1 April 2020

Can we, women of this country, have some space to grow food and offer food security to our family?

Illustration by Aishath Rishtha
Translation: “When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money” 

The article was published in Maldives Economic Review in its March 2020 Issue 3. To read the full article click link at end 

2014: Think about it? In 2014, I started writing a book using census and all available economic data on every atoll including data on how many uninhabited islands each atoll has. I thought that showing demographic, geographic and economic data will make people realize we need to do something about abandoning such rich resources for a congested living in Male’…. I shared the first draft with friends and mother thinking everyone will be very pleased. They weren’t happy. Major problem seemed to be - “just throwing data on people is not enough… we need to talk about some solutions. Take food security for one…..”

Outline of the article

2014: Think about it?
2016: Write about it?
2017-2020: Talk about it?
2020: Early March
2020: Late March
What should we do now?
Medium term
Long term
For Parliament
Some direct requests from women I met (basic manners of transaction initiation)
Highly recommended reading

click to read the full article

Towards a more equitable budget

The article was published in Maldives Economic Review in its December 2019 Issue 2. To read the full article click link at end 

World Bank in an introductory economic report on Maldives in 1979 states that

“Male dominates the political, economic, and social structure of the country. It is here that a small national elite presides over the archipelago's affairs and takes decisions that are crucial to the well-being of the atolls. Not surprisingly, a disproportionate share of government expenditures directly benefits Male and ensures its residents a standard of living that is substantially higher than in the atolls The other islands now rely upon it as their main trading post and contact point with the rest of the world”

Fifty years later Male’ has become one of the most congested cities in the world with a population density of 65,201 per km according to National Bureau of Statistics of Maldives. Top reasons for migration as per census is; as a return migrant, education, employment and to live with family. Thus, key factor that pulls people to congested living is service centralization to Male’. Building schools or hospitals or creating jobs needed in atolls of north or south of Maldives in the capital Male’; not only adds an additional cost burden, it also helps to discriminate in giving basic read more  

27 February 2019

The Dark Side of Life; Maldivians marginalized in the Maldives

The article published in Tourism Watch. To read the full article click link at end 

In the Maldives, the tourism industry is touted as the goose that lays golden eggs. According to the World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita ballooned from 600 USD in 1985 to over 9,000 USD by 2017. The nation graduated from one of the 20 poorest countries in the world in 1980 to a middle income country by 2017. A quarter of the overall GDP comes from tourism. While the country got rich, the majority of the population got poor in comparison. Centralization policies and the excessive tourism development on uninhabited islands benefit only a chosen few.

Centralization on Male’

The Maldives consists of more than 1200 islands - 188 of them are inhabited – stretching over more than 750 kilometers.  Fifty years ago, inhabitants of the islands in the north and south were living a prosperous life based on agriculture and fishing. Raw materials for agricultural products were collected from forest areas of inhabited islands as well as uninhabited islands nearby. Direct trade with neighboring countries flourished. Common goods exported included coir rope, coconut, and other agricultural products as well as value added items made from fish, such as dried or salted fish. However, halting of direct trading activities from various islands to foreign countries due to centralization of commerce and transport in Male caused decline of local agriculture and fish processing based on a vibrant small holder industry, leading to loss of livelihoods – particularly for women and youth. read more 
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi