Monday, November 09, 2009

Statistically speaking…

I am back from the village! It will be a few days until I get the time to grab my pictures and write something about that amazing week, but I thought I would send you a few statistics. I hadn’t had the time to look them up recently, but my team-mate Lisa nicely summarized them a few weeks ago, so thanks for the research on the numbers Lisa!


A few weeks ago the United Nations released the 2009 human development report. Canada ranks #4, meaning it is the fourth best country in the world in which to live (of 182 countries listed). Niger ranks in last place at #182.  For interest sake for my American readers, the USA ranked #13.

So how exactly do they come up with these numbers? Well let me tell you! The HDI combines normalized measures of life expectancy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita for countries worldwide. It is claimed as a standard means of measuring human development—a concept that, according to the United Nations Development Program, refers to the process of widening the options of persons, giving them greater opportunities for education, health care, income, employment, etc.
The HDI combines three dimensions:...

* Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity
* Knowledge and education, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weighting) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (with one-third weighting).
* Standard of living, as measured by the natural logarithm of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.

And if all of that  sounds a little bit like gibberish to you- here are some cold hard figures:

Gross domestic product per capita: Canada - $35,812; Niger - $627

Adult literacy: Canada - 99%; Niger - 28.7%

Government expenditures on health per capita: Canada - $2,585; Niger - $14

Percentage of population living on less than $2/day: Canada - 0%; Niger - 85.6%

Life expectancy at birth: Canada - 80.6 years; Niger 50.6 years

So that is why the HDI is so low for Niger and it is true based on how it is ranked for their development. But for those of us who love Niger, we know it is more than just numbers and stats, it is awesome people and great work and all the sand you could ever want. And for that we are NUMBER ONE :) WOOHOO!


Statistically  speaking, the future isn't too bright for these little boys in the picture. That's why we're doing development work along with telling the story of salvation, because "faith without deeds is useless" (James 2:20).



JoAnne said...

Glad you are there doing what you can!

Anonymous said...

Hi! It's Cousin Michelle. I've just read your recent blogs. I'm sure I would've lost my patience with Y by now - so good for you to see past his annoying behaviour to the children who want to learn. I was also really happy to read Halid will be okay. You are making a difference. I note Niger is 115 on the Transparency Index out of 180. I'm sure corruption is a challenge/problem, but at least Niger doesn't rank last in that department! I hope the greediness of officials doesn't hamper your humanitarian progress too much.