One of the rewards of helping to track global education over the past decade has been watching progress in getting more girls into school. But as we mark International Women's Day, I'm more conscious than ever that the glass is still not even half full: 31 million girls have never set foot inside a classroom, and half of them are unlikely ever to do so.
I can't believe that when I used to hear the word "feminist" in my teens, I used to think I'd have to get hold of a fleece and dangly earrings to 'join' ... Now I'm a bit older, I'm proud to call myself a feminist - and to take action too, because sticks and stones may break the bones of misogyny, but words will never hurt it.
World Water Day is today, a time to pause and appreciate a substance that is available to us so freely and cheaply in the developed world. It is a day to address the fact that 783 million people in the world do not have access to clean water - representing roughly one in ten of the world's population.
As a former treasury minister, I understand how markets can be used to benefit people around the world. We recognised that public funding, and specifically aid, alone could not solve all of the challenges faced by developing world countries. There was a clear need to harness private sector capital and expertise.
As the deadline for the UK's Millennium Development Goals approaches in 2015, there is a widening debate about how to continue making progress in tackling poverty, inequality and intolerance. The industrialisation of China, Chinese investments in Africa, stresses on the world's food and water systems, migration and population will all feature in the futures of the wealthy and poor alike wherever they are. Through our awards we encourage journalists and filmmakers to tell the whole story, to relay the authentic voices of people often discounted or silenced in international affairs, and to help us understand how in a globalised world, 25 years on, we are all connected more than ever.
I've written previously about 'green' non-governmental organisations and their penchant for protectionism. But as the European Environmental Paper Network met over the past few days in Portugal (my invite must have been lost in the post), I thought I'd bring to you a video worth watching and sharing.
It is only by investing in both water and sanitation that the full health benefits of these services will be realised for the world's poorest people. We know that diarrhoea is the single biggest killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa and on current trends it will be around 200 years before Africa has universal access to both water and sanitation.
Proper sanitation and hand washing is the answer to child mortality in Togo, it is the starting point for the success of every other development programme that UNICEF work on. But before that we need to modernise the thinking of an entire nation. There's no point building toilets if they are not then used.
Mr. Osborne, Britain's Chancellor, stood in the House of Commons (August 11, 2011), full of pride, to announce to the nation that "Britain is a safe haven for investors". I, for one, am not impressed, nor do I expect most of the British people are, as they struggle to survive the hardships created by the "moneymen" with their casino-type capitalism.