Argentina is one of the largest economies in South America. In recent years, the government has focused in promoting economic development along with social inclusion with the support of the World Bank.
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In this World Cup, we have seen kicking, elbowing, head butts and even a bite. Neither have all celebrations of victories been peaceful: the first triumph of Colombia left people dead and injured in B... Show More +ogota; and in Chile, celebrations ended with people setting fire to buses and clashing with the police.The sport is also associated with barras bravas in some Latin American countries and their counterparts in Europe – hooligans--, and with the so-called “soccer war in Central America” (1970) and even with a rise in cases of domestic violence in England, according to a recent study.Paradoxically, the same sport that triggers this violence both on and off the field can also be a tool for achieving the opposite: that people or societies at risk of violence can learn to live in peace.“It is a sport that brings people together, that generates passions, that attracts, that is collective, that requires interaction, for which reason it has great advantages for use as a tool for instilling in children and young people skills that enable them to peacefully resolve conflicts,” says Martha Laverde, an education expert at the World Bank.Thus, the conclusion seems clear: if you live in a community where there are high rates of violence and delinquency, the best thing to do is not to call the police but to build a soccer field.However, Laverde warns that the reality is not so simple. “It is not the game for the game itself, there has to be intent and this is what leads so many organizations in the world to use soccer as a means for developing a culture of peace.”Soccer without violenceIt is precisely this intent that has been successfully put into practice in different parts of Latin America, where thousands of young people in areas affected by crime or armed conflicts have opted to shoot balls instead of bullets.In Zacatecoluca, one of the most crime-ridden municipalities of El Salvador, the soccer team was strengthened and a new field was built, which has become a place where local children can learn the values of sports and respect.“Previously, this neighborhood was one of the most dangerous, but thanks to the work with young people, we have managed to reduce delinquency by nearly 90%,” says Carlos Gómez Villegas, coordinator of the soccer school in La Esperanza in Zacatecoluca.In Colombia, for example, -where the armed conflict has left more than 200,000 dead in 60 years--, the Soccer with a Heart initiative helps over 2,000 children from poor communities or those at risk of violence to have access to new opportunities and to develop skills that enable them to confront adversity and co-exist in peace.Catholic Priest Alberto Gauci went even further. He built a stadium for 20,000 spectators in Juticalpa, a Honduras community of just 120,000 inhabitants, which is affected by drug-trafficking and gang violence.Martha Laverde explains that the roles players assume on the field are the same ones that young people encounter in their families, schools and communities (the leader, the strategist, the defender, the offender, the one who seeks only results, the one who seeks only to impede).“All of these roles in the game require each person to have at least two very important skills: empathy and control over emotions,” says Laverde.If children and young people can master these two skills of social interaction (empathy and control over emotions) through soccer, “they will undoubtedly have tools that will protect them from acting violently.”All of these values are necessary in Latin America, which is officially rated as the most violent region in the world, with 30 percent of all homicides despite having just 9 percent of the world’s population. Show Less -
This article most likely arrived to you by recommendation of Facebook and/or Twitter, which makes you part of the growing legion of global users —250 million of them Latin America— who use the web and... Show More + social networks to keep informed.Latin America is experiencing a true digital transformation that is radically changing the way in which users receive information. It is forcing governments to adapt media legislation to the new times.In discussions of this phenomenon, the most pressing question is: Is there more or less freedom of expression in the region as a result of the digital revolution and the new media legislation?That question was at the center of the debate of a group of experts who met last Thursday and Friday in Washington, convened by the World Bank, Inter-American Dialogue, National Public Radio and the Carter Center. The Freedom of the Press and Digital Transformation in Latin America forum expanded beyond the confines of the auditoriums through social networks with the hashtag #mediosdigitales. “Freedom of expression is one of the liberties that society needs to be completely free,” wrote Tony Mora from the Dominican Republic on Facebook, a view that resonates with thousands of users of social networks.On Twitter, Eliana Barrios asked if freedom of expression should be regulated, “or is it the same thing as censuring?”Regulation versus freedom of expression?While the word “regulation” triggers adverse reactions in many people, experts agree that, like in the rest of consolidated democracies in the world, the countries of the region need media laws not to limit freedom of expression, but rather to promote it. “Well-defined, open and respectful legislation is an essential tool for guaranteeing the right to full freedom of expression and of information to all citizens and media,” said Sergio Jellinek, World Bank External Affairs Manager for Latin America. He added that the pending task in the region is to achieve media plurality in the context of digitalization.Media law should not be viewed as a mechanism to silence and censure the press and independent journalists, according to Gustavo Gómez Germano, author of the book La regulación de medios y de televisión digital en América Latina. But that legislation must respect the rights of the individual. “Our region needs to review and reformulate legislation on communications media to uphold recommendations of international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and to remove obstacles to the full exercise of these freedoms, for example by repealing ‘contempt’ laws and de-penalizing defamation in cases of public interest,” said Gómez, who directs the Latin American Observatory on Regulation, Media and Convergence. The expert stressed that media regulation should not affect media content, which “should remain in the hands of journalists.”Silvio Waisbord, director of graduate studies at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, agrees with him. Waisbord believes that traditionally, there was a negative perception of the role of the state in guaranteeing freedom of expression because it functioned as a “huge piñata of resources.”The dictatorship of the clickOn Friday, the media forum moved from the World Bank to National Public Radio (NPR), the U.S. venerable public radio station. On that forum, participants suggested that the digital revolution has turned the traditional press upside down and that there is still no clear business model to guarantee the survival of media outlets. Even so, it is important for digital platforms to adapt to audiences, said NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos.Pluralism in Latin American media systems was also discussed on the forum.“Regulation has not improved citizen inclusion,” said Omar Rincón, director of the Journalism Institute of Colombia’s Universidad de los Andes.For other experts, the real dictatorship “is that of the click,” in other words, the act users perform to open a web page.“The click takes place in a context of competition where rigor and ethics as well as depth take a back seat,” said Daniel Moreno, director of the Mexican news site Animal Político. He believes that this pressure causes more harm than good in terms of informing the public.In this sense, Óscar Martínez of El Faro, a pioneering digital newspaper based in El Salvador, claimed that some online media have managed to “depoliticize” coverage of the national situation, which has surprised readers given that they have traditionally identified a medium with an ideological tendency. “We stopped resembling political parties at some point and began to seem like people governed by ethical and professional standards,” he said. Show Less -
ChallengeDespite Argentina's recovery after the 2001 economic crisis and the strong progress in the health sector, the country still faced many public health challenges in 2006. Health outcomes were l... Show More +agging behind comparable countries in the region, and there were significant inequalities among the provinces. Simultaneously, the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases such as HIV, TB and other preventable vector-borne diseases posed a major challenge for the control of epidemics. This health crisis exposed and intensified existing public health system inefficiencies and highlighted the need to improve the stewardship of the National Ministry of Health (MSN) and the provincial health ministries.SolutionRecognizing the strategic importance of improving public health functions, such as disease surveillance, health promotion, disease prevention, and program monitoring to reduce the burden of disease, the first Argentina Essential Public Health Functions and Programs Project (FESP I) supported the implementation of the Government’s health sector strategy. The project’s main goals were to increase coverage of ten priority programs, reduce the population’s exposure to the main health risk factors, and to improve national public health system management.The project introduced and expanded several disease surveillance and program monitoring systems to improve efficiency. The Integrated Health Information System of Argentina (SIISA), a database that consolidates health sector resources information, including health facilities and human resources, was created through the consolidation of existing information systems.Upon common agreement on public health results and targets, the project included output-based disbursements from the national Ministry of Health (MSN) to the provinces. Disbursements were linked to the delivery of 63 public health activities. The output-based disbursement mechanism proved to be an innovative solution to implement public health programs. Unifying norms and quality standards reduced inequalities between provinces, and health system managers benefited from greater access to management tools and training. The supervision mechanism implemented to generate health data was also an important information source for policy makers.ResultsArgentina’s public health sector made great progress towards improving health indicators between 2006 and 2012:Tobacco smoking prevalence declined from 33% to 30%, and second-hand smoke exposure fell from 52% to 40.4%.The partnership between the Bank and the Government was instrumental in reversing the dengue outbreak of 2009.No cases of congenital rubella were reported during the life of the project.No cases of autochthonous measles were reported during the life of the project.In 2010, there was a 96 percent reduction in dengue cases from its peak during the 2009 outbreak, with no deaths reported. The number of cases continued to decline in subsequent years.Transfusion-transmitted infections declined from 10.5 percent to 6.5 percent between 2006 and 2011, a clear expression of reduced risk related to a significant increase in voluntary blood donations, from 6 percent to 30 percent in the same period.The number of TB patients receiving directly observed therapy increased from 58% to 95%. Directly observed therapy means that a trained health care worker or other designated individual provides the prescribed TB drugs and watches the patient swallow every dose.The project held 32 situation rooms nationwide for Health Surveillance and Vector-Borne Disease Control.The project provided for the certification of 20 out of 24 provinces for essential public health functions and programs.The project’s emergency response component was crucial in responding to dengue and Influenza A/H1N1 emergencies.In addition, several of the management tools introduced by the project have made a lasting impact in increasing governance and stewardship in the health sector.Bank Group ContributionThe Bank supported the project with a loan of US$220 million, in addition to strong technical support to the public health programs and close engagement on the ground. The Bank also contributed significantly to advancing the health intelligence agenda through the introduction of national risk factors surveys, burden of disease studies, and by strengthening the Integrated Health Information System of Argentina (SIISA). Most of the Bank team consisted of country-based staff members, who were constantly engaged with the Government team.PartnersCooperation from the Pan American Health Organization Project strengthened implementation and improved epidemiological surveillance and deliver training on essential public health functions. A distinguishing feature of the project was its implementation in the context of a federal system, thus requiring partnerships and annual negotiations between the 24 provincial governments and the national government. The World Bank remained involved on the ground throughout the implementation.Moving ForwardThe follow-up FESP II Project was approved in 2011 and is currently under implementation. This project works to further develop public health functions and continues the FESP I project’s support of the stewardship role of the national and provincial public health systems, and the increased coverage, quality, and effectiveness of priority health programs, including prevention of non-communicable diseases and high cost and low incidence health care services.BeneficiariesThis project benefits the Argentine population as a whole. While the Project does not specifically target the poor, the Project invests in health-related public goods, which have externalities that bring benefits to those not benefiting directly (e.g., immunizing all sectors of the population benefits the poor even if 100 percent are not immunized). Show Less -