We need to focus as never before on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the country, investing above all in the infrastructure of basic health and education services that will help lift people out of poverty. Afghanistan needs more schools, more health clinics and more trained teachers and health professionals to staff them.
You may be surprised to learn that over the past decade, a third of the money pledged by aid donors for water and sanitation has failed to be delivered. That's US$27.6 billion out of the US$81.2 billion committed since 2002. This is a staggering amount of money. It could have helped hundreds of millions of people gain access to water and sanitation.
So for the past few weeks, social media seems incredibly concerned with an article written to explain why white people are damaging to hands on international aid. It seems that their money would be better spent from their homes, and given to people who know better. White people in the developing world are a negative, not just a hindrance.
If you have any doubt as to why we think the UK's Department for International Development should prioritise disability, look no further than the situation of Esther Cheelo. Blind, elderly and with difficulty walking, Esther has for years relied upon a child to walk her into the scrubland near her home in Zambia to find a place to relieve herself, a humiliating and sometimes dangerous experience...
At a time when across the developed world public finances are under pressure, we must ensure our aid investments are cost-effective. Tackling child malnutrition could add $125 billion to the global economy each year by 2030. Yet only 0.37 per cent of aid globally is spent directly on tackling the problem. This is clearly a missed opportunity.
The eyes of the world may now be turned elsewhere, but Haiti remains one of the most vulnerable places on earth, battered repeatedly by earthquakes, cyclones, floods, landslides, drought, and epidemics. Hurricanes routinely knock up to 15% from GDP. The total volume of humanitarian aid to Haiti since 2001 exceeds $4billion. The challenge ahead is stark.
A colleague of mine working on the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework said only last week "we get the chance for deep thought in the development sector once every 20 years, let's not waste it". Judging by the speech to UK civil society organisations, Ivan Lewis MP, shadow secretary of state for international development, is seizing the moment.
A child's right to protection is everything - and the Millennium Development Goals, agreed at the turn of the century with ambitious development targets for 2015, have achieved much we should be proud of.
This year marks 10 years since the start of conflict in Darfur and the numbers speak for themselves. During 3,655 days of violence, hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been forced from their home and 2.7 million still rely on food aid for survival. As we approach the grim anniversary of when violence began, I visited the war-ravaged region this week to see for myself the impact British aid is having on the ground. In many ways, the fact that I am only able to blog about it after returning from Darfur because of the security threat, speaks louder than any of the words I can write.