Compass - My Perfect Country, The [world Service]


15My Perfect Country: Rwanda20180110

Rwanda has closed its gender gap by 80%. Is it a model other countries should follow?

Rwanda has closed its gender gap by 80% since the 1994 genocide. How has the country done it, and should others be following its lead?

Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, the 2003 Rwandan constitution states that at least 30% of all decision-making jobs in government or public organisations must be held by women. The constitution enshrines the right to equal education opportunities for girls and boys, the right to equal pay in public sector jobs, and the right for women to own and inherit land.

Since 2012 there has also been a drive to get more women into business, and women’s access to financial services such as bank accounts and credit has now more than doubled.

In the Rwandan capital Kigali, Maggie Mutesi reports on the experience and views of a range of women, including Chief Gender Monitor Rose Rwabuhihi and Rwanda’s first woman taxi driver Amina Umuhooza.

With the help of Dr Keetie Roelen, co director of the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Rwanda’s gender policy and whether it should be added to the My Perfect Country policy portfolio.

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London are scouring the globe for more policies that actually work, and using only the functioning bits of our planet they’re attempting to build a perfect country.

Photo: Supporters of the governing Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) walk to a campaign rally in Kigali, on in July 2017. Credit: Marco Longari /AFP/Getty Images

16My Perfect Country: Cuba20180117

Does Cuba hold the best policy for surviving hurricanes?

After 2017 brought a string of hyper-active and destructive hurricanes in the so-called Atlantic Hurricane Season, it is said that Cuba is a world leader in both hurricane preparedness and recovery, as it has one of the lowest fatality rates.

It has been a cornerstone of their government for decades – at the heart of the model is the promotion of local level decision-making that relies on co-ordinated early warning systems, high-quality weather forecasting and community preparedness. Most notably, when disaster hits, every Cuban at every level of society has a role to play. Children are educated from a very young age of what to do in the event of a hurricane and there is an annual nationwide training to ensure plans are kept up to date. As the country also gives a particular focus to vulnerable members of society, other Caribbean countries are starting to take notice of Cuba’s policy – and this model could be implemented globally.

However, Cuba’s achievements may be under threat as Hurricane Irma in 2017 took Cuba by surprise and shook the foundation of its policy. Efforts to rebuild and bring the country back to order are still taking place – with some critics doubting Cuba’s priorities.

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore ask whether Cuba’s lack of action in the aftermath prevents this policy getting their stamp of approval.

(Photo: Cubans flags are hung from balconies to dry during the cleanup after Hurricane Irma in Havana, 2017. Credit: Yamil Lage/AFP)

17My Perfect Country: Germany20180124

Is the way Germany has handled refugee integration a model other countries could follow?

Is the way Germany has handled refugee integration a model other countries could follow? In September 2015 the German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to take in one million mainly Syrian refugees, and over the past three years more refugees have arrived in Germany than anywhere else in the European Union.

But Germany did not just open its doors to those seeking refuge, it recognised that integrating them into society was crucial. The foundation of this is free but compulsory state-run German language and civic orientation courses for qualifying refugees, as well as help finding employment. There are also thousands of volunteer-led and non-governmental refugee projects across the country.

But not everyone in Germany is happy with this approach to newly arrived refugees, and despite a tightening of refugee policy the fallout has resulted in political instability in the country. With the help of professor Christian Dustmann, director of the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of Germany’s refugee integration policy and whether it should be added to the policy portfolio that would build an imaginary perfect country made up of all the world's best policies and schemes.

(Photo: Refugees from Syria hold up signs, one reads: 'We love you. We want to stoday, work and live.' Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

18My Perfect Country: Norway20180131

How has Norway managed to have the lowest rate of prisoners reoffending in Europe?

How has Norway managed to have the lowest rate of prisoners reoffending in Europe, and one of the lowest in the world? Their policy revolves around the fact that the justice system see taking their citizen’s freedom away as punishment enough, and prisoners are expected to carry on a life as similar to normal society as possible. As a result, high-quality education is given to inmates – as well as opportunities to work, to receive mental health support, and remain self-sufficient by cooking their own meals. This support is further strengthened by the prison guards who are some of the most highly-trained in the world and who are encouraged to spend time with inmates. The Norway government also brought in top architects and asked them to redesign prisons from scratch – focusing on decreasing any tension or conflict between inmates. Upon release, inmates are given significant help to reintegrate back into society – as help is provided for them to find both housing and employment.

However, the policy is not without criticism as some detractors view Norway’s prisons as too luxurious, and questions are also raised over why Norway needed to rent space in Dutch prisons in 2015.

(Photo: The interior of a cell at the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen, The Netherlands. Credit: Catrinus van der Veen/AFP)

19My Perfect Country: Nepal20180207

How has Nepal dramatically reduced maternal death – and can their policy be replicated?

Nepal has managed a record achievement for its maternal mortality rates. Between 1991 and 2011, it has seen an 80% decline in the number of women dying in pregnancy, during labour and after childbirth - meaning it is one of the few countries on track to achieve the fifth Millennial Development Goal. The foundation of their achievement comes from an outstanding women’s volunteer programme known as the Female Community Health Volunteers. Currently over 50, 000 women volunteer to distribute life-saving advice and tools to mothers across the country. They administer vaccinations, contraceptives and ensure women understand the importance of self-care in pregnancy. Moreover, Nepal’s government have created a financial incentive programme to ensure women stop giving birth at home, and instead under the guidance and supervision of health professionals in local hospitals.

However, these achievements may be undermined by entrenched problems that lie deep in Nepal’s health and social welfare. Alongside, superstitions and dangerous social customs that have been passed down the generations – Nepal’s alarming rate of child marriages may stop the panel from selecting this policy for their perfect country.

(Photo: A Nepalese resident carries a child through a relief camp for earthquake survivors in Kathmandu. Credit: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

20My Perfect Country: Canada20180214

Is Canada’s catch share model for sustainable fishing a contender for an imagined utopia?

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore from the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London are building an imagined utopia made up of the best solutions to the world’s problems. They look at a sustainable fishing scheme in British Columbia in Canada called catch share, a quota system based on dedicating a secure share of fish to individual fishermen, co-operatives or fishing communities.

It means fishermen have the ability to catch a certain amount of fish each year and are responsible for not exceeding that amount, promoting stewardship of the seas.

Just outside Vancouver, local reporter Madeline Taylor goes to meet the fishermen who spearheaded the scheme at the British Columbia groundfish fishery, which has evolved over the last 40 years from an open access, high discard fishery to a full retention, fully monitored fishery that accounts for all catch whether retained or released.

Could it work elsewhere? With the help of Erin Priddle from the Environmental Defense Fund, the team discuss the achievements and shortcomings of this model for sustainable commercial fishing and whether it should be adopted as a policy for an imagined perfect country.

(Photo: A commercial fishing boat on British Columbia's West Coast. Credit: Getty Images)

21My Perfect Country: Which Policies Will Work?20180221

From closing the gender gap to sustainable fishing, which policy will be adopted?

Fi Glover, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore are on the hunt for solutions to the world’s problems. Their aim is to create the perfect country made up of the best global policies that actually work. In this episode, the panel hear the voices, opinions and criticisms of the World Service audience. Together, they debate how the perfect country is shaping up.

The policies include: Rwanda reducing the gender pay gap, Cuba’s disaster preparedness, Germany’s refugee integration, Norway’s prison system, Nepal’s maternal healthcare, and Canada’s sustainable fishing programme. Listeners who have first-hand experience of these policies give their own personal reflection of living through them – and direct feedback to the verdicts from the My Perfect Country panel. Members of the audience from vastly different nations give their views of whether the policies could work where they are. And, in cases where they might not – listeners offer alternative suggestions for the countries they would look to instead.