The heat of the election campaign this week gave way to a bit more light, with the publication of the manifestos of the major political parties. Rather than piecing together the parties' respective positions on development from speeches, blog posts or remarks in Parliament, we now have a formal written statement of what they would seek to achieve if successful in their bid to form the next Government. So what did we learn?
When grassroots communities described their realities, they taught me that the development they envisioned is not the same as the development the majority of the world imagines they want. In their own narrative, the strongest message from communities is a deep desire to be given the ability to do it for themselves.
This month, you might see two young girls pictured on the side of London's buses, each hauling a jerry can of water that is more than half their weight. Some 748 million people around the world do not have access to safe water. That is one person in 10. It is nearly always up to girls and women to hike treacherous, winding paths to fetch water for their families, and carry that heavy burden home again.
We owe it to ourselves, and to women and girls worldwide, not to turn away. And thankfully I hear the voice of the world saying enough. People of all nationalities are bringing to light what has historically been one of the most silent and hidden human rights abuses of our time. For this I am grateful and proud.
As a Brit, I am proud that our government is spending 0.7% of our GDP on international development; but I am concerned that we have failed to understand the pervasive inequality facing people with learning disabilities. We must commit to correcting this failure and bringing about the more just world that the architects of the MDGs had in mind... but how?
This World Malaria Day we have the opportunity to continue to dismantle malaria's grip on African households and indeed entire economies. In doing so, we will help release the potential of future generations to flourish and move our world decisively to a healthier, more stable and prosperous future.
2013 has been a year of tremendous progress for the malaria campaign globally and locally. We are delighted with the UK cross party support for the malaria campaign. Parliamentarians can see the value of sustaining its prosecution, and the public appear to share our conviction that it is unacceptable in the twenty first century for children to die for want of treatment costing less than £1...
Five years' on, maternal health is a UK Government priority, has massive investment, and we are seeing a huge reduction in the number of women and children dying in childbirth globally. Choose the right issue at the right time, and a Parliamentary inquiry really can change the debate - and more importantly, change lives.
On 23 September, the UK Government announced its contribution to the Global Fund and we got a step closer to the day when no child dies from Aids, TB or malaria. The UK has pledged £1billion over the next three years - providing the overall target of $15billion is met from other governments and donors.
A UK taxpayer earning £30,000 per year will pay £7,065 in tax. Of that, £67 will go to the aid budget and £403 towards defence. That leaves £6,595 for everything else. A proper debate about government spending should surely recognise that pitching defence spending against aid is like robbing a pretty hard-up Peter to pay an even more impoverished Paul.
This week Comic Relief celebrated its 25th anniversary and as we look back over the years, there is a lot to be proud of. For the past quarter of a century, Comic Relief has inspired people up and down the country to play a part in changing the lives of millions of people across Africa for the better.