The measure of success in Northern Nigeria is whether civilians feel free from fear. Nigeria's sovereign government, with international partners lending their expertise, should be able not simply to clear the battlefield, but to satisfy the reasonable aspirations of the people to a secure and prosperous future. That could be a lesson for the rest of the world to learn.
The island of Madagascar plays host to an exciting array of rare wildlife and is home to mesmerising landscape. Its natural beauty is a one off and so is its story of existence. The unique way in which the island was formed and isolated from mainland Africa is the exact reason for its abundance of rare species, which are privileged to call Madagascar home.
As we packed up our kit in the hot sun and Mary showed us the way back through the village and scarce trees to our car I thought about how hard it had been to hear Jane and Mary's stories, but was wowed by their powerful determination to end FGM and tell others about its dangers. Mary's final words to me are ones I'll never forget...
When Mozambique celebrated the 40 year anniversary of independence on 25 June, it was a time for reflection on the gains and losses made by the country which has experienced rapid shifts from civil conflict, to democratic consolidation and exponential economic growth driven by commodity discoveries. A mark of how far Mozambique has come since 1975 was demonstrated last year, when it undertook its first voyage in to international debt markets.
Whilst international security and the global economy are likely to dominate news coverage surrounding the G7 meeting in early June, there is another important point on the group's agenda that we should be paying close attention to. Among other health issues, diseases of poverty - or more specifically, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) - will be a focal point for the summit meetings.
One of the rocks that climate change sceptics like to throw at those advocating action to tackle climate change is that it's all very well for the rich developed world to reduce its carbon footprint but it's immoral to ask the world's poor to give up cheap energy such as coal. Yes, climate change may be happening, they say, but it's unfair to pull up the fossil fuel ladder from developing countries.