The best way to view this video is in full screen. To do this, click on the square in the bottom right corner of the screen above.
- Video credit: Data from the UN Development Programme Data Public Explorer tool
- Photo credits: Oxfam Italia and donkeycart from Flickr via Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
There’s a powerful story to be told about the conflict over land between the Malian government backed by powerful agro business interests and small rice farmers. At the core of this struggle is a common theme, it’s what should be prioritised, development for the many or the rights of the few? The agro businesses flocking to
To explore and debate this theme through the UN Development Programme’s Explorer tool we need a data variable that can represent food insecurity and another to represent land rights. Looking at the data variables on the UN DP site there is no data for food insecurity and land rights, so we’ll have to use a proxy variable. A proxy is a data variable that can stand in for the data we want that’s a close match. Let’s start by selecting under-5 mortality rate to stand in for food insecurity, because lack of food hits the young hard. If there is food insecurity it’s often the young who are the first to succumb. I’ve chosen the percentage of the population that are urbanised as the proxy for land rights, because where land rights are insecure farmers and their families often move to the cities to find alternative livelihoods.
Now let’s run the animation which allows us to track the changes for all countries from 1980 to 2009. The first thing to notice when watching the animation is that the points move right and downwards. This means that between 1980 and 2009 under-5 mortality rates fell, the downward shift, and the percentage of population urbanised increased, the rightward shift. The second thing to notice is that in 1980 when the animation starts the countries were more spread along a rough line from the top of the Y axis to the end of the X axis. This means there were greater differences among the countries for under-5 mortality rate and percentage of population urbanised as the points were not tightly clustered. At the end of the animation in 2009 most of the countries are clustered towards the bottom suggesting they’ve successfully reduced their under-5 mortality rate to a level they can’t easily bring down further, but there is still great variance in how urbanised their populations are.
The relationship between under-5 mortality rate and percentage of the population urbanised is stronger now, because the points are tighter together. But we can’t say that a drop in the under-5 mortality rate causes greater urbanisation or that greater urbanisation causes the under-5 mortality rate to fall. It could be down to chance. We don’t have enough evidence based on the two indicators plotted in the diagram to establish a cause and effect relationship. What we can say is that there is a relationship between the two variables. Let’s drill down now to look at
We see that
Finding a way to look more closely at rights in
While our data story hasn’t provided a definitive answer it’s demonstrated that
What do you think about the insights revealed by these stats? Visit the OpenLearn site to share your views and see credits and links for all sources used in this video.
- See other videos via our main Why Poverty? page
- What do you think about the subjects discussed in this film? Use our Comments facility below to share your views