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.
Over the years Soccer Aid has raised over £17million for Unicef's work for children in danger. This year, the UK government will match every penny raised through the event, meaning we'll be able to provide even more children like those in Ethiopia suffering from malnutrition with the support they so urgently need.
The complexities of this crisis go beyond the very real human need I saw playing out in Fedeto. Were it faced with this drought alone, the Government of Ethiopia would have a heady, but manageable task. Sadly, all indications of the climate change trajectory suggest that this is not an isolated case of drought, but rather the paradigm for what is yet to come.
Most of us remember the image of thousands of Ethiopians starving during the famine of 1984/85, the luckier ones seemingly fed only by the power of the Western media to incite compassion and belated action from international agencies. On a recent visit to the country, I heard how the weather conditions now are as bad as during that terrible disaster...
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.
Unbelievably, this Saturday 13th marked 600 days of Andy's ordeal. We still have no idea what is going to happen to him. The Ethiopian government is refusing to let me and Andy's kids see him, will not say whether he will be executed or not, and has rejected all his calls for a lawyer. The authorities won't even allow the British government - supposedly a 'close ally' - to regularly visit him, despite Ethiopia's international obligations.
If Europe is unwilling to accept more refugees or to treat them with the humanity they deserve, they must at least apply pressure on the Eritrean government to cease its abuse of conscripts and civilians. The international community owes a duty to its most vulnerable- it must not fail to protect them again.
We must not allow a situation to arise where the focus is merely on increasing government income, without ensuring adequate accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure the tax money raised is spent wisely. And as we know only too well from our experience in Ireland, a healthy civil society is absolutely vital in that regard.
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.
If we eat locally produced healthy food, we reduce carbon emissions and protect ourselves from the risks of various chronic diseases. So each one of us has a challenge - for the sake of the planet and for future generations - to claim the the co-benefits of reducing carbon emissions and improving our health.
As media crews begin to arrive in West Africa, we are urging for there to be no repeat of the Michael Burke film. It was vital and needed at its time, but today, 30 years later, a very different part of the continent may need our help, but the bravery of its first responders also deserves our respect.
The new Chinese leadership has, over the last 18 months, shown itself to be very different from that of successive Post-1980 reformist administrations. The 'market reform' rhetoric is still there. The assertions about Communist Party supremacy and dislike of Western democratic values, are still there...
One way to find yourself a cheap way of going on safari is to head to Africa in the quiet season and take advantage of deals that are being offered. Safari companies often offer last minute deals and ways of enticing people into off-season trips, so if you can be flexible it's a great way of not breaking the bank and still enjoying this incredible travel experience.
Traces of cocaine in our tap water, screamed recent newspaper headlines in the UK. It's alarming, despite reassurances that these are miniscule amounts that pose no risk. But imagine the headlines were about deadly pathogens like E. coli or cholera, and that even these miniscule amounts could harm adults and kill children.