At the most basic and essential level, aid is and will remain a vital source of funding for many countries who cannot yet raise enough tax to pay for much-needed social services and goods including things like education and healthcare but also in the longer term helping to build the capacity to raise and more effectively use those resources. UK aid contributes to building a fairer world where more people live free from poverty, fewer die from preventable causes like malnutrition or childbirth and there are more opportunities for all.
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to be optimistic every day. That's because I, and my colleagues working in international development, look at the problems of the world that are rooted in poverty and inequality, and refuse to accept that the world is not smart enough or rich enough to defeat them.
This week we should celebrate these announcements and progress on nutrition. Thanks to commitments made at Nutrition for Growth in 2013 being met, and with the opportunities presented by the Financing for Development conference, we can ensure the good news for nutrition keeps coming in the months and years to come.
Today the Overseas Development Institute are releasing a report called 'Financing the Future' which shows that free basic universal healthcare would cost $74 billion a year to deliver in the 33 poorest countries - equivalent to just 4% of total bailout support provided to the banks by the UK Government.
Of the billion people worldwide who have a disability, the vast majority live in developing countries. People with disabilities represent some of the most excluded of all groups in the community. They are less likely to have access to healthcare and education, and in turn find making a livelihood and escaping poverty that much more difficult, if not impossible.
It is sadly true that one of the biggest and most neglected challenges facing the global community is still malnutrition, specifically undernutrition. It affects more people than any single disease and is an underlying cause of nearly half of all child deaths. In the global fight to end suffering and reduce poverty, tackling undernutrition will have a significant and lasting impact.
I say ending violence against women and girls requires all of us - men and boys, women and girls, governments, communities and activists. I genuinely believe that we have a common goal. And I genuinely believe that we can work together in a way that does not reassert male power over women, that keeps women and girls at the centre, and focuses on transforming gender inequality rather than just adding men and boys.
I suspect most of us want to see an effective international aid programme. But only by addressing some of the institutional processes by which money is awarded and projects assessed are we likely to feel as confident as we ought that British international aid is making the difference it should, and difference it could.
The International Day of the Girl Child recognises the specific barriers faced by girls globally that inhibit their potential to act in and shape the world around them, and Malala is a perfect example for us. She is a girl, yes. But she is not helpless. She is a survivor, not ours to save. She is her own advocate.