Restaurants could make £7 for every £1 invested in cutting waste, report reveals

Global study sets out how industry could make waste reduction pay, using data taken from across 12 countriesRestaurants can make a profit of £7 for every £1 they invest in cutting food waste, a global report reveals today, in findings that are hailed a…

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The barefoot engineers of Malawi – in pictures

Eight women from rural Malawi travelled to India to train as solar engineers. Now they are lighting the way for their communities, in a country where just 10% of households are powered by electricityPhotographs by Peter Caton/VSO Continue reading…

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World’s top fishing nations to be given millions to protect oceans

Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch major grant for coastal communities to improve the health of oceansMillions of pounds’ worth of funding to tackle global overfishing and protect coral reefs will be announced at a major conference in Indonesia this we…

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Zakat requires Muslims to donate 2.5% of their wealth: could this end poverty?

Estimated at almost $2tn in 2015, Islamic finance is often overlooked by development organisations as a potential source of funds

Usman, a fisherman in North Sumatra, used to have a rickety fishing boat that could only take him as far as the mouth of the river, just before it meets the sea. He could not catch enough to feed his family of five but last month, he was able to buy a new boat with the help of Islamic donations. Now he can sail further into the sea, he catches more fish and his income can pay for school fees and even some pocket money for his children. This is just one of countless examples of how zakat can improve livelihoods and reduce poverty worldwide.

For Muslims around the world, the month of Ramadan is a time of deep reflection, sacrifice and joyous family gatherings. It’s also a time when Muslims make donations known as zakat; the giver is believed to be purified through the act of transferring wealth to the poor. Zakat is also a powerful source of good with untapped potential for contributing to sustainable development in communities, such as the small fishing village in East Nusa Tenggara.

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Acceso al agua rural: Paraguay un ejemplo para los demás países

Si más del 94% de la población de Paraguay tiene acceso al agua potable, las demás naciones de Latinoamérica deberían aprender de este país

En la pequeña comunidad de Juan Augusto Saldívar, más o menos a una hora fuera de la capital de Paraguay, Julián Marecos es presidente de la junta de agua local. Junto con otros cuatro, participa como voluntario para supervisar el servicio de agua de la comunidad, que fue fundado en 1993 y abastece a más de 3,800 usuarios, incluyendo la escuela, centro de salud, iglesia, y otras personas en las áreas colindantes.

Related: Brown and barren land: Bolivia’s historic drought – in pictures

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Rural water access: why should countries follow Paraguay’s lead?

With more than 94% of the rural population accessing safe water, nations across Latin America and beyond can learn from Paraguay’s phenomenal success

In the small community of Juan Augusto Saldívar, about an hour outside of Paraguay’s capital, Julian Marecos is president of the local water board. He volunteers with four others to supervise the community’s water service, which was founded in 1993 and supplies more than 3,800 users, including the school, health centre, church, and other people in neighbouring areas.

Related: How can Peru prepare to withstand more devastating floods and landslides?

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How to stop the global inequality machine | Jason Hickel

If capitalism is going to be globalised, it makes sense to globalise the rules and standards that protect people as well

Related: Basic income isn’t just a nice idea. It’s a birthright | Jason Hickel

When the UN unveiled the new sustainable development goals two years ago, it was the one on inequality that captured everyone’s attention. Goal 10 – “reduce income inequality within and among countries” – was let in at the 11th hour after a long fight by civil society groups in the face of fierce resistance.

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‘International development’ is a loaded term. It’s time for a rethink | Jennifer Lentfer

Our organisation was formed 30 years ago to share ideas on making the poor richer. Now a new mindset has led the organisation to change its name

People would always give me a quizzical look. “And what is that, exactly?” they would ask, if brave enough to reveal their naiveté about what was to become the next decades of my life.

“Well, it’s the study of how to help poor countries become richer,” I would explain of my choice to study international development.

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Access to drinking water around the world – in five infographics

Billions of people have gained access to clean and safe drinking water since 1990, but data show that huge inequalities remain

How many people have access to clean and safe water? Where do they get it from, and how much do they pay for it? A new report by the World Health Organisation/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme delves into data on drinking water from the last 17 years to give a detailed view of the state of access to drinking water today.

It also examines how the current situation matches up to the vision for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water – set out by the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It considers gaps in the data and what we still need to know to achieve universal access.

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Off-grid solar to help Myanmar bring electricity to all by 2030

In a country where only 16% of rural homes have power a government-led scheme is bringing electricity to thousands of villages

Four feet in length, of aggressive disposition, and deadly poisonous: you don’t want to stand on a Russell’s viper in the dark. Especially if there’s no antivenom for miles around. Yet that’s the daily predicament facing millions of villagers in Myanmar, where snakebites cause about 500 deaths every year.

In Yin Ma Chaung, a rural settlement about nine hours by car from Yangon, villagers can rest easier knowing there are doses of antivenom chilling securely in a new refrigerator in the village’s community centre, powered by solar.

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