PERREAULT Magazine SEPT | OCT 2016 - Page 17

Perreault Magazine - 17 -

As many parts of the world see record summer temperatures this year, one of the negative fallouts has been water related problems.

Water problems in turn set off a long train of other challenges, many of which are particularly invidious for women.

One tragic kind of water problem that has acquired some publicity in recent years is that connected with what are called “farmer suicides.” This term refers to the suicides by large numbers of small landowners in parts of Western and Central India who have been driven to kill themselves because delayed or absent monsoons have destroyed their only means of livelihood – crops for sale. Their situation has been exacerbated because a failed crop means not only the absence of an income to survive on; it also means an inability to pay back the loans for fertilizer, pesticides, and other agricultural inputs that have preceded the poor harvest.

It’s not uncommon to hear governments, the United Nations and NGOs talk about the need to “empower the youth” and put them at the centre of development thinking, but how much power over decision making in these bodies do young activists really have?

To some, it will still feel like much of the talk about engaging young people is tokenistic, rather than a real strategy for achieving strong development outcomes in challenging places.