Two point development index

A few weekends ago my friend Sam, who works with Save the Children, was talking about his experience of working in Yemen.  Sounded like a bit of a nightmare (‘kat’ or ‘chat’ a particular problem) and he said that it really didn’t help that many Yemenis have a perception that they are in a developed country (brought on, he thinks, by the proliferation of smart-phones and other superficial baubles of modernity).  Because of this, they’re not too fussed about changing how they’re living.  In response, he suggested the following two-point development index:

1. What do you eat?

2. Where do you sh*t?

If the answer to the former is ‘nothing but [insert low-nutrient carb]’ and the latter is ‘in a field’, then you’re not living in a developed country.  In fact, when I mentioned this to some Nigerian colleagues they thought that question 2 might be sufficient.

My tongue is only lightly in my cheek in saying this.  In India more than 50% of people defecate in fields, and yet India parades itself as an emerging nation – not developed, but taken seriously on the world stage.  Of course, India also fails on a number of other metrics, but open-defecation is unequivocally bad for people and pretty easily solved.  All nations, and maybe all concerned westerners, should strive to meet my friend Sam’s two point index.  It’s a good place to start.

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