» Archive for: August, 2013



Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti presents a fascinating project depicting children and their toys the world over.

The project is entitled ‘Toy Stories’ and can be viewed HERE. The pictures are really from all over the world, including Zambia, Indonesia, Italy, the USA, Costa Rica, Lebanon and many other places. All pictures are linked to a useful ‘info’ blurb with some brief background information about the child in question, his/her family and the toys depicted.

Children & Money

Category: Uncategorized

22 Aug 2013

downloadNIBUD reports on a study about money among Dutch primary school children and finds, to its ‘surprise’, that nearly half the children in the age 5 cohort receive pocket money.

NIBUD, the Dutch National Institute for Family Finance Information, just (August 2013) released a report entitled Nibud Kinderonderzoek: Onderzoek naar basisschool leerlingen en hun geldzaken (Nibud Children’s Study: Study of primary school students and their financial affairs). The title is somewhat misleading; no children’s were interviewed for the research. The findings are based on interviews with parents about financial affairs concerning their children aged 5-12 years (n=1622).

The report covers various dimenions, including ‘pocket money’, ‘other sources of income’, ‘children’s banking practices’, ‘spending behaviour’, ‘saving’, ‘children’s awareness of the value of money’, and ‘dealing with money’. Yet, the Dutch press picked on one particular finding: 45% of the surveyed children in the 5 years cohort receive pocket money. In a context in which the giving of ‘pocket money’ to children is generally seen as ‘good’, this particular finding is seen as ‘surprising’ and perhaps even worrisome. In fact, Nibud which is a strong advocate of giving children pocket money on a structural and regular basis notes in its press release that it is ‘surprised’ by this finding as it advises parents to start giving children pocket money only when they are ‘around six years of age’, because by that time they will also have learnt about money and counting in school.

The Table below presents the report’s findings about children’s pocket money. It shows that receiving pocket money is a majority experience for children in the Netherlands and that this is often given on a structural and regular basis. Interestingly, the share of those receiving pocket money on an incidental basis is highest in both the youngest (5 years) and older (9 and above) cohorts. Also, this table illustrates that, perhaps, the Dutch public is in for more surprises. Parents were not asked about children aged 4 or younger so whether the very young also receive pocket money remains an open question.

Lastly, this report is the first time Nibud presents a study on children and money covering the full (Dutch) primary school age-range (5-12 years). Interestingly, despite its claim that its activities are solely funded by the Dutch government (30%) and through income generated through Nibud products and services (70%), this particularly study is financed by the bank ING (p14).



posted by Roy Huijsmans


imagesICTs have long been in the toolkit of development organisations, yet ‘development through texting’ appears a rather new practice.

As part of its ‘Youth Empowerment through Mobile Learning Project’, UNESCO Thailand, in collaboration with the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education of the Thai Ministry of Education, has been bombarding ‘more than 1600 young Thais’ with daily text messages sent out through Facebook and by telephone SMS (see HERE).

The text messages contain quotes from famous scientist, business people and movie stars, including the likes of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. This is one such example, that would have popped up (in Thai script!) on the screens of the young Thais participating in the project:

“The only wrong thing would be to deny what your heart truly feels,” from the film “The Mask of Zorro”. 

With these texts, UNESCO aims to stimulate the development of mental skills, cognitive skills and technical skills among Thai youth’s. Mass-texting may thus well be regarded a development project.

As with most development projects, whether these goals are achieved is perhaps the least interesting of questions. What I would find more interesting is learning by whom and how these quotes are selected. There is a documented history (e.g. by Thongchai) on Thailand’s appropriation of certain western practices and knowledges in the name of ‘civilization’, and the examples provided by UNESCO suggest indeed that the quotes used in this texting programme are from famous people from the west exclusively. Despite this possible historical continuity, the absence of any quotes from the Thai king, from Buddhist monks, or former prime-minister Thaksin for that matter, would still raise really interesting questions. Also, what sense do young Thais make of such daily ‘feeds’ and how do they interpret such ‘development texts’ in relation to the many other ‘electronic updates’ they no doubt receive. There is also a question of political economy. Assuming that subscription to this UNESCO SMS service is free on the receiving end, the service still has a price which UNESCO might subsidise and/or has an agreement about with one or more of the companies providing mobile telephony services in Thailand.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


downloadWhilst some may still be recovering from the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9th August) or preparing for the UN World Humanitarian Day (19th August), there is the UN International Youth Day today (12th August).

‘International Youth Day’ has been on the UN agenda since 2000, following the adoption of resolution 54/120 by the General Assembly in 1999. With more than a decade of such days behind us, it’s worthwhile looking back and see how its focus has shifted over time.

The first International Youth Day in 2000 did not have an overarching slogan, yet the following phrase featured centrally on its webpage: ‘Youth is the future of mankind…’. The same holds for the International Youth Day of 2001, however in his message Kofi Annan stressed the important of paying attention to ‘health’ and ‘unemployment’. In the years that followed ‘conceptual slogans‘ were introduced with the idea of communicating ‘the scope direction, and objectives of the year’s youth initiatives and also [to] provide[s] a unifying banner from under which individuals can draw the inspiration to take action’. These are the slogans used:

2002:  ‘Now and for the Future: Youth Action for Sustainable Development’

2003: ‘Finding decent and productive work for young people everywhere’

2004: ‘Youth in an intergenerational society’

2005: ‘WPAY+10 and making commitments matter’ (WPAY=World Programme of Action for Youth)

2006: ‘Tackling poverty together: Young people and the eradication of poverty’

2007: ‘Be seen, be heard: Youth participation for development’

2008: ‘Youth and climate change: Time for action’

2009: ‘Sustainability: Our challenge. Our future’

2010: ‘Dialogue and mutual understanding’

2011: ‘Change our world’

2012: ‘Building a better world: Partnering with youth’

2013: ‘Youth migration: Moving development forward’

What appears to set this year’s slogan apart from others is a recognition of one of the ways in which young people actually do contribute to development (migration), instead of how they ought to contribute (e.g. ‘dialogue’, ‘partnering with adults’, ‘eradicating poverty’, etc), or youth as a problem (‘unemployment’, ‘health’, etc). The ‘2013 World Youth Report’ on Youth Migration and Development that is currently being prepared may thus be something to look out for.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.