After two years of declining world aid, last Tuesday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released new figures that demonstrated that aid had reached a record high in 2013 and increased by over 6.1%. In the face of what appears to be a gratifying headline, beneath the surface lies a far more depressing state of affairs.
It is troubling that the 9% decline in aid spending to basic education in low income countries between 2010 and 2011 has hit 19 of the poorest countries - Tanzania amongst them. Without donor support to education as promised in 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar, these countries will struggle to provide the quality of education that their children deserve.
The world over, we are seeing ever more cases of extreme weather, from the recent floods in the UK to wild fires in Australia. With each incident comes the familiar assurances that - this time - the necessary action will be taken to make sure there is no repeat. The reality is we have no choice, as every country faces the fact that climate change - and its impact on the weather - is no longer a distant prediction, but a daily reality. And for the poorest people on the planet, the need to change is not just a matter of saving money, but saving lives.
Mohammed, a teacher from Syria who lives in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, is participating in the Education for All Global Monitoring Report's #TeacherTuesday campaign. His daily struggle to help Syrian refugee children underlines the need to support teachers in difficult situations - and to make education a more central part of humanitarian efforts in conflict zones.
There are a huge number of activities going on around the world to improve the situation for women, and there are places where men are working with women to achieve this. There's no doubt that this movement is gaining momentum and makes nonsense of the idea that men cannot see women as equals. It's an outdated way of thinking, and increasingly governments, businesses, communities and families are all coming to recognise the positive benefits to be had when women and men are working together and treating each other as equal partners. Of the numerous ways to change women's lives for the better, I've picked out five things that you can do to help make that change today:
Access to a mobile device can be life-changing, particularly for women. The Cherie Blair Foundation's research with the GSMA revealed that 9 out of 10 women in developing markets feel safer because of their mobile phones; 8 out of 10 feel more independent with access to mobile technology and more than half have used a mobile phone to earn additional income.
Just think, if the money lost to tax evasion was available for governments to allocate according to current spending patterns, the amount going towards health services could save an estimated 1.9 million children a year. That's approximately 21 fewer children dying in the time it took you to read this article.
According to a new book written by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfssen entitled 'The Second Machine Age', we have witnessed two major technological shifts in our history. The first began towards the end of the 19th century, where machines replaced and multiplied the physical work of humans and animals.
Today is a day you've probably never heard of - The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Talking about this difficult subject might make us uncomfortable, but we should feel more uncomfortable with doing nothing, because for millions of women and girls - an estimated 140 million in fact - uncomfortable doesn't come anywhere close to describing the physical and psychological trauma of having their genitals removed.
There are a new cast of heroes and villains on the international development scene. They are not governments, charities, NGOs, but businesses. Firstly, two caricatures - the big, evil business vs. the small, ethical enterprises. On the one hand, the Nestlés pushing breastmilk substitutes, the BPs oozing oil. On the other hand the newly applauded, smaller heroes
Cornwall Council will make a decision this week which will have a profound effect on the future of Cornwall. If they approve planning permission for the massive out-of-town retail development on 70 acres of green fields at Coyte Farm near St Austell, it will become Cornwall's 3rd largest retail centre.