A few months ago a magnificent silverback gorilla called Djala took his first footsteps back on African soil 30 years after his family was massacred by hunters... The infant Djala was found tortured, starving, chained and close to death by conservationists. He was helicoptered out of the jungle - HIS homeland - and taken on a life changing journey...
There have been very few direct threats towards international journalists in the country, but getting caught up in the crossfire, being robbed, or even sexually assaulted are all daily risks. Some writers still managed to get the story out from a distance, relying on telephone or email interviews, and press releases from Human Rights Watch or Doctors Without Borders to embellish their copy. So, what changed?
Africa has lost a hero. A hero that fought oppressors, jailers and the international community that once put him on the watch list of terrorists. A man who once shared his dream of a world of Democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance.
I have just returned from a week in the Central African Republic (CAR). I was shocked by what I witnessed. Dead bodies littering the streets. Children shot and injured in the fighting. Hundreds of thousands of families driven into the bush by fear, living out in the open with no food or shelter. In the capital, thousands huddled around a monastery frightened for their lives. I will never forget the fear in the eyes of the children I met.
Everyone should come here to dive with or without previous experience. There are crazy cool anemone fish, octopi, turtles, eels, etc. and my new favourite fish, Morish Idles. There is not much missing from an experience like this. Not only have I learned a lot while having the time of my life, but I have improved my level as a diver which is a great feeling.
Rising early means beating the unbearable heat that makes her journey on foot with a heavy load of maize on her head even more arduous. It means getting to the border crossing before custom officials - who frequently ask her for a bribe or worse - and securing a place at the market ahead of her competitors.
The amount of money now washing around Asia and the seemingly unquenchable demand there for ivory, particularly in countries such as Vietnam and China, has caused the price charged on the black market to soar. Indeed in many places ivory is now worth more per ounce than gold. The result has been an almost unprecedented slaughter on the savannahs. Some 100 elephants are being killed per day in Africa, and at present rates of poaching the surviving population in the wild risks being decimated within a decade. Chad had 15,000 elephants. Now it is 400.
New data from UNAIDS, the UN's main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reveals that an estimated 3.6 million people aged 50 and older are living with HIV. For the first time since the start of the HIV epidemic, 10% of the adult population living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries is aged 50 or older.
At Malaria No More UK we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone whose lives have been affected and all those working tirelessly to fight this deadly yet preventable epidemic... World Aids Day is a day to spur ourselves on for action and refusal to accept that this is how things will continue to be.
One Young World opened my eyes to the great impact youth can make in society. I was particularly inspired by Ambassadors like Ajarat Bada, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Bariq Rifki, Parker Liautaud, Clinton Gachangi and many others. Until I started following One Young World online, I had not identified a particular area to make positive change.
If you are poor, living at the margins of society and excluded from financial institutions, can you really save? Do you have any 'spare' money? And if you do, can you save enough to make a difference? We often assume the answer is 'No', but I speak from personal experience when I say that the answer to these questions is emphatically 'Yes'.