living in extreme poverty.

23.) People are poor because they are having too many kids they can’t afford.

This myth is a classic misunderstanding of cause and effect. Putting aside that “too many” usually means “more than I think these people should have”, studies show that people aren’t poor because they are having too many kids. Rather they can’t choose to have fewer kids because of poverty.  Without access to contraception or sex education to use it effectively, people in extreme poverty have limited choice in family planning.

24.) Aid just leads to people in developing nations having more kids, contributing to overpopulation.

This is simply untrue. There is a belief that since aid is increasingly effective at saving lives, i.e. children that would have otherwise died from preventable disease, aid will cause a population crisis. Some people believe that with the extra resources from aid those living in extreme poverty will decide to have more children. Studies have shown the exact opposite results. The combination of girls staying in school longer and families having access to family planning causes birthrates to go down. 40 years ago, women in Bangladesh had an average of 7 kids and expected a quarter to die; now women in Bangladesh have an average of 2 children and only 1 in 20 don’t make it to their 5th birthday.

25.) All developing nations are near the equator. 

Believing that most people living in poverty live in hot climates is probably related to the assumption that the developing world means Africa. However, poverty is also a real issue in incredibly cold climates like those found in Central Asia, where staying warm is a top concern. Bonus fun fact: there are climates in sub-Saharan Africa where it snows.

26.) If living in a developing nation can be so hard, people should just leave.

Most people living in extreme poverty don’t have the money to move somewhere else. Often enough people do leave their nations to go where there are better opportunities. However those leaving are typically those with some education and/or wealth. This ends up being another important resource leaving developing nations.

27.) Nothing ever gets better and aid doesn’t make a difference.

This myth is probably the one that is the most important to bust. Listing how many things have improved in the last 20 or so years would need a whole other list entirely. In fact, here’s one. The fact is plain: aid makes a huge difference, and has already saved millions and millions of lives, with your help, it can continue to do so.



No te atormentes demasiado: no vas a leer tus memorias.



Siempre me ha encantado la poesía de Benedetti. Desde que le descubrí en mi época universitaria, el poema “No te rindas” ha estado entre mis favoritos, así como sus novelas han ocupado durante años mi mesita de noche. Por eso cuando me encuentro algo como “No te vendas” de Jesús Terrés, no puedo dejar de compartirlo…

Cuando una pega un giro de 180 grados a su vida, viene bien que te recuerden las cosas importantes: amigos, viajes, música, amor, libros… y quitarse pesos muertos del alma… eso es fundamental.

Por eso, para que refresquéis o meditéis sobre lo que es importante y lo que no en vuestra vida, aquí os dejo el texto. Espero que lo disfrutéis tanto como yo.

“Viaja, viaja sin descanso. Viaja sola y acompañada, en familia y enamorada (no existe nada mejor) viaja con amigos y también —por qué no, con un amante, viaja en primera pero también en apestosos trenes regionales. Tienes que conocer La Mamounia y ver caer el atardecer en la terraza del Fortuny, con un Bellini en la mano (yo me encargaré de esto).Viajar es la única cura (bueno, y unos cuantos libros) que he conocido contra la estupidez.

No acumules trastos, no tengas dos armarios, no pierdas el tiempo soñando con un vestidor. Sólo son cosas, no te definen. Y quizá esta sea la lección más difícil de aprender (a mi me costó toda una vida). Las cosas sólo son cosas: no tengas miedo a deshacerte de ellas, a lo único que has de tener miedo es a no acumular calambres.

No te midas, no dejes cosas por decir, saca la mierda —ya— de la alfombra. Aún no lo ves, pero la vida es jodidamente corta, un día medirás tu vida por las cosas que no hiciste. Ojalá te salgan las cuentas.

Paga tus deudas, aprende a decir no (es lo que diferencia a un tarugo de un Rey) recuerda siempre que nadie te debe nada. Sé fiel. A tu pareja, a tus valores, a tu gente y (también) a ti misma. Esa fidelidad inquebrantable es la única vía que yo he conocido para dormir bien por las noches. Y qué placer, qué importante es dormir bien por las noches.

Lo de la sangre —por mucho que a tu padre le fascine El Padrino, es una soberana gilipollez. Tu familia es tu gente, y tu gente son los que se partirían la cara por ti, en cualquier situación. Nada vale tanto como un buen amigo. Nada.

Bebe vino, aprende a comer, cocina para otros. Tienes que probar el rodaballo de Elkano, la cocina de Ángel León y la elegancia de Quique Dacosta; las locuras de David Muñoz y la esencialidad de Josean Alija. Caerte en los baches de Cádiz y recorrer las tabernas de la Calle Laurel, patear las calles de Lo Viejo en Donosti y fondear la ría de Vigo. Michel Bras en Laguiole, De Kas en Amsterdam, las tabernas de Shibuya y las barras en el Soho. Come, siempre que puedas, frente al mar. Todo es más fácil frente al mar.

Dedica tu vida a los animales. Cada minuto perdido con ellos valdrá un millón de veces más que muchas de las personas que habitarán tus días.

Es inevitable: la música será tu vida. Escucha lo que sea que escuches —no hagas caso a los carcas, pero haz hueco para Chet Baker, Coltrane, Morricone, Dylan, Miles Davis, Mozart y los Smiths. No hagas puto caso a los infelices que te digan (lo harán, créeme) que no hay que escuchar esto o lo otro. Si te emociona, me sirve.

El cine, el cine —ya lo sabes, fue el mejor diván que pudo tener tu padre: una sala oscura, el silencio, unos títulos de crédito. Las veremos juntos, pero aquí te dejo una letanía: Rojo, Amour, La última noche, Cuentos de la luna pálida de agosto, Chihiro, El Gatopardo, Fresas Salvajes, Nelly y el sr. Arnaud, Los Puentes de Madison, Dublineses, Hannah y sus hermanas, Dersu Uzala, El Río, Tierras de Penumbra, Big Fish, todo Wilder, todo Hitchcock, todo Pixar, todo Buñuel, todo Erice, todo Kubrick. Y claro, aquella pequeña obsesión de tu viejo.

Escribe, escribe sin descanso. No esperes un tema, ni una excusa ni un trabajo: sencillamente escribe. Créeme, todo es más fácil cuando lo ves sobre el papel. Lee hasta que se te caigan los párpados, no lo dejes cuando la vida te reclame horarios (lo hacen tantos…) que leer no sea un recuerdo de tu juventud, que sea una necesidad, una sed: No hay otro camino, y nunca lo hubo.

No es lo que miras, es cómo lo miras. Aprende a mirar. Y a mirar se aprende mirando: exposiciones, calles, vidas, cafés, lienzos, amaneceres y portazos. Un pequeño truco: cuatro ojos ven más que dos.

Aprende a sobrevivir («Quien resiste, gana» en la tumba de Cela) pero que nunca sea suficiente: has de vivir.

Te van a hacer daño (es inevitable) pero te levantarás. Yo estaré ahí, ayudándote un millón de veces. No pretendo que no caigas, tan sólo que aprendas una lección —por pequeña que sea, tras cada caída. Esas lecciones serán tu tesoro.

Date entera.

Y por lo que más quieras, nunca te vendas.”

En el texto se hace referencia a un post de Magnifico margarita, “Consejos para una hija“, del que me quedo una última frase:

No te atormentes demasiado: no vas a leer tus memorias.



On 14 April, over 230 girls aged between 12 and 18 were abducted from their boarding school in Borno State, Nigeria. They should be released IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDITIONALLY.

Such violence against children at school or anywhere is unconscionable. Since June 2013, attacks on schools in Nigeria have resulted in dozens of deaths, and school closures affecting thousands of students.

ALL children have a right to learn free from violence and fear. Speak out for students in Nigeria! #BringBackOurGirls #ENDviolence


We want our girls back!

We want our girls back!


Thanks to Javier for sharing this picture on Facebook… and this terrible article (in Spanish) about how this girls are been raped till 15 times each day… if this would happen to west girls, in Europe/USA/Canada soldiers should be out in 24h to find our girls, but they are nigerians…

Real men don't buy girls

Real men don’t buy girls

How to say goodbye to Malawi?



How to say goodbye to my Maji Zuwa kids? to my friends? to the teachers helped me to growth in that difficult environment? How to say goodbye to my little kids? Ipahija, Chris, Moses, Ibrahim, Hanna, Dorika, Robert… how to say goodbye to all my black family?

I didn’t know how to do it… but I found this video, who say things I think/feel…

Malawi family, probably you’ll never see this video, and even if you see it, is in Spanish, I know… but I don’t have words to explain my feelings in english 😦

I will never forget you… I will always love you… I’ll be back, don’t know when, but as soon as possible!
With love…

First kiss, first things, first moments…


After several months living lot of first moments, I have found this beautiful beautiful video where 20 strangers kiss for the first time.

I have a life plenty of first times here. First time in a foreign language environment, first time in Malawi (Africa), first time living without a lot of things, some of theme “basic” things as meat… First time sharing terrible moments with strangers who, now, are part of my life forever. First time eating nsima, or teaching 150 kids in my nursery, first time of… first time… and I can continue for hours…

This video shows first moment feelings  in a really good way, I’m sure you will appreciate!

Now I can only imagine how my first kiss in Spain will be… “hopefully” great!! 😉

Mis amigos los animales

Menos mal que soy bióloga. Menos mal que he ido de acampada toda mi vida con los boy scouts. Menos mal que tengo algún que otro amigo que me enseñó (o al menos lo intentó) a manejarme con los animales (gracias Nacho, I love you!! y enhorabuena de nuevo por la boda!!).  Menos mal que mi madre me llevo a la selva con 12 años. Menos mal que en el cole íbamos mil veces al año a la granja escuela…

Menos mal que hice todo esto  porque gracias a ello he podido superar mi experiencia con la fauna africana. Si tú no tienes este currículo y te vas de voluntario/cooperante/viajero sin dinero a África, aquí tienes una lista de lo que te puedes encontrar en relación a la fauna que hay por aquí:

1. Insectos:

Ya escribí sobre ellos al principio, pero no está de más recordarlo: encontraras cucarachas gigantes, arañas en 2D (si si, tan planas que no ocupan una tercera dimensión) y en 3D, mosquitos de todos los tamaños (algunos son tan grandes que cuando te pican empiezas a sangrar… mucho!), hormigas asesinas que secuestran al resto de bichos en la puerta de tu casa y puedes ver, cada vez que vas a entrar, como les preparan emboscadas al resto de bichos (yo por si acaso me mantendría alejada… dan miedo), saltamontes que saltan sobre ti, y una especie de abejorros tan grandes como un puño que tienen la mala costumbre de chocarse contra ti y hacerte chichones. Y así hasta el infinito.

Consejo: leer mi post “Malawi, y ahora que?” o el de mi madre “Los bichos del lago y la madre que me pario

Por cierto, si tiene patas y se mueve, no te lo comas. Aunque estuviera en la misma bolsa no es un cacahuete… cientificamente comprobado! 😉

2. Sapos:

Raramente los veras durante el día. Si los ves, seguramente sea porque esa piedra en la que te ibas a apoyar ha pegado un salto y casi te hace caer. Pero ese no es el problema. Lo peor vendrá por la noche. Cuando te vayas a dormir y los oigas. Haciendo ruido. Mucho ruido. Tienen sus horarios, con grandes subidas de volumen alrededor de las ocho de la tarde, las doce de la noche y las cuatro de la madrugada (si, por fin creo que he descubierto por que siempre me despierto a esas horas!)

Consejo: Meditación. Tapones para los oídos. Escribir mensajes por whats app. Ver una peli en el ordenador. Poner música relajante (por dios, nada de esas músicas de fondo con olas y sonidos nocturnos, que eso ya lo tienes en casa).

3. Lagartijas, y no tan “-ijas”:

Veras lagartijas por todos lados. Del tamaño de una uña (ver foto) o de un antebrazo. Las veras paseando por las vigas de la casa, poniendo huevos en las paredes o simplemente se caerán sobre ti cuando estés cenando porque, según parece, su sistema de ventosas no es infalible!



Pero eso no es todo. También veras lagartos. Lagartos muy grandes. Lagartos que se comen las gallinas de tus vecinos. Lagartos que se meten en tu casa cuando estás leyendo (Parque Jurasico, para más inri… si, el universo gasta bromas de este estilo) se recorren tus paredes y se suben a tu mesa, a menos de medio metro de tu cara, desde donde te miran sospechosamente).

Consejo: con las primeras, acostúmbrate. Con los segundos… ten siempre a mano una escoba, y por si acaso no los toques. Muerden!

4. Pequeños mamíferos:

Encontraras perros. No los toques. Encontraras cabras. No las toques tampoco, están locas. Exacto, locas. En el momento menos pensado, cuando más cargada vayas de cosas, dos cabras se pondrán a pelear delante de tu puerta, cerrándote el camino. Muy cómodo.

También encontraras vacas.  También te cerraran el camino, pero estas no tienen que preocuparte demasiado, son más fáciles de apartar, simplemente ten cuidado de no ponerte detrás de ellas!

5. Grandes mamíferos:

Puede que vayas de safari y no veas demasiadas cosas. O puede que te vayas a celebrar la nochevieja a uno de los sitios más turísticos del país y te enteres que un león ha salido de la reserva y se está comiendo todas las cabras de alrededor del hotel.

Lion terrifies residents in Nkhata Bay

Consejo: usa los taxis. Muévete en grupo. No dejes sola a tu madre, una cosa es que la piquen un par de bichos y otra que un león la pegue un muerdo. Habla mucho de ello. Con todos los que te encuentres. Vives en un mundo sin internet ni televisión, así que este tipo de noticias que permiten conversaciones eternas son muy apreciadas!!

Esto es todo… por ahora!

Una de masters… y becas!

El otro dia os dejaba el listado de buscadores de trabajo en cooperacion internacional que espero os haya sido util.

Siguiendo en esa linea, hoy os paso la lista de “posibles puertas” a las que llamar a la hora de pedir ayudas para continuar con vuestra formacion en relacion a la cooperacion.

La lista es de la London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Si alguien conoce otras fuentes ya sabe, compartir es vivir!!

Masters (MSc) Funding and Scholarships

Scholarship Course(s) Eligibility by fee status Value Application deadline
Aga Khan Foundation Public Health for Eye Care Country specific 50% grant 50% loan 31 March 2014
CASE Funding 2014 Various UK/EU Fees + Stipend 3 March 2014
Chevening Scholarships Any Overseas Flights, fees, allowances Varies by country
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships Public Health in Developing Countries, Control of Infectious Diseases, Public Health for Eye Care Commonwealth Fees + £1,173 p/month 7 March 2014
Emerald MSc Studentship Global Mental Health Country specific Fees + £13,200 30 April 2014
ESRC PIC Masters Studentship Scheme in Population Studies MSc Demography & Health, MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research UK/EU Fees + Stipend 30 May 2014
Janssen Pharmaceutica Scholarships Global Mental Health UK/EU/Overseas Fees + £14,000 1 May 2014
NIHR MSc Studentships in Medical Statistics 2014-15 Medical Statistics UK/EU Fees + £13,000 11 April 2014 and 13 June 2014
TEG Postgraduate Training Fellowship in Medical Statistics for African Scientists Medical Statistics Country specific Fees + £14,000 + Flights 30 April 2014
UK/EU Fees Studentships 2014-15 Any UK/EU £4,000.00 towards fees 30 May 2014
Wellcome Trust Masters Award (History of Medicine) Various UK/EU Fees + Stipend 7 April 2014
  • Other Sources of Funding: a selection of useful links and resources, including other organisations and trusts known to provide funding.