Over the last week the ever more shrill criticism of international aid found a new target - the practise of giving money directly to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people, otherwise known as cash transfers. The allegation made was that this amounted to setting up UK-funded cashpoints for the poor. However the reality is somewhat different... Giving cash directly to women like Julum and Elphine is not wasteful but it is empowering and effective. We need to be vigilant to always ensure aid money is not being misspent.
This remains a recurrent problem for Europe. We'll undoubtedly see this combination of bad timing, aid fatigue and an empathy gap rear its ugly head the next time disaster strikes in the developing world. The age-old blame game between journalists and readers cannot continue in this vein and Europeans must proactively step outside of the bubble. If not, we risk losing our sense of humanity altogether.
Having set off from Cardiff on Friday evening, we had no idea of whether we would even make it to Calais due to heightened security on the border and media reports suggesting that the refugee camp in Calais had been demolished; all refugees had apparently been relocated across France. However, we arrived safely in Calais via the euro tunnel with our car stuffed with clothes, medications and dental materials.
The question is whether, when they assemble in Birmingham for their conference next week, the government's new ministers are able to turn Global Britain from a slogan into a strategy. The issues to be addressed are complex and the foreign policy agenda is crowded. But focusing on children can help to cut through the complexity in areas where Britain is uniquely well-placed to make a difference.
Britain must continue to play a positive role on the world stage. In today's increasingly interconnected world, the outcomes of our actions are increasingly shared beyond our borders - and vice-versa. Adopting short-term policies of isolationism in today's multi-polar, unpredictable and volatile world will only create longer term challenges for all of us.
Putting aside the utter dismay that I feel as an individual citizen of the UK and the EU on the outcome of Thursday's referendum, my priority this week as Chief Executive of HelpAge International is to digest and think through the many immediate and longer-term implications for the organisation that I lead. Identical exercises will be going on among all or very many of our peer agencies in the UK development and humanitarian sector.
Last year, the UK made history when it passed a law ensuring at least 0.7% of the national income would be spent on helping the world's poorest. Even though that's just 7p out of every £10, the impact it has is incredible - UK Aid saves a life every two minutes. But this life saving intervention is at risk.
When MPs debate the UK's aid target today, I hope we are presented with a full picture of the pros and cons of aid spending. I'm proud that Britain hasn't turned its back on the world's poorest - the fact that the rest of the world has not yet followed suit is a reason to carry on, not retrace our steps. We can and must continue to do better, but there should be no doubt that British aid is transforming the lives of millions of the most vulnerable people on the planet.
At the last High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in 2011, the coalition government sent a delegation led by Minister Stephan O'Brien. But sadly, this time round, no minister from the UK Government will attend. In addition, the Department for International Development (DFID), the lead department for this UN meeting, is not planning to send a senior member of staff either. In the context of a meeting that is expected to be well attended by ministers and even presidents from some countries, this sends a bad message about the importance the UK places on a successful High Level Meeting.
There is much at stake in Europe just now. The external environment is characterised by economic slowdown, the pressure of conflict, the refugee crisis, and the need to move rapidly to act on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to climate. Urgent action is also needed to tackle the tax and transparency issues revealed by the Panama Papers. The threat of global disease epidemics is ever-present, with Ebola having been supplanted by the zika virus as the most urgent current threat. In all these arenas, the priority is coordinated action among groups of nations: another reason to put the global role of the EU high on the agenda.
We woke up early for the two hour drive from the city, into the midst of the desert, and there it was... Barbed wire, security and dust; we had our passports and equipment thoroughly checked before entering. As we drove through the camp the vastness of it became clear, sand-coloured shelters in every direction, as far as the eye could see; the homes of 85,000 Syrian refugees.
We'd like to do a lot more to beat this crisis but we also want to stop future generations being devastated by drought. Around 70% of Africa's people depend on smallholder agriculture for a living and they produce the bulk of the continent's food. We have to find a way to help them survive major crisis - come rain or shine.
As a member of the rescue team, Dan spends the early hours waiting to spot incoming boats on the distant horizon. These boats are packed with terrified refugees making the crossing from Turkey, only a few miles away; a small stretch of sea which has become one of the most dangerous in the world over the past year.