Looking ahead to 2012: Three Trends to Watch

Happy New Year!

As I was getting back into the swing of things this week (after a wonderful holiday break with family), I noticed the many 2012 predictions coming out across the blogosphere. From Which [Tech] Startups Will Rule 2012 to The WSJ’s Three Outlooks on 2012, it seems everyone is trying to predict what the coming year might bring.

The blog that most captured my attention, however, was from the Council on Foreign Relations. Since it relates directly to the work of LWR, I was interested when they began with:

The Council on Foreign Relations looks at three emerging trends in International Development

As the world adjusts to seven billion people, and begins its creep toward eight billion, doing more with less will become increasingly important.  Continuing economic stagnation and budgetary concerns… will also put stress on existing commitments of foreign assistance and hamper new initiatives. Greater efficiency and effectiveness in development is paramount.

All three of the trends they discuss are highly valued pieces of LWR’s work. Our work in agricultural development is one of our biggest priorities. We see small farmers as central to the health and productivity of developing nations. Helping farmers increase the productivity of their crops and helping them increase the income they receive at the market is central to the mission of LWR.

We also work tirelessly to help women and minorities have a voice in their own communities, the third trend discussed. Last spring I talked with a group of women in India about how important it was for them to learn how to simply read and write their own names, allowing them to conduct official business and claim their own identities. Giving people access to knowledge and services is a powerful way to enable them to change their own lives.

Finally, while mobile phone technology is not a major piece of our work, one of our core values is Innovation. “We seek relentlessly to learn, adapt, and grow.” When a tropical storm recently hit the Philippines, causing massive flooding in Cagayan de Oro, we were better equipped to respond because our staff was innovative, utilizing Facebook to post nearly immediate photos and stories. Not all technology is helpful, but LWR is constantly evaluating how we can best use available media and technology to make our work even better.

As we look ahead to 2012, these three trends will continue to be highly important to our work, and will help each person, every community and all generations live in justice, dignity and peace.

Top Image: New Year’s Eve Centennial Ball, by JvL, on Flickr